Potentially lost among the exciting and unlikely 2-1 walk-off victory against the Yankees was the unsightly performance of shortstop Ruben Tejada. His sub-par season has been generally overlooked due to the even more significant woes of slumping power hitter Ike Davis, however with veteran Omar Quintanilla tearing the cover off the ball, the time has come for Tejada to get the hook.
With not one, not two, but three boneheaded moves both in the field and on the basepaths last night, Tejada did just about everything in his power to lose this game for the Amazin’s. After reaching base, the 23-year old, representing the tying run with the cleanup hitter in Lucas Duda up, was picked off by a mile, not only ending the inning but eventually resulting in the ejection of Terry Collins.
In the field, he was even worse. After a throwing error in the fifth, Tejada flat out stopped on a ball up the middle, allowing Vernon Wells to reach base and setting up a first and third situation that Matt Harvey was luckily able to get out of.
Meanwhile in Vegas, Quintanilla is currently riding an eight-game hitting streak and is batting a team-leading .328 on the season. He has been the most consistent bat in the lineup while also being a force in the field. It is clear he is far more qualified to be patrolling the left side of the infield in Flushing, however a Mets source told Andy Martino why the move hasn’t been made yet.
“Obviously, that has been discussed,” said one high-ranking Mets source, who provided this reasoning for the inaction: Quintanilla is not on the 40-man roster (although that is far from insurmountable). Also, the Mets could lose him if they tried to send him back down, and do not want to risk that so early in the season.
“If we call up Quintanilla, we can’t send him back down,” the source explained, adding that after losing Quintanilla to a waiver claim, the Mets would be dangerously thin on organizational shortstop depth.
It is clear, though, that if Tejada continues to flirt with the Mendoza line, while posting an on-base percentage below .300 and committing weird lapses, he will not be in New York for long.
This is a weak excuse, that’s the risk you take. If you were so concerned about losing him then why did you trade him for a bag of peanuts last season? Even if he is brought up and struggles, he can’t be much worse than Tejada’s .209/.269/.264 clip. Quintanilla is raking in Triple-A and Tejada has been terrible on all cylinders, so why not give the veteran a shot?
Tejada has been an embarrassment in 2013. He struggled in Spring Training and it has carried over into the season. He needs to be put on a plane to Vegas pronto, and while they’re at it, Ike Davis can join him on the chartered flight.
At least with Ike you can make the case that he is a gold glove-caliber defender and that there isn’t a formidable replacement for him, however for Tejada he isn’t even doing the basic fundamentals right and Quintanilla is knocking on the door.
Sooner or later the Mets are going to have to use their assets to start helping the team rather than keeping them down in the minors to avoid losing them.