Jose Reyes has always envisioned ending his career in the same place it started. But the 34-year-old realizes that he will not make that call, even though he has expressed his interest in remaining with the Mets.
“They know,” Reyes said Friday night after homering twice and driving in three runs in the Mets’ 5-1 win over the Reds at Citi Field. “I’ve said it to everybody. I want to finish my career here. That’s no secret to anyone. But they have that decision.”
For now, Reyes appears to be entering his final days with the franchise that gave him a second chance after his domestic-violence suspension in 2016. According to sources, early indications are that he isn’t being viewed as a fit for the Mets as they retool for 2018.
Planning for the future has been the primary mission for the Mets as they play out the string, and concern for the future was clear Friday night. It’s part of the reason that righthander Seth Lugo was pulled after six shutout innings, discovering only after his start that manager Terry Collins had imposed a pitch cap.
Lugo won’t be alone in facing pitch limits the rest of the season, a source said, as the Mets look to protect their arms going into the offseason. Lugo has been pitching with a partially torn ligament in his right elbow and is coming off a stint on the shelf with shoulder discomfort.
Against the Reds, he appeared intent on breaking from a trend this season in which he has faded late in starts. He began the sixth inning at 69 pitches and finished off a strong outing as Tommy Milone warmed in the bullpen.
After Jose Peraza lined out, Joey Votto laced a single, but Lugo bounced back to get the next two batters. His 84th and final pitch was a slider that nicked the outer edge of the plate, freezing Scooter Gennett.
“It was a really good pitch,” Lugo said. “I woke up today and told myself I wanted eight. I came out after six and was upset. I’m still working to do more.”
Unheralded rookie Travis Taijeron hit his first major-league homer for the Mets. Reyes’ solo blast in the third inning — his 100th home run as a Met — gave Lugo a 2-0 lead. In the fifth, he delivered a two-run shot, his second multihomer game of the season. He’s hitting .385 in his last 15 games.
The switch hitter is a free agent at season’s end and has made no secret of his desire to return. During a season in which the Mets stripped their clubhouse of veteran leadership, Reyes has earned praise from Collins for setting a good example for a roster that went from one of the most experienced in the league to one of the youngest.
In particular, Reyes has been a mentor to rookie shortstop Amed Rosario, a major piece as the Mets look to return to contention.
“He’s going to be somewhere,” Collins said of Reyes’ future before the game. “And he’ll be playing a lot, too.”
Reyes has even indicated his willingness to accept a reduced role. Remaining close to his Long Island home is a priority. But that desire might not be fulfilled.
“I want to be part of this,” Reyes said. “But like I said, I don’t have that decision in my hands.”