It's only three games, but with four homers in his first three games, Trevor Story has made Jose Reyes pretty damn expendable. Reyes has been sitting on the sidelines since he was arrested for domestic abuse in November, placed on (paid) administrative leave while Major League Baseball investigates the incident. While prosecutors in Hawaii have declined to press charges, that does not limit Commissioner Rob Manfred, who earlier this year suspended Aroldis Chapman for a month for a different disturbing domestic incident.
The Rockies are playing dumb about this whole issue, calling themselves "bystanders" while they wait for the commissioner's decision. Given how poorly Reyes played (.259/.291/.368) after coming over from the Blue Jays last year, his absence must be pretty welcome. But there's no doubt that Reyes will come back at some point in 2016. And there's no doubt that the Rockies will have to pay him a large portion of the roughly $47 million he is still owed from the free agent deal he signed with the Marlins before 2012. Eventually, the Rockies will have to decide what to do, especially if Story keeps pounding the ball into a sticky paste.
So what are their options?
This is highly unlikely. Teams don't just eat $47 million. Or, at least, teams like the Rockies don't.
Colorado is clearly disenamoured of their recent acquisition. And understandably so. But what are you going to do? He's under contract and he has to be on a roster if he isn't released. With Story clubbing the baseball, there's simply nowhere for Reyes to go. He played 43 games at second base back in 2004 when he was 21, but has otherwise only played shortstop in his career, so making him a utility guy seems highly unlikely.
While I wouldn't want my team to acquire him, there's little doubt that Jose Reyes is still a perfectly fine baseball player who would help a lot of clubs on the field. While there's no way a team would take on all, or perhaps even most, of the money he's still owed, the Rockies may find willing trading partners as the season progresses. Some contender's shortstop will go down with an injury or will be unproductive. If Colorado can get even a marginal prospect back, or save even a few million dollars, maybe it will be worth it to get rid of the headache, and commit to Story going forward.
As bad as he was after the trade in 2015, Reyes is still capable of being a league average shortstop when he's healthy. In 143 games for the Blue Jays in 2014, he hit .287/.328/.398, easily besting the Major League average for shortstops in all three categories. He also continues to be a fine defensive player. Overall, he was worth somewhere around three and a half wins, and he's only 33. Presumably, he still has good baseball in front of him, and while allowing him to wither on the vine feels just, it's not really in anyone's best interest after he's served his penalty.
Given that Story was barely one of the Rockies' top 10 prospects coming into this season, and that he is considered a little iffy with his glove, Reyes could man shortstop while Story finds playing time elsewhere. Third base is pretty locked up for the Rockies right now, obviously. But D.J. LeMahieu is not exactly immovable at second base. Or Matt Reynolds at first. The Rockies also have a trio of lefty-hitting outfielders, who Story would be able to spell on occasion if he were some kind of super-utility type. Or, perhaps playing Story will become less and less appealing as teams start to catch up to his scouting report, and Reyes's return will be welcomed.