DENVER (AP) — Rather than activate Jose Reyes following his domestic violence suspension, the Colorado Rockies cut the shortstop on Wednesday and almost certainly will be responsible for the $39 million remaining on his contract.
Reyes completed a 59-day suspension on May 31 for violating Major League Baseball’s new domestic violence policy, then went on a minor league injury rehabilitation assignment that was limited to 14 days.
Colorado reinstated the four-time All-Star from the restricted list on Wednesday and immediately designated him for assignment, giving the Rockies 10 days to trade Reyes or release him. Because the 33-year-old has five or more years of major league service, he cannot be assigned outright to a minor league team without his consent.
At the time Reyes was cut, he was owed $13,224,044 of his $22 million salary this year. His deal includes a guaranteed $22 million salary for 2017 and a $4 million buyout of a $22 million team option for 2018.
Any team wanting Reyes likely would wait for Colorado to release him and then sign Reyes for a prorated share of the $507,500 major league minimum, with the Rockies responsible for the rest.
“Jose is still a very talented player,” Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich said. “There is a little bit of time to figure out that exactly means in terms of his true exit. We’ll see what happens.”
Bridich said a couple of teams expressed interest in Reyes, but “nothing truly serious ever materialized.”
He was suspended after being charged with domestic violence for an altercation with his wife in Hawaii last October. Prosecutors dropped the charge ahead of a trial scheduled for April 4, saying Reyes’ wife was not cooperating.
Reyes was assigned to Triple-A Albuquerque on June 1 and hit .333 in nine games with the Isotopes.
Bridich said the rest of the team was informed of the decision after Tuesday’s win over the New York Yankees.
“This has much to do with the entire team that we have right here and the entire depth of players in our system,” Bridich said.
Colorado acquired Reyes from Toronto last July 28 in the six-player trade that sent popular shortstop Troy Tulowitzki to the Blue Jays. Reyes hit .259 in 47 games with Colorado last season.
Reyes had his best seasons while playing for the New York Mets. In 2006, he hit .300 with 19 home runs, 81 RBIs and 64 stolen bases.
Reyes signed a $106 million, six-year contract with Miami ahead of the 2012 season.
With Reyes suspended, Rockies rookie shortstop Trevor Story won the starting job out of spring training. He tied a major league rookie record with 10 homers in April and hit his 17th against the Yankees on Tuesday.
“All those things having to deal with as a young player, he just keeps his head down and keeps going,” Colorado manager Walt Weiss said. “I’ve always said he’s got the right combination of confidence and humility.”
Story’s emergence gave the Rockies options with Reyes.
“We talked through every conceivable situation,” Bridich said. “At the end of the day, we felt it was best that we part ways. Best for the direction of the organization, best for what was going on in the clubhouse and best for Jose.
“We needed to make a good, sound baseball decision, really the best decision in every way for the organization. I feel that’s what we did.”