Reyes Injury Shows How Woeful Middle Infield Could Be
At some point today, the Mets will make a determination on the injury status of shortstop Jose Reyes who aggravated his oblique muscle and was removed from last nights game.
Given Reyes’ recent injury history, there’s a very good chance he will be placed on the disabled list and even a very small chance he could be shut down for the rest of this season.
Two names that have been battling it out for playing time at second base, Luis Castillo and Ruben Tejada, will now become fixtures at second base and shortstop at least until Reyes returns.
The 20-year old Tejada was inserted at shortstop to replace Reyes last night and will play there for the time being. Since being recalled from Buffalo, Tejada is hitting .028. For the season he is now batting .164 in 49 games played. Defensively, Tejada has better range than Castillo and is a smoother fielder, but he has made some gaffes in the field that have been costly to the Mets as well.
Castillo on the other hand wants to play more but despite his game winning hit earlier in the week, he has been terrible at the plate and very limited defensively at second base.
There’s really not much help in the minor leagues if Reyes is out for an extended time. Alex Cora has already been released and picked up by the Texas Rangers, Justin Turner could have gotten the call from Buffalo but is now injured himself, and the Mets top second base prospect Reese Havens is having as hard a time staying off the DL as Fernando Martinez.
Depth for the Mets in the middle infield is a big problem, and calls to trade Jose Reyes by some in the media makes little sense unless you have someone in place that can man the shortstop position.
It already seems certain that for the next few years the Mets will be sacrificing offense at second base if they go ahead with Ruben Tejada as the everyday second baseman. But how can the Mets possibly bail on the shortstop position as well?
Some may say that you can get another shortstop back in a Reyes deal. That may be true, but then wouldn’t you be getting someone worse than Reyes?
Nobody is going to trade you Hanley Ramirez for Jose Reyes, and now his inability to avoid the DL for two straight seasons, Reyes’ value couldn’t be much lower. The upside for Reyes is still worth far more than anything the Mets can get by trading him.
The best plan for the Mets is to get Reyes ready for spring training and ensuring that happens with a solid training and conditioning program in the offseason.
About the Author: Joe DeCaro
I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73 and '00, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.
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