I know I am in the the minority on this, but I would have no objection to giving Ruben Tejada one more shot.
Huh? But why, oh why?
Because I still think he can be a decent player.
Ruben is never going to be Jose Reyes. He is never going to be a superstar. He is never going to the Hall of Fame. But he had a pretty decent 2012 as a full time player to build upon his 2011 campaign. He’s won’t hit you a lot of home runs (ok… maybe one every other year), but in 2012 he hit .289 with 26 doubles and played a pretty good shortstop. There were a lot of us that felt good about him being our starting shortstop at this very same time last year…
Then 2013 happened.
I’d like to chalk it up to immaturity. Let’s not forget, Ruben broke into the major leagues at a very young age. He was only 20 years old. He was a productive major league starter when he was 22. Last year he was only 23. He’s only going into his age 24 season. He’s at the age where other players are just starting to break through into the majors and he already has multiple years under his belt.
Without knowing him personally… maybe he got too big for his britches and took his position for granted because he got to the bigs quicker than most of the other prospects? I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. He’s shown he has some talent and showed he could hit major league pitching for two years in a row. I’m not of mind to believe that his ability completely disappeared in one season. He’s too young for that to happen. He just regressed.
I know I did some stupid things when I was his age and thought I knew everything. It wasn’t until I got older that the version of me in the present wished I could go back and shake some sense into the version of me in the past. With age, comes wisdom (hopefully) and hopefully he learned a lesson last season by being banished to the minors that nothing is earned in this game. There’s always another guy coming through the ranks that is willing to outwork and out-hustle you to get your roster spot.
So I’d be fine with giving Ruben another shot. And a short leash. Don’t hand him anything. Make him earn it in spring training. It won’t be the end of the world if he’s in the starting lineup come Opening Day. Make him earn his keep. He knows his career is on the line.
And if the Mets are in contention come July and the team is still in need of an upgrade? Teams make trades for the homestretch all the time.