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Mets bring back Reyes, but should still add another infielder

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In another move that doesn’t move the needle much, the Mets announced the signing of infielder Jose Reyes to a new deal.

“I’m glad to be back,” Reyes said in a statement. “This is my home. I’m excited to be back with a great group of teammates. I will do everything I can to help us get back to the postseason.”

The one-year contract is worth $2.5 million — including bonuses — and represents good value for a player who can still help provide depth. But as the team is currently constructed, Reyes slots in as a contender for everyday at-bats at second base, which is not the best role for him at this stage of his career.

Reyes has lost a step defensively and is not a high on-base-percentage guy, but he still has a bit of pop and can help the team with his speed and contact skills. He would serve best as a utility player, starting one or two games per week and coming off the bench as a pinch-runner late in games.

Right now, the Mets don’t have a clear everyday option at second base. Asdrubal Cabrera is slated to be the starting third baseman, though that is not set in stone. He could move back to second if the Mets make a move for a third baseman — available options include free agents Todd Frazier and Mike Moustakas — or remain at third if the club finds a trade partner for a second baseman — maybe a Neil Walker reunion or a trade for Josh Harrison.

The Mets are in prime position to take advantage of a slow-moving hot stove season. They’ve already added a reliever (Anthony Swarzak) and brought back Jay Bruce on a team-friendly three-year deal. But adding another versatile infielder whose price has fallen and pushing Reyes into a utility or bench role would make the Mets that much deeper.

Now it’s up to general manager Sandy Alderson to pounce and try to bring in a guy like Frazier or Walker. The Mets already know what Walker brings to the table — he was with the team for all of 2016 and part of 2017 before being dealt to Milwaukee — but Frazier remains an intriguing option.

Frazier is not what he once was with the bat, but he still has some power and a strong glove. While those are nice attributes to have, his most prized quality is his leadership.

He is known for being a good clubhouse guy, and he provided a strong veteran presence on a young Yankees squad that went deep into the playoffs last season. His skills on the field would help the Mets, but his presence in the clubhouse would help bring some much-needed leadership to Queens.

The best-case scenario for the Mets would be to sign Frazier to an affordable short-term contract to play third and shift Cabrera to second base, moving Reyes to the bench. That would improve the Mets on both sides of the ball and give them more depth.

So while Reyes should be a nice signing for the Mets, there needs to be another move coming to move the needle and make the team better.

Reach reporter Zach Gewelb by e-mail at zgewelb@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4539.

Updated 1:47 pm, February 2, 2018
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