The Mets are bringing back yet another player from last year’s team.Infielder Jose Reyes, who wants to finish his career with his longtime team, reached an agreement on a one-year deal to return for a 12th season with the Mets, according to multiple people familiar with the deal. They were not authorized to speak publicly about the pact because it was pending a physical examination.
Jose Reyes made it clear throughout the dwindling days of the 2017 season: Whatever role the Mets had for him going forward, he would accept. He just wanted to remain in Flushing. On Thursday, the sides agreed on a one-year contract, an industry source said. The deal is pending a physical.
Reyes likely will fill a utility role in the infield as he continues to mentor shortstop Amed Rosario, 22, who made his big- league debut last August. Reyes played in 80 games at short, 36 at second and 28 at third last season.
The Mets picked up their option on Asdrubal Cabrera, who is projected to play third base. Wilmer Flores is the other backup infielder. The Mets are expected to add a starting second baseman before the season.
No matter what Reyes did last season, returning this year was on his mind. After hitting two home runs against the Reds in September, he was asked if he had informed the Mets of his feelings. “They know,” said Reyes, who has a residence on Long Island. “I’ve said it to everybody. I want to finish my career here. That’s no secret to anyone. But they have that decision.”
The deal is for $2 million but Reyes can earn another $500,000 in incentives, according to one person familiar with the deal.
The Mets have a need for another infielder, specifically a second baseman, but do not view Reyes, 34, as a possibility there just yet.
Reyes, who left the Mets after the 2011 season but returned in 2016, is expected to fill the same utility role as was intended last season.
If the Mets do not acquire an additional infielder, Reyes could be the team’s primary option at second base. Asdrubal Cabrera, who can also play second base, is penciled in as the team’s third baseman, but could also shift across the diamond pending another addition.Reyes was supposed to be used as a utility man last season, but injuries, underperformance and the former manager Terry Collins’s affinity for Reyes led to his playing a team-high 145 games.
Reyes slumped mightily through the first three months, only to hit .294 with a .853 on-base-plus-slugging-percentage over the final three months. Over all, he finished hitting .246 with 15 home runs and 58 R.B.I.
He became a mentor for shortstop Amed Rosario, the Mets’ top prospect, and advised the star outfielder Yoenis Cespedes.
Despite missing the playoffs with a 70-92 record during the 2017 season, the Mets are returning much of the roster from last year. They have also brought back reliever Jerry Blevins (on a $7 million team option), outfielder Jay Bruce (three year deal for $39 million) and, now, Reyes.
But the Mets believe their new manager, Mickey Callaway, his coaching staff, and the team’s new medical structure will help keep players healthier and allow them to contend for the playoffs.