If there’s anyone in Mets camp who is in desperate need of a change of scenery it’s Ruben Tejada.
After the Mets shortstop committed an error and then sailed a throw to first base that kept the Mets from completing a double-play, the SNY booth had this exchange (courtesy of MetsBlog):
Hernandez: “I’m beginning to think that maybe it’s in Ruben’s head now, his defensive game.”
Burkhardt: “He needs a shot of confidence, Keith, there is no question about it. He made that error the other day, he made a couple of misplays in that game, and he just doesn’t seem as confident. You know, he’s doubting himself and I don’t know that things have been helped by the shots put out by the organization. I really don’t think that has helped, to be quite honest.”
Ojeda: “He just looks like he’s in between at the plate and in between defensively. It stems from not knowing who is yet. He doesn’t have a basis for who he is and he’s searching. The game starts moving real fast at this level.”
Burkhardt: “If you’re Tejada, you come in, you do what the organization asked – he clearly wasn’t in the shape they wanted, he didn’t have a good year – so he goes to camp in Michigan, gets in shape, does everything, gets to camp early, then immediately upon camp starting there are shots in the newspaper about Tejada not being in the shape they want. I don’t know that that was the best way to start things with him when he did everything you asked him to do.”
Hernandez: “Look, he’s in the doghouse last year. … If you feel like you’re not liked by the front office, you’re not going to perform up to peak unless you’re a real hard-nosed guy and the attitude has to be: ‘I’ll show those son of a guns, watch me.’ That’s the kind of attitude you’ve got to take.”
Burkhardt: “Here’s the thing, if they don’t think he’s the shortstop, they’ve got to find someone else who is. That’s the bottom line.”
Hernandez: “Well, I don’t think he’s in camp.”
Ojeda: “They’re gonna try Wilmer Flores later on this week. Is there enough time left in camp to make that decision?”
Hernandez: “I don’t know if Flores is gonna have the range. I have to see his arm. I don’t think he’s got the arm from shortstop. We’ll see.”
Wow… That’s pretty telling… In the span of a few minutes, Kevin Burkhardt, Keith Hernandez and Bobby Ojeda covered the whole of the Mets quandary at shortstop.
You’ve got to feel bad for Tejada who is in a very tough spot. It’s amazing to observe how his path has evolved since Sandy Alderson pegged him as the heir apparent to Jose Reyes. It started out as a roar, but it’s clearly at a whimper now.
I wish Terry Collins understood how important it was to play Wilmer Flores at short so that the front office would know what they have already. They still haven’t the slightest clue… Collins obviously doesn’t get it…
I haven’t been the biggest proponent for Stephen Drew, but at this point it might be time for Sandy to pick up the phone, swallow his pride, and make him a two-year offer he can’t refuse.
Do it for the team… Do it for the starting rotation… Do it for Ruben Tejada…
Or perhaps you turn to the West and swing a trade for Nick Franklin even if it might cost you one of the young arms from our prized stable. The reason you build depth is exactly for this reason – to have some trade chips for what your organization needs – and right now there’s a five-alarm blaze at shortstop.
In my opinion, Sandy Alderson started this mess and it’s now on him to clean it up… Grab a broom, Mr. Alderson…
(Photo by Anthony J. Causi)