Reyes stays sunny despite dark clouds
February, 10, 2011
By Matt Ehalt | ESPNNewYork.com
Amid all the financial troubles engulfing the Mets' ownership, shortstop Jose Reyes is directing his focus and energy elsewhere -- even if those financial troubles could affect the free-agent-to-be’s hopes of signing a contract extension.
“I see some stuff but right now I’m concentrating on trying to get to spring training and get ready for the season and it’s time for baseball,” Reyes said. “I know it’s tough because I know we are family, but I support them all the way and let’s see what happens. But like I said before, my concern is to play baseball.”
Reyes insisted that he is not worried about his contract and is just eager to head to spring training healthy as he helped promote Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s "WakeUp! NYC" campaign Thursday morning at Isaac Newton Middle School for Math and Science in Manhattan.
“To be honest with you, right now, I don’t think about my contract. I’m trying to help this team win a lot of ballgames and see what happens,” Reyes said. “[I’ll] try to play a full year because the last two years have kind of been tough on me to stay healthy on the field and whatever happens after happens.”
Reyes, who had an $11 million option exercised for this upcoming season, has made it clear that he would like to stay with the team that signed him as an amateur free agent in 1999.
The shortstop said the Mets have not given him an indication that they definitely would like to extend him, but he hasn’t talked about setting a hard deadline, either. If the Mets don’t extend Reyes, they could always ship him in a midseason deal, which has been a hot topic, but Reyes isn’t letting that distract him.
“I don’t worry about anything people say about if they are going to trade me or not,” Reyes said. “My main thing is to play baseball and try to do my job and try to help this team win a lot of ballgames.”
Reyes is excited to finally head to spring training healthy after battling injuries over the past two years. Last year Reyes missed a portion of spring training and started the season on the disabled list with a thyroid problem. In 2009, leg woes plagued the shortstop for most of the season.
The 27-year-old said he improved his strength and has bulked up to 205 pounds, up from his average of 198 pounds. After focusing most on rehabbing his leg last offseason, he could focus on working his entire body. Reyes also said he feels he has recovered his trademark speed which has allowed him to lead the league in stolen bases three times.
“The last two years have kind of been rough on me, but there’s no doubt in my mind I’m going to be the same Jose Reyes that played in 2008,” Reyes said. “I’ve been working so hard this offseason so I’m not too concerned at all.”
Reyes is even optimistic that the Mets can make the playoffs despite the competition in the NL East.
"That’s the goal for our team," he said. "Everybody stay healthy, if you see our lineup we still have a very good lineup. The only piece we’re going to miss is Johan Santana and he’s probably going to be middle of the season ready. I think if we stay healthy -- me, [Carlos] Beltran, Jason Bay -- I think we can be a contender.”