12/07/11 1:41 PM EST
Winter Meetings interview with Jose Reyes and Larry Beinfest
By / MLB.com
We now have at the top of our lineup a four time All Star, a batting champion, one of the fastest and most dynamic players in the game. We join him up with Emilio Bonifacio who's also a switch hitter and also one of the fastest guys in the game. And then we follow up with Hanley Ramirez and Mike Stanton and Logan Morrison and Gaby Sanchez. We have -- at least we think we have transformed our offense into one of the better offenses in the National League East.
I'll take a second. I know it's coming, a little bit about what's happening with the club, and specifically Hanley. And again, I want to get this out of the way so we can focus on José. This is about José today and about the Miami Marlins. Hanley is a key to our team. He has been. He is a unique talent. We recognize that. We recognize his ability. We recognize his achievements already in a very young career. We have dealt with him respectfully and timely in our communication, and we have every intention of him being our third baseman alongside José, pairing to be, we think, the best left side of the infield in baseball without peer.
I'll give you a little more insight, and again, we're not going to talk about it anymore. To give you an idea of how important it is to the Miami Marlins, our owner Jeffrey Loria, within 30 seconds of José agreeing on Sunday night, communicated with Hanley exactly what was going on. Hanley wants to win, we wanted to bring in José, and he felt help him and our fans in Miami win a championship. We'll leave it at that.
Again, four time All Star batting champion, and I was told to say he's an all around great guy, which he is, you just have to look at the smile, but we're very happy to introduce José Reyes. Thank you.
JOSE REYES: I thank God for the opportunity to be here today, and another thing that I have to say, I have to thank the New York Mets for giving me the opportunity play in the Big Leagues to play professional baseball. Right now I'm happy because I have to say thank you to this man right here, Jeffrey and his staff, for making this happen, and I'm very excited to go down there in Miami.
They showed me the plan right away, like 12:01, when I was a free agent, so that showed me that they want me there, you know, so they really push it. I see a lot of love from them, and I see the situation, I see the plan that they have, the great young talent that they have there in Miami, and I think it's a good opportunity to win. I love to win. I don't like to lose. Like I say, I'm very happy to be part of this family, and now we just need to go to Spring Training and start to work. I'm very excited to get to Spring Training and get together with my new teammates, so we'll see what happens.
Q. José, are you disappointed that the Mets never made a concrete offer to you to retain you?
JOSE REYES: You know, I'm not going to say disappointed because they have their choices. I was a free agent. But like I say, I have to appreciate the Mets for giving me the opportunity to play in the Big Leagues. Right now I'm playing for the Miami Marlins, so I'm part of this family now, so I have to move on.
Q. José, have you reached out to Hanley Ramirez about him playing third and do you plan on helping him make that adjustment?
JOSE REYES: We don't have the time to talk yet. I'm going to help him the most that I can. I'm looking forward to playing with Hanley because Hanley is one of the best players in the game. I'm looking forward to it. I think we can be very good fielders. I'm going to be there for him, and I think he's going to be there for me, too, so like I say, I'm looking forward to working together with Hanley.
Q. I'm wondering, staying within the National League East, did that make this a more difficult decision knowing you'd be in Citi Field nine games a year?
JOSE REYES: I was excited about that because I wanted to stay in the division. I know that division. I'm not worried about going to Citi Field because I really like the fans of New York because they show me a lot of love and they support me in good times and bad times. I had some great times in New York, but I also had some bad times. And they never walk away on me, so they are always there supporting me, so hopefully when I go to Citi Field, I'm going to do my thing and help the Miami Marlins win, but we'll see what happens.
Q. Is there some sadness to be leaving the Mets?
JOSE REYES: Like I said, we need to understand, this is a business. Like I told you, I really appreciate they gave me the opportunity to play professional baseball, to play in the Big Leagues. I appreciate that from them, so that's something that I'm never going to forget because they was the first team that I played in the Big Leagues. But other than that, it's time for me to move on, and like I say, I'm part of a new family now.
Q. Did the visit you had to Miami, the tour of the stadium, greatly impact your decision?
JOSE REYES: I mean, not only the visit that I went there, like I told you, those guys, they came from Miami to see me at 12:01, so that was huge for me. They told me from that time they want me there. Then when I went to Miami, I love that city. I mean, you know, I love the stadium. They've got a new stadium and it's close to home, nice weather. I think the weather is going to be key for me. It's going to be for me like I said, everything that they showed me, I really like it, so that's why I made that decision.
Q. When Kaz Matsui came to the United States, you had to move from shortstop to second base. When you believe you're a shortstop, how difficult is it to move to a different position?
JOSE REYES: I mean, wasn't difficult at all for me. All you have to do is put in a lot of work. I was working hard to try to be one of the best second basemen in the game. That didn't work out, but that's the way it is sometimes. The thing is you need to continue to work hard every day and enjoy the game. That's the key.
Q. You said all along last year you wanted to stay in New York. Was that true, even last month as you're going through this? Were you kind of hoping the Mets would be aggressive the way the Marlins were aggressive with you?
JOSE REYES: I mean, we expect that. Like I always say, I want to stay in New York, but that don't happen. Like I say, I need to move on because they don't offer anything, really, you know. They didn't make a real offer, so that means they don't want me there. Like I said, I need to move on. I'm not part of New York no more. I did thank them for giving me the opportunity to play in this game. But now it's about the Miami Marlins, so I'll continue to move on.
Q. Physically how are you feeling and how confident are you that you can play a full season or close to a full season this year?
JOSE REYES: You know, I'm feeling good right now, so it's very exciting for me. I don't have any problems. I'm very confident that I'll have a good season. Sometimes when you get hurt, an injury is part of the game. I'm the guy who plays one way, I play the game 100 percent, and I give everything that I have on the field. When I pull a hamstring or a pull a muscle, it's because I do everything I can to help my team win a game, and hopefully I can play a full season because that's going to help this team a lot.
Q. Have you talked to David Wright since there was a resolution to this, and do you feel for him a little bit, what's kind of left behind with the Mets?
JOSE REYES: He texted me earlier today. I wish all the best for him. He's a great player, and I think he's going to be fine because he's the guy who works hard every day.
Last year has been a tough year for him because he got hurt, but I think he's going to be bounce back this year. So hopefully he'll have a good year.
Q. For Ozzie, could you talk about your infield with Reyes at short and Hanley at third?
OZZIE GUILLEN: Well, he got a great year at second base the last couple years. I think it's a privilege, we have one of the best players in the game on the left side of the field, and it's exciting. You have people that can run, people in the bullpen that can help you win so many different things, makes the lineup very strong, and it's an honor for me to manage those guys. I seen Hanley play against us in the past, one of my favorite players, and not because he's signed here. I know that. He played rookie league -- no, instructional league. And when I see this kid play in instructional league, Joey told me about him and I went down to see it and finally I'm the manager. When I come to here to be -- this kid, he's one guy I wanted bad. Too bad I don't have the money, I don't push the Marlins to sign him, but the one kid I wanted in the lineup was him, and I'm very glad we have him.
Q. José, you had talked about wanting to stay in New York, but did you get a feeling, all the talk about money problems, that this might not happen?
JOSE REYES: That's something that I can't really control, because you know, they said they want me here, try to sign me, but they didn't make an offer. I didn't control that. The only thing I can control right now is playing baseball. That's what I'm going to do.
Q. You mentioned they called you at 12:01, as soon as they could, and they showed a lot of aggression to sign you, the Marlins. When did you think it was probably going to go that way? You said the Mets never showed you a lot of interest. Was it early in the process that you thought Miami was going to be a good possibility to go?
JOSE REYES: You know, it was a possibility. Like I told you guys, those guys fly from Miami to here at 12:01. That showed me something. That showed me they really wanted me here. The Mets didn't call, they didn't say anything, so that's why I'm here today. I'm very happy about it, very excited. I'm looking forward to getting on the field and getting to work.
Q. You obviously have a new -- Heath Bell on your team, a lot of new exciting teammates, and there's a lot of talk about even another teammate coming maybe. What are your thoughts about maybe playing with Albert Pujols?
JOSE REYES: Let me answer a question about him. Him and me, we were roommates in Double A, so I'm very happy to have him here. He's a great guy. About Pujols, everybody wants to play with Pujols, but I don't make that decision. We still have a great first baseman on our team right now. He's a very good player. They can answer that question better than me.
Q. Just tell me why that feeling of being wanted was so important to you. You talked about 12:01. Why was that so important to be coveted and felt that wanted?
JOSE REYES: Like I said, they showed they really wanted me here. 12:01, those guys are crazy, 12:01 because they want me here? That's why I'm here today, because like I said, they showed me a lot of love, and I have to make a decision. It's a perfect situation in Miami. We have a lot of talent there and the new stadium, the weather, close to Dominican, a lot of Spanish people there, so I think I'm going to like it and enjoy it as much as I can.
LARRY BEINFEST: Just to follow up on the 12:01 issue because it seems to be coming up a lot. Peter Greenberg who's here was instrumental -- José was on a plane and had a very long plane ride and landed only a couple of hours before. We had spoken to Peter and we had made the plan that Jeffrey had asked us to make, which was to see José at 12:01, and we made an arrangement to meet at the hotel bar, at the Hotel Carlyle in New York City, and we were there at 11:56 and thinking about whether or not to order a drink, and Jeffrey walked into the Hotel Carlyle with a long overcoat because it was about 12 degrees out, and under the overcoat was the José Reyes new Marlins jersey that had not been released yet. A few other people in the bar thought that this was some sort of strange, freaky show because the owner of the team stood up and literally went like this, and underneath was José Reyes' jersey. We then ordered some drinks and stayed around for a couple of hours just talking and getting to know each other, and a few days after that José came down to Miami and saw the ballpark. So 12:01 to us was always a big deal because we wanted to show José from the beginning that we had an idea, and it was all José.
Q. Are you going to move your family down to Miami? Do you know yet?
JOSE REYES: Probably, yes. But you know, we don't talk about that yet. But probably that's going to be the plan now to move to Miami because I'm going to be there for a long time. That's going to be my new home.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.