The Toronto Blue Jays' new shortstop wants to knock the Yankees from their lofty perch and claims playing against Derek Jeter will be his driving force.
The 29-year-old Reyes has the utmost respect for his new AL East counterpart and told Kevin Kernan of The New York Post that the Jays will settle for nothing less than first place.
"We don't think about the wild card," said Reyes. "We are her to win the division. That's our goal."
Jose Reyes tells me his #Rays are here to win the division, playing against #Yankees and Jeter will raise his game: nypost.com/p/sports/yanke…
— Kevin Kernan (@WheresKernan) February 16, 2013
Toronto hasn't finished first in the division since 1993, when they won the World Series for the second straight time.
Reyes was a part of the home-and-home New York City rivalry with the Yankees when he played for the Mets, but says playing them for a division title will give him more incentive.
"When I was there in New York and we played the Subway Series, that was so exciting to play the Yankees," said Reyes. "And now I'm going to play against that team in the same division so many times that's going to be even more exciting. Every time you play against the Yankees, it feels like you are playing in the playoffs. I like that. I think playing against the Yankees will bring out the best in me."
When you talk about the Yankees, it still comes down to future Hall of Famer Derek Jeter.
"Jeter is the guy who I admire," Reyes said. "I love the way Jeter plays the game and approaches the game. It's going to be fun to see Jeter so many times this year and try to learn something from him."
Reyes should be forewarned. Admiring Jeter is easy. Beating him ... that's another thing.