Ricciardi: Tejada Is Going To Be A Better Player

jp ricciardi

Appearing on the ‘€˜Hot Stove Show’€™ with Rob Bradford and John McDonald on Thursday night, Mets special assistant J.P. Ricciardi said his team is happy with heading into the 2014 with Ruben Tejada as their shortstop.

œHe’€™s a young player…a lot of them don’€™t realize what it takes to play every day. I think in Ruben’€™s case…he’€™s starting to realize that he has to work a lot harder than he has in the past, and he has. To his credit, he really has.

But as a young player, they get to the big leagues, some things happen for them and they forget how tough it is to stay there. I think he’€™s at that stage in his career. I think next year he’€™s going to be a better player than he was this previous year.

It’s good to see Ricciardi come out and join Sandy Alderson in explaining why the team is confident going into the season with Tejada as their shortstop. Too many are ready to move on from players like Tejada and Juan Lagares during their formative years, much as we did with Heath Bell and Carlos Gomez.

Ricciardi also weighed in on on how supply and demand is impacting the free agent market for shortstops, namely Stephen Drew where the Mets are concerned.

I think right now there’€™s just not a lot of demand for shortstops.  €œIt’€™s funny how it works. Sometimes there’€™s a lot of opportunities for free agents, but sometimes the market is a little bit of a stonewall. I think in this case there’€™s a lot of shortstops that are already in place.

Of course, when Scott Boras is your agent, standard rules never apply as the Jacoby Ellsbury deal clearly illustrated.

Perhaps the most interesting thing Ricciardi said during his interview was in regards to Curtis Granderson, sacrificing a draft pick, and building a team through the draft:

One of the things that is happening in baseball right now, that I scratch my head, is€“ young players are so overvalued right now, and I think it falls in with the draft picks, too.

No one builds through the draft. You add through the draft. €œYou can’€™t build a team through the draft because they just don’€™t all work out.

But you can supplement your system, and I get all that. But if you’€™re telling me I have a chance to get Curtis Granderson over a second round pick I think I’€™m going to take my chances with a proven major league player as opposed to maybe a high school or college kid that may or may not become Curtis Granderson.

Hindsight is 20-20 and we can all go back and look at guys where they were drafted and what happened to them, but in the end, the major league players, the proven major league player, has a lot more value to me than the Double A kid, the Triple A kid or even the kid who is drafted.

Ricciardi echoes my feelings on that exactly. But of course you already knew that. Too many fans have become prospect drunk these days. And yes, hindsight is 20/20 as Ricciardi says. It’s easy to look back 5-10 years and psychoanalyze and say “we should have done this or that.” However it’s apropos of nothing.

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I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73, '00 and '15, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction and interact with other passionate Met fans like you. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.