Well, that is not exactly what happened. The Mets would not have another winning season until last year when Reyes was long gone and Wright was mostly hurt.
David Wright did have a couple more stellar years, but starting in 2009, when he suffered a concussion from a Matt Cain beanball, he has endured a never-ending series of injuries that has plagued his career. This culminated in a diagnosis of spinal stenosis last year and a season-ending neck injury this year.
Meanwhile, Jose Reyes remained, for a time, one of the most exciting players in baseball. He played with passion, joy and fire that not only made him a delight to watch and root for, but he often carried a team that otherwise lacked those qualities. However, after the 2011 season (in which he led the National League in batting), only 28 years old and seemingly approaching the peak of his career, Reyes (unlike Wright) was not signed by the Mets to a long-term contract but was allowed to pursue free agency. He signed a massive deal with the Miami Marlins but was traded to Toronto after one year, where the artificial turf wreaked havoc on his legs. In 2015, Reyes was traded again, this time to Colorado, where he played poorly.
His skills seemingly diminished, the now 33-year old shortstop has been put on waivers by the Rockies, and if not claimed in 48 hours, Reyes will become a free agent. From a purely baseball perspective, Reyes would be a bargain for any team that wants to give him a try. His new team would only have to play a pro-rated league minimum while the Rockies remain on the hook for the $39 million left on his contract.
Some have clamored for the Mets to bring Reyes back into the fold, perhaps to make the loss of David Wright, the other half of the erstwhile dynamic duo, less acute And given how little the team would have to pay for his services, it might be worth the risk. The Mets could certainly use his undeniably electric energy to shake up what feels like a team that needs some shaking up. Even at this advanced stage of his career, Reyes has more speed than just about anyone currently in the Mets dugout. If he still has a bit of pop in his bat, he could be a worthy contributor to what has become a fairly anemic lineup. In the field, he could play not just shortstop, where Asdrubal Cabrera is doing just fine, but could possibly play David Wright's old position -- third base -- or he could play second and the Mets could move Neil Walker to third. Or he could play the role of a utility man, coming off the bench to pinch hit, pinch run, and play any of the infield positions when needed.
But -- ah, there's always a but -- last year on Halloween, Jose Reyes was charged in a domestic violence incident after a particularly frightening assault on his wife:
According to the report, Reyes grabbed his wife by the throat after an argument in their hotel room and then shoved her into the sliding balcony door in their room. He was arrested for abuse of a family or household member. His wife was taken to a nearby hospital and treated for injuries to her thigh, neck and wrist.Charges were dropped after Reyes' wife declined to cooperate with prosecutors. But Reyes was suspended by Major League Baseball, pursuant to its domestic violence policy, for 51 games, essentially, the first two months of this season. In addition to his loss of playing time and salary while suspended, Reyes made a public apology. He also has apparently participated in some kind of a counseling/therapy program and contributed $100,000 to a charitable organization on preventing domestic abuse and treating domestic abuse survivors.
It has been suggested that signing Reyes would merely be a "PR" problem given the domestic violence incident. But this is about much more than PR. Instead of talking about Reyes' batting and fielding statistics we should be talking about the following statistics from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
On average, 20 people per minute are victims of physical violence by an intimate partner in the United States. Over the course of a year, that equals more than 10 million women and men. Those numbers only tell part of the story—nearly 2 million women are raped in a year and over 7 million women and men are victims of stalking in a year.When Major League Baseball adopted a domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse policy last year, it finally accepted responsibility for addressing such significant societal problems. As MLBPA executive director Tony Clark stated: "Players are husbands, fathers, sons and boyfriends. And as such want to set an example that makes clear that there is no place for domestic abuse in our society. We are hopeful that this new comprehensive, collectively-bargained policy will deter future violence, promote victim safety, and serve as a step toward a better understanding of the causes and consequences of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse."
Particularly if they sign Jose Reyes, the Mets organization would have a civic obligation and moral duty to show their fans that they take domestic violence deadly seriously. They could do this by making sure that Reyes continues in a therapeutic/counseling program for domestic violence abusers. They should require him to make public service announcements and appearances about domestic violence that could have a far-reaching impact on the community. The team should also devote significant resources to fostering awareness about violence against women and contribute to anti-domestic violence organizations.
A reunion with a formerly beloved star who appears to be on the decline could be a great story of redemption if Reyes has some game left and helps the Mets win but, more importantly, if he and the Mets show a demonstrated commitment to taking meaningful action to combat violence against women.