Jose Reyes Fielding Problems- Randolph Offers Help

NEW YORK - MAY 14:  Manager Willie Randolph of the New York Mets removes Claudio Vargas #39 from the game in the seventh inning against the Washington Nationals as his teammates David Wright #5, Carlos Delgado #21, and Jose Reyes #7 look on on May 14, 2008 at Shea Stadium in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Jose Reyes season has been one of offensive success in recent weeks and defensive mystery. His fielding percentage (.961) is the lowest of his career since 2004 (.957 at SS). That’s when he was in the middle of the horrible transition to second base to make room for Japanese superstar Kaz Matsui.

We now know that Matsui wasn’t a superstar for the New York Mets and Reyes wasn’t a second baseman. But Reyes has been struggling defensively this season often on plays that appear to be routine. There’s been speculation that Reyes is dissatisfied with his four year/$23.25 million contract. That may be a logical assertion. Fellow infielder David Wright has a six year/$55 million contract. In my opinion, Reyes is a far more dynamic player at a position that requires more defensive skill. I’d be unhappy about the contract as well.

Marty Noble of MLB.com reports that manager Willie Randolph spoke to Reyes yesterday prior to their first game in San Diego against the Padres. He spoke to Reyes about moving his feet to create a rhythm on the play.

“Footwork … mechanics … rhythm,” was the manager’s message. “I just suggested he play it more aggressive,” Randolph said Friday night. “If you’re moving you create a rhythm. You can’t be on your heels. Jose has good hands, but you’ve got to have some rhythm.”

It may be coincidence, but Reyes looked fantastic in that first game against the Padres. He made two great plays at shortstop including a diving play to his left.

It’s good to see that Randolph is able to get back to coaching. He has a lot to offer the Mets players, especially the infielders. His career .980 fielding percentage at second base is pretty good. Maybe now that Randolph is apparently past the effort required to preserve his job as Mets manager, he can get back to coaching where he’s best suited.

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