Depth was to be a Mets’ strong point this year, and it will come into play a lot earlier than anticipated with shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera expected to miss at least two weeks or more and quite possibly the start of the season with a strained patella tendon in his left knee. Ruben Tejada, who lost his job after Cabrera was acquired and recently has been the subject of trade rumors to St. Louis, is suddenly important again.
“Cabrera may not be ready for opening day, and that’s one of the reasons we have the depth on our roster that we have now,” Mets GM Sandy Alderson told reporters Friday. “If he’s ready in three or four weeks, it’s essentially the first week of the season and we’ll be in pretty good shape.”
Cabrera was in New York Friday at the Hospital for Special Surgery to receive a platelet-rich plasma injection. He was injured Thursday when he was running the bases and didn’t slide.
“I was running – with the fly ball to second, and thinking slide,” Cabrera said. “I saw the bad throw, so I tried to stay up. I felt something in my knee. It’s sore right now.”
With Cabrera in the first season of a two-year, $18.5 million contract, the Mets hoped to unload Tejada – who will make $3 million in 2016 – for a prospect before losing him to free-agency next winter.
Timing is everything, and right now it isn’t good for Cabrera. It’s better for Tejada, and it could be good in the long run for the Mets. When Cabrera returns – and there are no setbacks – and if Tejada plays well and proves his leg is sound, it could enhance his trade value.
Manager Terry Collins said that the would use Tejada along with Wilmer Flores and Matt Reynolds at shortstop to replace Cabrera. But Tejada is clearly at the top of the list and the 26-year old infielder says his right leg is fully healed.
“If they give me the opportunity, I will be ready to play every time,” Tejada said. “I come here ready. You never know what happens. If something happens right now and they need me there, I’ll be there.”
It seems like Tejada is always there for the Mets.