The New York Mets have announced that for the return of Jose Reyes this evening, they will be doing a video tribute for him. He left the New York Mets last offseason signing a $106 million contract with the Miami Marlins. While I disagree with them doing the video tribute, I do think we should take a look at his career as a member of the New York Mets. This is part one of two, covering his signing through the 2006 season. Also check out part two, which discusses the 2007 season through the end of his career with the team.
The New York Mets watched Jose Reyes during the summer of 1999. On August 16, 1999, he signed a contract with them, at the age of 16. On June 10, 2003, one day before his 20th birthday, Jose Reyes made his debut. That day, he got his first career hit. However, an injury would end his season early. On September 5, 2003, he was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a Grade 2 left ankle sprain which wound up ending his season.
Before the 2004 season, the New York Mets acquired Kazuo Matsui, with the condition that he would be the shortstop. Jose Reyes was moved to second base while Matsui took over at shortstop. On March 15, 2004, Jose Reyes was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring. He was unable to return until June 19 of that season. He also had back issues that season. By the end of the season, he was returned to the shortstop position, and Kazuo Matsui took over at second base.
In the 2005 season, Jose Reyes was given the leadoff spot in the order. This wound up being his first full season in the Major Leagues. He led the National League in stolen bases with 60, and led the Major Leagues in triples with 17. He also led the National League in errors by a shortstop.
Before the 2006 season, the New York Mets had former Major Leaguer, Rickey Henderson, work with Jose Reyes. He won National League Player of the Week for June 12-18 and June 19-25, becoming the first Met since 1983 to win the award consecutive weeks. On August 3, 2006, he signed a four-year, $23.25 million contract with the New York Mets. The contract included an option for 2011. On August 15, 2006, he hit three home runs in a game, against the Philadelphia Phillies in Citizen Bank Park. On September 7, 2006, he hit his first inside-the-park home run, at Shea Stadium against the Los Angeles Dodgers. That season he took part in his first All Star Game, and also won a Silver Slugger Award. The New York Mets made the playoffs, so for the first time he was able to play in a Major League playoff game.