In the early parts of the season, it was Tejada’s defense that had some fans nervous, but since May and perhaps with the temperature rising, Tejada’s glove has been steady ever since. No, we’re here to talk about his offense.
Just like Davis, Tejada has been a shell of his former self.
For the last couple of years, Tejada proved to be a steady bat. While he is no world beater, Tejada was more than adequate, hitting .289 last year and a .284 in 2011. Tejada was also solid at getting on base, as he had a .360 on base percentage last year and a .333 mark in 2011.
However, just like most of the Mets, Tejada is immersed in a prolonged slump to start the 2013 season—even going all the way back to the beginning of spring training. Thus far, Tejada is only spotting a measly .217/.287/.280 slash line with just nine doubles and 10 RBI’s (Side note, it’s quite sad that Tejada has more RBI’s than Davis).
A problem for Tejada is his dip in line drive percentage.
Tejada is not hitting line drives at the rate he was in the last couple of years. In his first three years in the majors, Tejada incrementally boosted his line drive rates from 22 percent in his rookie year to a healthy 27 percent last year. This year Tejada’s line drive rate has dipped to just 20 percent. It seems Tejada is getting under the ball and flying out way too much (this particularly gets under the skin of Keith Hernandez). His .254 BABIP is also not doing him any favors either.
The thing with Tejada is that it is very hard to sit him due to the lack of options behind him. In fact, the Mets don’t really have a suitable backup to play shortstop, as Justin Turner can only play there in a pinch.
So this begs the question, when do the Mets make a play to call up Omar Quintanilla from Las Vegas?
I’d say it’s time that Quintanilla gets the call for the sole purpose of lighting a fire under Tejada. The message being that if Tejada doesn’t get his act in gear, he may see more time on the bench. Even on his own merits, Quintanilla is worthy of being recalled. Quintanilla is a solid stop-gap shortstop with a good glove who did enjoy some moderate success with the club last year.
Of course, Quintanilla is not the future at short for the Mets. But for the time being, a message has to be sent to Tejada. He has to start playing like he did the last two years or he could be looking at a reduced role.