Last spring, Jose Reyes (at 34 years old) and Amed Rosario (at 22 years old) looked and behaved like brothers. When Reyes laughed at a joke, Rosario laughed at the joke. Where Jose stretched, Amed stretched. If Jose was at shortstop, Rosario was at shortstop. It all made sense. They had similar builds, similar energy, similar stories and similar expectations when entering the big leagues.
The two openly discussed talking and texting during off seasons with Reyes essentially playing the role of life coach, which is a major reason why advisors pushed Sandy Alderson to keep him around most of last season.
This time last year, Reyes, Rosario, Asdrubal Cabrera and Yoenis Cespedes were inseparable, with Amed looking like the young pup pushing to be in the with the big dogs.
That was then, though. This is now...
Reyes is memory, as is Cabrera. And, though Cespedes is on the roster, he's nowhere to be found.
In their wake, Robinson Cano kneels in the same spot once occupied by Cespedes. Cano and Yo similarly tape their bats, lean on a bucket, cinch up their cleats and glare at photographers and the field. The difference, though, is that while Cespedes played the role of monster for 18 months in Queens, Cano has 14 years and 51 postseason games under his belt. He has eight All-Star appearances, two Gold Gloves, five Silver Sluggers, roughly 80 votes for MVP, a World Series ring, A-Rod on speed dial and $240 million going to his bank account.
"It'll be different than it was before," Callaway told me, when I asked him how having Cano in camp might inspire and impact Rosario. "Look, Robbie is a Hall of Fame player. He's in a different stratosphere."
In addition to learning from Cano, Callaway was equally hopeful that "Rosie," as he called him, can learn from Rajai Davis, who can teach him about reading pitchers, extending leads and taking an extra base in a way that will be different than wisdom from Reyes.
Davis, who hit .224 through 101 games for the Indians last season, also stole 21 bases when -- at 38 years old -- his 29.3 ft/sec sprint speed put him in the upper six percent in baseball, according to MLB.com's Andrew Simon.
Rosario is the only player on the Mets with a faster time...
"These guys are top notch players, top notch men, and I'm excited to see what he can pick up from them," Callaway reaffirmed, being sure not to be disrespectful of Reyes or anyone else that played a role in Rosario's development. "The thing about Rosie is he's a smart young man, he wants to learn, he listens and pays attention and he really takes it all in. He picks things up quickly and guys like Cano, Raj, Chili, they know what it takes to take the next step."
Rosario struggled to start 2018, which was understabable given it was his first full season in the big leagues However, he appeared to let loose after the All Star break, hitting .303/.335/.444 with five homers, nine doubles, and two triples in 47 games from Aug. 10 through the end of the season.
"We saw the best version of Rosario at end of the year," Callaway said. "He's going to continue to improve. He's a worker. He has passion and he comes here every day to get better. And he will."
Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) is lead writer of MetsBlog.com, which he created in 2003. He also hosts the MetsBlog Podcast, which you can subscribe to here. His new book, The New York Mets Fans' Bucket List, details 44 things every Mets fan should experience during their lifetime. To check it out, click here!