It did not take long for the rumoured reunion between the New York Mets and four-time MLB All-Star Jose Reyes to become a reality.
The Mets announced on Saturday they had signed their former shortstop, about an hour after he officially became a free agent.
Reyes was signed to a minor league contract and will report to the Brooklyn Cyclones. The 33-year-old had been designated for assignment last week and placed on waivers on Thursday by the Colorado Rockies.
Not everyone in New York is happy to see him return, however. Reyes was arrested last October in Hawaii on a charge of domestic abuse. He allegedly grabbed his wife, Katherine, around the throat and shoved her into a door at a resort in Wailea. A judge later dropped the charge after Katherine Reyes declined to cooperate with prosecutors.
MLB suspended Reyes without pay through May 31 for his involvement in that incident. A petition on Change.org, "New York Mets Fans Do Not Support Domestic Abusers," had gathered 230 signatures as of noon Saturday.
Both general manager Sandy Alderson and Reyes addressed that incident in statements Saturday.
"We made the decision to offer a contract to Jose after extensive consideration and discussion with Jose, his representatives, Major League Baseball and various departments at the Mets," Alderson's statement read. "We are convinced that Jose has accepted responsibility for his action and their consequences and have confirmed he is taking steps beyond those prescribed by MLB, including ongoing counselling. Accordingly, we believe he deserves a second chance to return to our organization."
Reyes expressed remorse in his statement.
"As I have expressed in the past, I deeply regret the incident that occurred and remain remorseful and apologetic to my family," Reyes said. "I have completed the counselling required by MLB, have been in ongoing therapy, and will continue with counselling going forward.
"I appreciate the Mets organization for believing in me and providing the opportunity to come back home to New York."
A four-time All-Star with the Mets from 2003-11, Reyes left after the 2011 season to sign a six-year, $106million contract with the Miami Marlins.
Reyes fills a couple of different needs for the Mets, especially as a utility infielder who could play second, short or third. He also brings speed and a decent on-base percentage -- he had a slash line of .274/.310/.378 with the Toronto Blue Jays and Rockies in 2015 -- so he could see time at the top of the batting order.
The Mets get Reyes at a bargain price, as they willl only be responsible for a prorated portion of the MLB minimum salary, or roughly $277,000 for the rest of the season. The Rockies are responsible for the remainder of the $39m still owed Reyes under that contract he signed with the Marlins.