My, isn't this man a sight for sore eyes. After missing the last 66 games over the past two and a half months, the day has finally arrived; Jose Reyes has officially returned to the Toronto Blue Jays.
It's a day that many people have been looking forward to for a long, long time. And for some, the last vision they have of Jose Reyes is him writhing in pain after awkwardly sliding into second base in Kansas City.
In his first ten games of the season, Jose Reyes came exactly as advertised. He was dynamic, he was charismatic, and he was the best player on the roster those first two weeks of the season. And then we all remember what happened.
Jose Reyes was like that shiny new toy a kid just barely got out of the package before breaking it. Reyes had just suited up for the Blue Jays before he was carted off the field in tears.
I think Reyes’ injury was a substantial blow simply because he embodied the new hope for the 2013 Blue Jays. It wasn’t that the Blue Jays shiny new toy was broken, it was essentially a microcosm for the early part of the season.
Jose Reyes was one of the players who were supposed to turn this team around. And then in an instant … he was gone. But like any good baseball player, that didn't keep him down for very long.
I’d like to say the past two and a half months have flown by without Jose Reyes, but they haven’t. At times, it very was apparent this team was severely lacking not only with him out of the lineup, but on the field as well.
However, if the 11 game win streak proved anything, it was that it’s possible for the Blue Jays to win without Jose Reyes. The fact that they’ve managed to hoist themselves back to .500 without him is nothing short of spectacular.
And the Blue Jays are in a very unique position with Jose Reyes returning because it's almost as if they are acquiring an All-Star shortstop prior to the trade deadline. Except this acquisition isn't going to cost them anything in the way of prospects or trade chips.
As entertaining as Munenori Kawasaki has been these past few months, Jose Reyes is an upgrade in every facet of the game. Not many teams can add a piece like that without giving up the farm to get him.
As a side note, who ever thought we'd be having a discussion as to whether or not Munenori Kawasaki would be demoted once Jose Reyes was ready to return to the Blue Jays? When he was called up, Kawasaki was thought to be merely a band-aid solution at short.
I just assumed it would be automatic that Kawasaki would be send down when Reyes was ready. But it turns out Munenori made that decision much more difficult than anybody could have ever anticipated.
Personally, I know I've started a lot of sentences started with "once Jose Reyes gets back", and that's really the gist of it. Jose Reyes is back two and a half weeks of schedule and the Blue Jays are back at .500.
Jose Reyes’ return is a cause for celebration … but not an extended celebration. After all, there are still 86 games left to play this season.