Updated by Joe D.
In the conference call to announce the Chris Young signing, Sandy Alderson said it’s conceivable that shortstop could be filled by Tejada or otherwise internally.
He said he has reached out to teams about trading for a shortstop and said that the market is very thin even before the Cards signed Peralta…
Sandy added that Tejada is doing great since recovering from a broken fibula and working out without any limitations.
He is now back home in Panama.
Considering how things have unfolded in the shortstop market, speculation is the Mets will give Ruben Tejada another chance to live up to the expectations he generated two years ago.
Stephen Drew, who would have been ideal at Citi Field, had too expensive a price tag for even the Red Sox, so there was no way he was coming to Flushing.
The Mets’ next choice, Jhonny Peralta, wound up with St. Louis, which is just as well because as a PED user, his production must be viewed skeptically. And, $52 million over four years is excessive under those conditions.
I’ve never been a big Tejada fan. I don’t believe he hustles and his sometimes lack of work ethic and commitment is annoying. However, his attendance at a fitness camp in Michigan – along with Lucas Duda and Wilmer Flores – presents him in a different light.
It demonstrates an effort, and at this point, that’s something important to the Mets.
Two years ago, his first as a starter in the post-Jose Reyes era, Tejada didn’t report to spring training early as manager Terry Collins wanted. He wasn’t technically late, but Collins believed Tejada should have demonstrated more enthusiasm in preparing for his first season.
Was Collins wrong for thinking that? No. Was Tejada wrong for not reporting early? Technically, no, but he did leave a bad impression.
Tejada redeemed himself with a good season, hitting .289 with a .333 on-base percentage. However, Tejada got off to a horrible start, both in the field and at the plate last year. Following an injury and lengthy stay in the minor leagues, Tejada finished with a .202 average and .259 on-base percentage at the time his season ended with a broken leg.
Economically, Tejada made $514-thousand last year, his third in terms of service time, so the Mets know they won’t pay a lot of money.
There’s literally not a better option in the free agent market, at least not one with an injury history – Rafael Furcal – or who’ll want an excessive amount of money.
The Mets’ timetable to pose serious competition has now been pushed back to 2015 following the season-ending injury to Matt Harvey.
Given that, plus the economic factors, paltry market and nothing in the farm system – Flores is not an option – it makes sense to give Tejada another opportunity.
If Tejada plays the way he did two years ago, that’s something the Mets can live with. And if not, then there’s always next year.
Thoughts from Joe D.
I’ve long thought that Tejada would be in the Mets Opening Day lineup next season.
While that is now a revelation to some prominent bloggers and news sources, I’ve had the shortstop market accurately pegged right from jump street.
Back on September 30th I wrote that with only two quality shortstops available and more than a half dozen teams in the market for one, prices would skyrocket and that I didn’t believe the Mets “would have the stomach for it.”
A couple of weeks later, I wrote that given the huge $30-40 million cash infusion for each team – courtesy of the new National MLB TV deal – that even teams like the Houston Astros would be spending big this Winter.
When the Mets said they would be able to spend $30 million, I found it difficult to believe they’d be able to fill Sandy’s wish list on that budget. “If the Mets think they can do all that with a $30 million budget, they need to get back into the world of reality.”
Sandy has since whittled down that once expansive list to 3-4 acquisitions.
When it was rumored that the Mets met with Jhonny Peralta in Orlando, and then saw how they downplayed the meeting through Joel Sherman and Andy Martino – I declared in no uncertain terms that the Mets were out on Peralta and Drew. And so it is.
Going with Tejada is not such a bad idea. At 23 he has a good chance to still become a productive shortstop and I still believe in him.
The Mets need to save what money they have left and get a lefthanded power hitter for left field. That should be the number one priority. Upgrading Tejada is a luxury not a necessity.