Jose Reyes’s smile can light up a clubhouse.
“It’s amazing when he walks in — just the energy he brings,” Toronto Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos said of the all-star shortstop. “You hear about, sometimes it’s like ‘Okay, everyone’s blowing this up a little more than it is.’ But man oh man, he walks in, the smile on his face just lights up the room. And I can see how it’s contagious and impacts his other teammates as well.
“I understand, now being around him in the clubhouse for 20 minutes. I get it. ... It’s just a genuine passion, I don’t know for life, for the game.”
Said Jays teammate R.A. Dickey, who played with Reyes on the Mets: “If you put four or five names in a hat and asked me to draw, I would hope ever time to pick out Jose’s name to have on (my) team.
“He’s a bundle of energy. If he’s on the field, he’s going to be playing incredibly hard, all the time — consistently. He’s just a pro’s pro. And his smile lights up the clubhouse. It’s a fun component to any team, is to have a guy who can bring that excitement every day. And he certainly does.”
Reyes, 29, demonstrated another sort of passion Friday upon his arrival at the Blue Jays, taking aim at the Miami Marlins and the manner in which he was traded to Toronto.
“I was shocked because (Marlins owner) Jeffery Loria, he always told me he was never going to trade me,” Reyes told reporters. “He always called my agent and said ‘Tell Jose to get a good place here to live’ and stuff like that.”
Reyes said he had dinner with Loria just days before the November trade and nothing was mentioned.
“By that time he was talking still about (me) getting a nice house in Miami. That was kind of crazy. I mean how do you want me to spend some money (on a house) in Miami when I have a house in New York (from his days as a Met) and you’re going to trade me in two days?”
Reyes then went on vacation with his wife. Two days later he heard of the trade but thought it was a joke until he called his agent.
The Dominican shortstop signed a $106-million, six-year contract before the 2012 season.
Asked if he had a message for Miami fans, Reyes said: “I gave everything I had the one year I was there.
“I feel sorry for them right now, but it is what it is. I appreciate all the support they gave me there but it’s time to move on. I’m at a new organization now.”
Pitcher Mark Buehrle, who also came over in the blockbuster Miami trade, has also spoken out about his treatment by the Marlins, accusing them of not following through on promises.
Reyes says he is past his anger at Miami. But he had no interested in speaking to the Marlins about why they traded him.
“I don’t need to talk to them because if they trade me, why do I need to talk to them? If they trade me, that means they don’t want me there.”
Asked if he would buy a house in Toronto, Reyes laughed and said “Not yet.”
“Like I said, in baseball, you never know what’s going to happen. But hopefully I can spend here the five years I have left on my contract because this is a great organization here.”
Reyes had heard nothing but good things about the Jays and the city of Toronto from the likes of Dominican alumni like Tony Fernandez and Carlos Delgado.
Reyes hit .287 for the Marlins last season with 37 doubles, 12 triples, 11 home runs, 57 RBIs and 40 stolen bases. The 2011 National League batting champion is a career .291 hitter, with 259 doubles, 111 triples, 92 home runs and 480 RBIs in 1,210 games.
The switch-hitter is fourth among active players with 410 career stolen bases.
NOTES — Jays manager John Gibbons says pitcher Evan Crawford “tweaked” a hamstring Friday.