Collins, Tejada and the Mess at Shortstop

New York Mets Spring Training at their Minor League practice facility located within Tradition Field in Florida

There is a certain segment of the fanbase that will never give Terry Collins the benefit of the doubt. He certainly does not help himself when he does things like announcing to the media that Eric Young Jr. is his likely candidate for the lead-off spot, presumably to the detriment of fan-favorite Juan Lagares. But the ire from the Twitterverse regarding the news that Collins gave embattled shortstop Ruben Tejada a pep talk last week and told him he is the Mets shortstop is bewildering.

First, what Collins told Tejada was the truth. He is the shortstop on this team. Unless you count Triple-A player Omar Quintanilla, there is no other serviceable shortstop on the roster. And for the folks that believe there is no way on God’s Earth that EY Jr. should start over the defensive wunderkind Lagares (myself included), it would be hypocritical to suggest Wilmer Flores should start over Tejada at short for the same reason.

Second, it’s Collins’ job to make the most of the roster he is given. And without another decent option currently at his disposal, his best shot is to salvage the confidence of his young shortstop. A confidence that was done no favors by words spoken from his GM during the off-season.

Maybe there will come a day when Sandy Alderson provides Collins with a reasonable alternative. Count me in the camp that believes the Mets should be aggressive in finding a long term solution at shortstop (read: trade for Owings or Franklin; pass on a one-year signing of Drew). And I want to believe something will occur before Opening Day. But history has shown us that the word “aggressive” is not something typically associated with this front office.

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