Well, after an abysmal start defensively, Tejada (six errors thus far) is causing a lot of headaches for a Mets’ team with little margin for error. Tejada has been the poster boy for bad defense by the Mets. In their first 13 games, the Mets have committed 10 errors-seventh most in the majors. The Mets have also the seventh worst fielding percentage (.973) while possessing the fifth worst UZR (-5.1). And all this is with Daniel Murphy at second base! And no, you can’t blame him anymore!
The most stirring display of shoddy defense from Tejada was in Tuesday’s second game of a doubleheader in Colorado. In the eighth inning with the Mets up 8-6 with runners on second and third and two outs, the Rockies’ Michael Cuddyer hit a routine bouncer to Tejada. It should have been an easy 6-3 ground out, but instead Tejada sailed the throw past Ike Davis and as a result, the two tying runs scored and predictably the Rockies would win in extra innings.
As like any other Mets’ fan, I too am puzzled as to why Tejada is struggling this much. Sure, you can blame some of the recent mishaps to the cold weather the Mets have been playing in, but Tejada is better than that.
For a team that is relying on many contact pitchers (save Matt Harvey), the defense has to be above-average and thus far it has been nothing short of pathetic. They say you are only as strong defensively as you are up the middle. Who knew Tejada would be the liability in this instance?
Mets’ manager Terry Collins stresses fundamentals and with him not getting any reliance from Tejada on this front, when will Collins send a message and sit Tejada?
You see that’s the problem. With Omar Quintanilla in Las Vegas, the Mets really don’t have a suitable back-up shortstop, with Justin Turner only available to help out in a pinch. So, with all of Tejada’s struggles, when do we see Quintanilla get recalled from Vegas? If I’m a betting man (and no, this is not a joke as to where Quintanilla calls home right now), I surmise it will be sooner rather than later.
Some message has to be sent, as the Mets can’t be getting this kind of defensive production from Tejada or the Mets could sink faster than the Titanic. With the Mets off to a decent enough start, why jeopardize it even more with continuously bad defense?
Tejada has proven to be a reliable and trusted defender before and once the weather cooperates, Tejada should settle into a groove. For the time being, though, fundamentals are important and Tejada is turning a blind eye to it.
Tejada has to slow the game down, concentrate and not be so hasty on the field. Eventually, Tejada should turn it around.