The Mets front office, purposefully or not, is damaging the confidence of their young players. The likely starting lineup this year will feature players who have been the subjects of trade rumors, mid-season minor league demotion, or work ethic criticism. It is difficult to pinpoint the result of such degradation yet, but it is hard to imagine the result being positive.
The confidence of Ruben Tejada, the Mets prospective opening day shortstop has reached peaks and valleys. Once thought of as a capable Jose Reyes replacement, the confidence and subsequent performance of the 24-year-old Tejada has since plummeted.
In a piece written in November by Andy Martino of the Daily News, Martino understandably predicted an end to Tejada’s time with the Mets by the end of this offseason. Martino’s prediction came on the basis of several conflicts between Tejada and the Mets. Most recently, Tejada’s grievance threat and most notably his 2013 spring training appearance, to which he arrived out of shape.
The latter misstep on Tejada’s part was a mistake, and for a 23-year-old shortstop of a New York team, missteps should be expected. However, instead of privately consulting Tejada, both Terry Collins and Sandy Alderson took to the media to express their disappointment. “Extra batting practice, extra this, extra that, doesn’t happen unless someone else is insisting on it”, Alderson griped in a WFAN interview.
The complexities that arise when a player is thrust into the New York City spotlight are well documented. Tejada is currently experiencing everything the media has to offer as his coaches make public his private issues. Now, less than a year later, the Mets are counting on Tejada to open the season at Shortstop, expecting a change. The newfound dependence on Tejada speaks to the Mets’ desperation, lack of a formidable substitute, and the necessary resources to acquire one. The Mets on the trade market are talking the talk but have yet to walk the walk, thus sacrificing the confidence of the players they are depending on.
Bobby Parnell, despite lingering neck issues, was all set to be the opening day closer for the Mets. That was at least, until the Mets reportedly were willing to shell out $12 million for Grant Balfour. The Rays swooped in and Balfour opted to stay near his hometown, cutting short what might have been a Closer Controversy.
The fact that the Mets, according to Adam Rubin, are now “in dialogue” with Fernando Rodney suggests that something is up with Parnell. Either way, the Mets are not confident in Parnell to open the season as their closer and are actively searching for a replacement.
Joe DeCaro of MetsMerized details in a recent article Parnell’s Twitter cameo, in which he notes “the neck is very good”, and that he is “throwing, running, lifting all on schedule for the start of the season.” Parnell’s intentions seem to be in discordance with those of the Mets. Either way the Mets will have to rely on Parnell and we must wonder how his confidence will have been altered.
The same pattern has occurred with Ike Davis and now, after having been booed off the field in 2013 and the Mets having failed to find him a new home, Davis is on track to open 2014 with the Mets. Hard to believe after the months of ongoing rumors fueled by the front office.
Davis, Parnell and Tejada are still young players playing in a very tough baseball town. Their confidence has taken many hits of late and yet all three are expected to preform in starting roles as the season approaches. Little has been done this offseason to enhance the confidence of these players and they will be left to their own devices due to failed attempts to replace them. I ask you the reader, what effect if any will the organization’s lack of confidence have on these Mets players this season?