NEW YORK -- This was not the way it was supposed to work for Jose Reyes and the Marlins.
He was not supposed to be batting third. They were not supposed to be in last place.
Reyes was not supposed to be sitting in a hardly recognizable Marlins clubhouse this week, repeating over and over, "It is what it is."
It is, but it may not be all that it appears.
Reyes said he has no regrets about signing on for this so-far-failed Marlins project, accepting $106 million over six years to become one of the faces of the new Marlins.
"I'm happy in Miami," he said. "No regrets for me."
Good thing, because the Marlins don't seem to regret signing Reyes, either. While losing has brought on many changes, with more likely to come, the Marlins appear satisfied with their shortstop.
They suggest that they like the idea of building their lineup around Reyes and Giancarlo Stanton.
The Marlins, by policy, never make anyone off-limits in trade talks. You want Stanton, go ahead and ask about him -- but you'd better be offering someone like Mike Trout in return.
Reyes, though, is unlikely to go. While the Marlins don't give no-trade clauses when they sign free agents, they do write contracts that almost act as a no-trade clause.
Reyes got one of those last winter. He makes a manageable $10 million this year and next, but by 2015, his annual salary balloons to $22 million.
Do you know any team that would consider Reyes a $22 million player from 2015-17, by which time he'll be turning 34?
The Marlins offered Reyes far more money than the Mets would have (had they ever made an offer), and more than any other team was willing to. Even if he did have regrets, it's hard to imagine what he should have done differently in last winter's free-agent market.
For now, Reyes is having a good but not great year. He has a .287 batting average and a .350 on-base percentage, helped by a 25-game hitting streak in which he has hit .366.
He's batting third because the depleted Marlins don't really have anyone else to hit there. Manager Ozzie Guillen suggested Tuesday that eventually it will be Reyes leading off and Stanton batting third, but Tuesday was Stanton's first game back from the disabled list.
Guillen told Reyes to keep thinking like a leadoff man, which has led to some bunt attempts that had some outsiders suggesting that Reyes was selfish.
The Marlins insist that they don't see it that way. They say they like what they've seen from Reyes.
They say they don't have regrets. And he says he doesn't, either.