Jose Reyes‘ recent hamstring scare, one that belted out a collective cringe across the city, has been officially diagnosed as ‘of the mild variety’.
Insert the New York Mets‘ fans laugh-track here. Big Apple dwellers became all too accustomed to the dreaded lower-body injury whispered in the same breath with their former shortstop, now Toronto Blue Jays‘ offensive catalyst.
As one scours Reyes’ career, it’s clear that his greatest asset is the ability to get on base (lifetime .342 OBP), which in turn allows the most significant part of his skill-set of causing havoc on the base paths to flourish. However, a downward trend has raised cause for concern.
Over the last five seasons, Reyes has topped the 133 games-played mark a whopping once. But it does speak volumes to his ability when considering in three out of those five the shortstop surpassed the double-digit level in the the triples category. Not to mention four straight showings in that department during his Mets’ heyday.
A red flag must be thrown for his 2013 performance, as 382 at-bats resulted in the revealing stat of a triples goose-egg, leading the wise to believe that there is a mental aspect at play here. It’s one that doesn’t bode well for the upcoming 2014 season and the four years remaining on his six-year, $106 million contract. A reluctant base-runner is an ineffective one, and when mixing in manager John Gibbons‘ out of touch and old school philosophy of ‘waiting for the long ball to save you’, you have a recipe for a potential strength of this club, its running game, to become a weakness.
One has to wonder how new-found Toronto Maple Leafs‘ fan and Hall of Fame boxer (now twitter extraordinaire) Riddick Bowe feels about the Blue Jays’ managerial position. But I digress.
Overall sustainability is a thing of the past, but the Jays will undoubtedly take Reyes’ electricity in spurts as a difference-maker still resides at the Blue Jays’ premium position. Unfortunately, this will be a never-ending issue, one that Jays’ fans will be feel the brunt of whenever the hamstring gods feel like making trouble. Make no mistake, at least one prolonged DL stint is waiting in the wings.
Season Upside: An optimal stat-line of a .305 BA, 115 runs, .355 OBP and 40 SB season.
Season Downside: 100 total games played, enough said.
Worst Case Scenario: The hamstring reoccurs in mid-April, lingering all season long, resulting in countless episodes of Ryan Goins and Munenori Kawasaki forming the Jays’ middle infield. This mediocre reality can strike at any moment.
The two key prospects sent packing in the Reyes acquisition from the Miami Marlins, outfielder Jake Marisnick and starting pitcher Justin Nicolino, do not reside at the level of what was mortgaged for knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, but their blue-chip pedigree is enough to warrant concern that the Blue Jays franchise may never inherit Reyes’ true impact value.
This potential offensive machine only operates at a high level if Reyes remains at the helm. Full-blown optimism is wishful thinking, yet such is life in the Toronto sports scene.
Let the frustration games begin.