Nobody will ever mistake Ruben Tejada for Jose Reyes, especially after getting thrown out by a country mile while attempting to steal second base in Sunday’s loss to the San Diego Padres. For Tejada it was his second caught-stealing to go with his one stolen base this season. So he’s no speed demon, that’s for sure, but he does have other virtues.
Last year, Jose Reyes was nearly nominated for sainthood when he led the NL with a .337 batting average, and hardly a whimper from the sports media with our 22-year old shortstop batting .323 in his first full season as an everyday shortstop.
The two of them, Reyes and Tejada, will meet again Tuesday night when the Mets begin a three game set with the Miami Marlins.
Reyes comes into town with a .288 average and a .351 on-base for the Fish – nothing wrong with that, but when you consider the mind-boggling disparity in their salaries, it gives you pause to consider how lucky we truly are that things worked out the way they did.
We already go into next season with over $55 million tied up in three players. It could have been much worse with almost $70 million locked into four players. Whew..
These are two different players, but they have one thing in common and that is that either one would have been a solid shortstop for us this season and next.
Tejada is not a sparkplug and he’ll never rattle a pitcher’s psyche whenever he’s on the bases, but he’s a heady player. By that I mean he’s got great baseball instincts, probably better than Reyes.
I now look back at losing Reyes differently than I did when he signed with the Marlins. I never expected Tejada to step in and perform the way he has, and don’t kid yourself, neither did Alderson. He caught a lucky break – we all did.
The only thing that did tick me off was the money saved on Reyes wasn’t re-invested. Instead it went toward Wilpon’s defense fund, his new Park Avenue penthouse, and a hefty Christmas bonus for Sandy too I’m sure.
That was one part of that day that still gets under my skin. But where Tejada is concerned? We’re golden.