Jose Reyes isn’t playing baseball right now. But he hopes he isn’t done with baseball, even if it looks as if baseball may be done with him.
The former Mets shortstop is a 35-year-old free agent coming off a 2018 season with the Mets during which he hit .189. He also has a 2016 suspension for violating baseball’s domestic violence policy on his record, which even Reyes admits could scare some teams off.
On the plus side of his resume, Reyes has 2,138 career hits, can play multiple positions and is thought of as a positive locker-room presence. The Mets, in particular, credit Reyes for mentoring shortstop Amed Rosario during the youngster’s indoctrination into the big leagues.
Reyes, in a telephone interview with Newsday on Thursday, said he still works out regularly at Professional Athletic Performance Center in Garden City and is ready if the phone rings.
“I still do everything – baseball activities,” Reyes said. “I’m working out and doing my running, fielding, hitting, everything, so I’m ready. If somebody calls right now, I’m ready to go.”
And if nobody calls? Is Reyes ready for his 16-year big-league career to be over?
“I don’t get to that point yet, to think about that,” he said. “[But] it’s going through my mind because it’s going to be tough if I don’t play this year. Like somebody’s going to sign me next year if I don’t play for a year? I understand. I know what I’ve got in my head right now. After  years in the big leagues, that’s a long career, you know? I can’t complain.”
If Reyes’ career doesn’t continue, he will finish with a .283 batting average, 131 triples, 145 home runs and 517 stolen bases. He was a four-time All-Star (all with the Mets) and earned more than $140 million.
He is the Mets’ all-time leader in triples and stolen bases and is second to David Wright in at-bats (5,437) and hits (1,534), among other spots on the franchise leaderboard. His final appearance in a Mets uniform came last Sept. 30, one day after they played side-by-side in Wright’s memorable farewell game.
“That’s my second family,” Reyes said of the Mets.
So much so that Reyes said he still watches their games and, just this Wednesday, picked up something on TV that Rosario is doing wrong defensively that is contributing to a streak in which the shortstop has made seven errors in a six-game span.
“I was about to call him,” Reyes said. “At some point, I’m going to reach out to him and tell him something I saw. He’ll be fine, though.”
Reyes’ longtime agent, Chris Leible, said he hasn’t given up hope of getting Reyes a job this season.
“If someone calls, he’s going to be on the first plane,” Leible said. “I think there’s a chance. We’ve just got to find the right opportunity. He’s gotten close a few times. It hasn’t happened yet. My selling point when I’m talking to teams is there’s really no risk on their part. Just bring him in, give him a chance and see what he can do. I know his play will speak for itself.”
Reyes said he isn’t considering signing with an independent league team such as the nearby Long Island Ducks, who are managed by former Met Wally Backman and have former Mets Kirk Nieuwenheis and Matt den Dekker on the roster for the season that begins Friday.
“That’s not in my mind right now,” Reyes said, laughing. “No.”
For now, Reyes is pursuing another longtime passion – music. He has a song and video out and recently played as part of a concert at Newark’s Prudential Center.
“I have to have something when I retire, you know?” Reyes said.
But he’s not retired.
“Not yet,” Reyes said. “Not yet.”