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NEW YORK — Neil Walker‘s return to the Mets on a $17.2 million qualifying offer may have left Jose Reyes without a starting position. But it’s versatility, Reyes knows, that could make him one of the Mets’ most valuable bench players in 2017.

“This offseason, I’m going to be working at every position just to be ready for Spring Training,” Reyes said after handing out turkeys for charity on Tuesday at Catherine & Count Basie Middle School in Jamaica, Queens. “Wherever the skipper wants to put me, I’m going to be open to doing it. And whatever is best for the team, like I said, I’m going to be open to doing it.”

With Walker starting at second base, Reyes profiles as a backup there, at shortstop and particularly at third base, where David Wright‘s uncertain health should afford him plenty of starts. The Mets will have Reyes back on a league-minimum contract, an option that they negotiated when signing him last June.

A four-time All-Star, Reyes will form the core of a strong bench alongside former Gold Glove outfielder Juan Lagares and lefty-masher Wilmer Flores. Infielder T.J. Rivera, who started regularly at second base down the stretch for the Mets, should also return in some capacity.

In that sense, Walker’s return gives the Mets significant depth, spreading their other assets around the diamond. Had Walker left via free agency, Reyes, Rivera and Flores all would have been candidates to start at second base.

“It’s great to have Neil back,” Reyes said. “We know what he’s capable of doing in the field. He’s a great teammate, great person. What he’s able to do as a second baseman, that’s something that we need.”

“Everybody enjoyed having him as a teammate,” said Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson, who texted Walker congratulations upon hearing the news. “He’s a great guy. I’m excited to get a chance to retain him as a teammate and get a chance to get back out on the field with him again.”

Reyes' game-tying two-run jack

Reyes’ game-tying two-run jack

PHI@NYM: Reyes ties game with two-run homer in 9th

Jose Reyes crushes a two-run homer to right field to tie the game at 6 in the bottom of the 9th

A Met from 2003-11, Reyes returned to the club this summer after serving a 51-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s Joint Domestic Violence Policy. He went on to post a .267 average with eight home runs and nine stolen bases in 60 games, starting regularly at third base in Wright’s absence.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


Source: Mets News / Jose of all trades: Reyes ready to show versatility