Jose Reyes has played in only seven of the last 10 games, the last three of which have seen the Mets take the field with one or two players on the bench to go along with a backup catcher. Should they find themselves in a close game in the late innings anytime soon, that means there's as much chance as Livan Hernandez pinch-hitting as there is of someone who earns his living by swinging a bat.
Why are they doing this? After reading this quote from Reyes, it is even harder to understand.
"I'm not even close to 100%," Reyes said. "I don't think (the pain) is going to be there for the whole year, but right now it's going to take a couple of days, a week, maybe two weeks. Who knows?"
There are two main arguments against putting Reyes on the disabled list. The Mets readily admit that they believe having Reyes at 80 percent is better than having the alternative at 100 percent. That argument makes sense, until you realize that it is May and that having Reyes at 100 percent is likely contingent on not risking him by playing him before he's ready. The next 12 games are against the Nationals, Marlins and Pirates, which makes the idea of playing Reyes at less than his best even more ridiculous. Put him on the DL today and he can be back in a week thanks to the time he's already missed.
The other argument would seem to have to do with roster makeup. Because of Alex Cora's injury, the Mets don't have any infielders on their 40-man roster, but it seems odd that they'd choose to play short-handed simply to keep their chance at calling up pitcher Brandon Knight or outfielder Cory Sullivan at some point in the future. Mediocre 33-year-old pitchers and 30-year-old outfielders are easy enough to find that keeping the ones you have isn't argument enough for keeping Reyes active.
Obviously the Mets are particularly racked by injury right now. Cora and Carlos Delgado are already on the DL. Ryan Church has missed three straight with a hamstring injury, and Carlos Beltran will spend part of Tuesday inside an MRI tube. If Reyes could play tonight, it's understandable that they'd want to use him.
Thing is, he's not going to play tonight, and probably won't play tomorrow either. They can't do anything about the injuries that have left them shorthanded, but they don't need to compound the problem by acting like their hands are totally tied.
Strange decisions have marked the Mets of the last three seasons, and the Reyes situation is just more of the same. You'd give them the benefit of the doubt if those decisions worked out, but they haven't and the Mets don't get that concession. Instead you just wait for the other shoe to drop.
Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.