Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Highs and Lows That Come with Jose Reyes


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Being a Blue Jays fan is a rollercoaster ride unto itself. The team has already experienced the highest of the highs that come with sitting atop the AL East, and the lowest of the lows that are accompanied with losing several key players from the lineup.

It's already been a season's worth of emotions ... and the team hasn't even hit the All-Star break. But if there's one player on the Blue Jays roster that encapsulates those peaks and valleys experienced by the Toronto Blue Jays, it's Jose Reyes.

Not surprisingly, Reyes was instrumental in the Blue Jays' success when they were flying high in May and early June. But over the past few weeks, he's seemingly faded into the background.

In fact, most might be surprised to learn Jose Reyes isn't actually on the disabled list. Not just because it seems like every other player has landed on the DL, but because he's remained relatively quiet as of late.

This may be a bit of foreshadowing as what to expect the next few years with Jose Reyes. Yesterday, we learned via Shi Davidi that Reyes is in fact dealing with a right shoulder injury which may be hampering some of his throws to first base.

Although Reyes stated the injury isn't affecting his play at the plate, he just hasn't been the characteristic Jose Reyes that was brought in via the blockbuster trade with the Miami Marlins in late 2012.

Sure, there are times where Reyes has come exactly as advertised; an incredibly dynamic player at the plate, on the bases, and in the field. But very rarely this season have we witnessed all three of those aspects working in unison on a consistent basis.

Reyes' reputation as a notorious speedster has had many ebbs and flows during his tenure as a Blue Jay. Not that stolen bases are the only measure of speed, but in his past 30 games, Jose has only collected five stolen bases.

As a comparison, there was a stretch of four games in late May where Jose Reyes matched those five stolen bases. So clearly the ability to swipe bags is still there, however Reyes seems very selective when he chooses to employ that speed.

Jose Reyes is only 31 years old, but going through his laundry list of injuries over the years, it seems like he might be closer to 35. Compound that with playing on an artificial surface half the season and fielding a premium position like shortstop, things may be taking their toll on Reyes.

The time is quickly coming when the Blue Jays also have to ask themselves if they want to continue to keep Jose Reyes as a franchise shortstop, or if he'd be better served at another position that is less physically-taxing like second base.

The thing is, because Jose Reyes' contract is so massive, this is a situation that likely won't be resolved anytime soon. Barring an impromptu trade, the highs and lows that come with a dynamic player like Jose Reyes will be experienced for many years to come.

In many ways, the success of this Toronto Blue Jays team is inherently tied to Jose Reyes. Not just this season, but the remaining years of his contract, which is through until 2017 and potentially even 2018 if that $22 million dollar club option is exercised.

If Jose Reyes is a true game-changer and table-setter, it gives the Blue Jays a decent shot at winning every game. But if things continue on the same path, the Blue Jays might find very soon that they'll have another albatross contract on their hands.

Image courtesy of AP Photo/Chris Carlson

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