Ruben Tejada Continues To Be Erratic At Shortstop
Replacing Jose Reyes was never going to be easy, but with Ruben Tejada’s fielding prowess if he could hit just a little that would be acceptable to the Mets. Perhaps that should read, “former fielding prowess.’’
Trouble is, he’s not hitting or fielding. He’s not even just holding his own; he’s been poor at both, actually terrible. Tejada has committed six errors in 13 games – a pace for just under 80 – and the Mets have already lost a couple of games directly attributed to his defense.
Tejada’s .905 fielding percentage is the worst among shortstops as are his errors.
It matters little if David Wright believes he’s a Gold Glove caliber shortstop. What matters is if Tejada can catch the ball, and if he does, keep it out of the stands. Both Tejada’s glove and arm have been erratic. It was a throwing error Tuesday night that opened the door for a late-inning collapse. His throwing has been especially poor. Is Tejada going Steve Sax or Chuck Knoblauch on us?
Yes, it was cold and miserable, and yes, the pitchers needed to regroup to get the following hitters, but that doesn’t change the fact Tejada’s defense is hurting the Mets and they have little answers.
They would like to bring up Omar Quintanilla, but would need to clear a spot on the 40-man roster.Wilmer Flores is on the 40-man roster, but the Mets don’t think he’s ready, otherwise a Flores-for-Tejada swap would be considered. The Mets certainly don’t want to bring up Flores to have him languish on the bench.
Neither Collins nor Tejada blamed the error totally on the weather, but both said it was a contributing factor because the cold made gripping the ball difficult. News Flash: It’s not going to get better tonight or tomorrow.
Blaming the weather might be easier to accept if Tejada hasn’t been so awful this season. What’s wrong with him? Was last year a fluke? Is there an injury we don’t know about?
Mike Puma of the New York Post says the Mets intend to stay with Ruben Tejada at shortstop, despite his early season problems.
“I’ve seen this guy play too much, and I’ve never seen this — never,” Collins told Puma. “So had I seen this in the past at some time I may be concerned about it, but I’m just saying the conditions have been unfavorable for what’s going on here.”
“He’s putting a lot of pressure on himself,” David Wright said, according to Puma. “You can just tell he’s thinking about a lot of things instead of just playing. The ones that are reactionary plays, he’s fine with. It’s the on
Whatever the reason, his current play is unacceptable and wouldn’t be tolerated if the Mets had a ready backup. If Tejada continues at this rate and the Mets tank in the second half, perhaps they should consider force-feeding the position to Flores or go shortstop shopping in the offseason.
After all, according to the Mets they will be ready to spend and contend next season. They can’t be competitive with a hole on the left side of the infield. Will they need to add a shortstop to their list?
About the Author: John Delcos
I am an active member of the BBWAA and have covered Major League Baseball in several capacities for over 20 years, including ten in New York working the Mets' and Yankees' beat. I covered the Baltimore Orioles for eight years and the Cleveland Indians before that.
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