The Colorado Rockies announced this afternoon that they have designated Jose Reyes for assignment following the reinstatement from his 50 game suspension for allegedly attacking his wife in a Hawaii hotel last December. Reyes was the first MLBer to really test the commissioner’s tough new anti-domestic violence policy, even as it took a long time for the league to resolve the situation.
Unless they can find a trade partner, the Rockies will wind up eating something like $40 million to rid themselves of Reyes. Even with Reyes hitting .303/.425/.485 in 40 appearances at Albuquerque, it’s a decision made less difficult by the emergence of Trevor Story at shortstop.
I’m not sure what the correct response is here. I’m not sure there even is a correct response here. People are going to look at what Reyes did and who he is differently from here on out. Some will never forgive him. Some will never forget. Me? I’ve had Catholicism drilled into me. That means we all screw up (though, thankfully, not as badly as Reyes did), we all need to take our punishment, we all need to show contrition, and we all can earn redemption. And I don’t mean that in a religious sense.
That Reyes abused his wife seems clear, and I approve of the harsh treatment of those who would attack those they claim to love. I don’t take joy in it, because of the human tragedy that caused his suspension, but I do believe he serves as a powerful example that domestic violence will not be tolerated around the game.
At the same time, Reyes has been punished, and there are teams out there who could use a shortstop with a career 105 OPS+ who is still in his early 30s. We shouldn’t expect him to disappear. Assuming Reyes is contrite and doesn’t re-offend, giving him the opportunity to serve as a different kind of example, that people can change and that abusers don’t have to repeat the cycle, isn’t an offensive idea. I’ve been gratified to see Reyes punished, but now I want him to prove himself capable of being better.
It’s unclear who might be willing to give him that chance, however. Teams that could use a shortstop right now include the Braves, the Padres, and the Phillies, all of whom are rebuilding and may not want to commit money to an older shortstop they might not be able to easily trade. However, the Mets are struggling to deal with the loss of David Wright, and might benefit from a reunion that would allow them to move Asdrubal Cabrera to the hot corner. Assuming that Reyes says and does the right things from here on out, that might be the best solution for everyone at this point.
And if he proves unworthy of that chance? If he abuses his wife, or anyone else, again? I have no problem with making him, and anyone who stands with him, a pariah.