What will Ruben Tejada’s role with the Mets be?

tejadaWhile he is not lighting the world on fire in Las Vegas, eventually Ruben Tejada will be called backed up to the majors when rosters expand in September. From there, what kind of role can we expect of Tejada once he arrives?

Obviously, nothing should be handed to Tejada, as he has been horrible from the get go this season. He has struggled mightily in both Las Vegas and in the majors. With the Mets, Tejada has posted a measly .209/.267/.262  slash line, while in Vegas, it isn’t that much better: .267/ .267/.262

However, do the Mets really consider current shortstop Omar Quintanilla part of the future? Probably not. It actually is a position the Mets will probably want to upgrade in the offseason, as both Tejada and Quintanilla are clearly not cutting it, at least from an offensive perspective.

So, with both players struggling, and with no other great options in the minors, it seems at the very least that Terry Collins should go with a platoon.

While Collins has expressed his love for Quintanilla on many occasions, it’s not like Quintanilla is thriving in this spot, as he too has a weak .225/.311./.293 slash line. Is Quintanilla’s defense that much better, that when Tejada comes up, Tejada should still sit the majority of games?

Chew on this. Quintanilla is 32, while Tejada is 23.

With that said, why should a guy (Quintanilla), who is only doing marginally better than what Tejada did earlier in the year—and is nine years older—being given this much preference?

Again, Tejada may not be the future either, and he does have to earn his playing time. But given the fact that Tejada is much younger, he should at least be a given a fair chance at playing time in September. This way it will give the Mets a better grasp on whether or not Tejada can be part of the Mets’ future.

Quintanilla should be commended for giving this team a spark when he was initially called up, as he was clearly a better option at the time over Tejada, but whatever luster there was, it has since worn off.

September should be the time Tejada is given one, final hard look to see if he can be the Mets starting shortstop for 2014. If he fails, then it’s clear the Mets have to look outside the organization for help.

15 comments for “What will Ruben Tejada’s role with the Mets be?

  1. eric
    August 24, 2013 at 8:16 am

    We’re about a month overdue for providing Tejada a Long Re-Look. I take the position that I’d be OK IF Quintanilla is our SS next year (Given the otehr Major needs being filled)—however, Tejada should get a long look NOW. It’s a losing season…they have some freedom to play guys who might be able to define themselves—-or to FAIL and move on.

    Tejada at Vegas erodes his value and it is a miss on the value of this last stretch….which is the last losing stretch(Hopefully).

  2. NormE
    August 24, 2013 at 8:18 am

    Based on what Tejada has shown us, his future with the Mets ( if he has one) should be as a back-up. So I don’t really care what the Mets do with him in Sept. Fixing the hole at SS is as much a priority in the off-season as is finding good stick for the OF. If Tejada or Quintanilla is the starting SS in 2014 it will signify a major failure on Alderson’s part.

  3. Metsense
    August 24, 2013 at 8:27 am

    Quintinilla is not the future but neither is Tejada. Tejada’s best year was 2011 and he has regressed since. The Mets must upgrade to a better than average hitting and fielding SS to offset the below average offense that should be expected from Lagares. Hopefully Lagares proves me wrong but you can’t rely on hope to build a contender. Instead you have to expect the acceptable “bottom line” and build from there. Peralta is the only free agent SS that profiles this way but he has biogenises background. The Mets may need to trade and Chris Owings the Arizona prospect would be a good target. SS maybe the second biggest hole to fill after RF this off season.

    • Chris F
      August 24, 2013 at 10:03 am

      Metsense, I pretty much agree, although if RT could come up with 2011 (or last year) on most fronts as well as boost OBP, I could live with it. I thought his ceiling on defense was ver high even if the bat was never going to be. What has been a disappointment to me is that his floor has dropped so far. It makes him a bigger unknown than we thought. SS is becoming a genuine issue to be sure. I just wish 1B looked more certain.

    • Jerry Grote
      August 24, 2013 at 10:21 am

      Agree on Owings, if you can shake that loose, and the requirement to get a bat to offset Lagares.

      Not so sure on Tejada though. Maybe the best he’ll ever be is a .660-.690 OPS, average defender. That’s valuable in the context of a plus-plus bat at 3B, C (hopefully).

      I’d also float out Starlin Castro as a name. $60M/7years from here, and before this year an established 3 WAR player. A guy that gives you 150-160 games. Some weakness (!) in the field. The Cubbies have their replacement now holding down LF.

      Get the Cubs to carry just a little of that weight (not that they’d need to), and you have a 24 year old SS that has already lead the league in hits, for maybe $7-8MM a year. I’d bet that guy costs you something on the order of Montero and Murphy.

      • Chris F
        August 24, 2013 at 2:11 pm

        Castro worries me JG. His mental lapses in the field are huge. In the Dodgers series, I think, he caught a fly in short left and paying no attention to the game couldn’t recall the outs and with his head down the runner tagged from 3rd to score…only 1 out. I went to a reds game earlier this summer v the cubs…he’s the last guy off the field every inning, last guy back on. Looks like he’s moving in slow motion and clearly with an unwarranted attitude…I’m thinking “Starlin Valdespin.” If the Cubs let him go I wouldn’t be surprised in the least. I don’t want him at all.

        Owings on the other hand….lets see how to make that happen.

  4. August 24, 2013 at 8:51 am

    Personally I would rather see the Mets upgrade both second base and shortstop. Pitching and defense win games. The Mets are playing with two Rovers instead of a second baseman and shortstop at this point. Quintanilla and Murphy play way too deep. This of course is problematic for the Flores at second base supporters as well. Mets need to explore trade for one of Aybar, Reyes, Andrus for shortstop and perhaps move Eric Young, Jr. back to second base if he can provide good defense at second base. I still say the Mets should try to flip Tejada for Danny Espinosa of the Nationals and just put him at Binghamton with hitting coach Luis Natera (I think I’ve got that name right) who has done wonders with the swings of Puello and Vaughn among others and see if they can resurrect his career. Did Espinosa ever get the shoulder surgery that he supposedly needed? Anyway, he has great range and is an excellent shortstop and definitely worth a gamble. Also really like Dbacks phenom at short that is blocked by Gregorius.

    • August 24, 2013 at 8:53 am

      Chris Owings is Dbacks prospect I was referring too.

  5. Sean Flattery
    August 24, 2013 at 9:32 am

    I think TC doesn’t like Tejada personally. I still think he deserves a chance to play. He had his first real extended string of failure this year. Let’s see how he responds with playing time, I mean he’s still really young.

    As for outside help…Look around the league, its not as if shortstops are killin it with the bats. The grass always seems greener elsewhere. Also, do you think Texas fans are really happy that they gave over 100 million dollars to a .255 hitter with zero power to Andrus. Shortstop is low priority for this team, defense, .270 BA with extra base pop will suffice, lets hope Rubin can do that again

    • Jerry Grote
      August 24, 2013 at 10:05 am

      +1 Sean. I honestly think pursuing a SS is a waste of resources. There’s maybe, *maybe* five good SS in the entire league worth having. They completely skew a normal distribution.

      Bottom line: we had *that guy*. To get him back again would cost a fortune one way or the other. Focus on what you can change. As a great coach once said – “Never let what you can’t be, stop you from being what you can be.”

  6. Name
    August 24, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    I know Chris Waledin would know this, but does Tejada have any options left next year? I thought a player had 3 option years, and to my knowledge this is his 3rd year. But I do know there are instances where player can get a 4th year. Someone enlighten me!

    • August 24, 2013 at 1:41 pm

      Here’s the link to the options page on Chris’ site. http://tpgmets.blogspot.com/p/options.html

      If I’m reading it correctly, looks like Tejada had one remaing at the beginning of 2013 and the Mets burned it.

      • Name
        August 24, 2013 at 7:36 pm

        Thanks. So it looks like the Mets have to decide in the offseason whether they want to tender him a contract too, as he’ll be arbitration eligible. Perhaps keeping in the minors would give him more leverage in negotiations(although one can argue the few pennys saved is not worth the hinder in development)

        If he survives the offseason, he’ll have a backup job guaranteed.

  7. August 24, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    A litte while ago I wrote that I felt Tejada should have been the starting SS when he returned from injury. The Mets felt differently. After his performance in Vegas since then, I they made the right decision. He has the youth thing going for him, and readers may know that I am all about “letting the kids play,” but he’s really not justifying that right now.

  8. JimO
    August 24, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    I had been working on an article about Quintanilla; here some extracts from it:

    Prior to today, he had 2 HRs, 18 RBIs and 1 SB. His overall slash line stood at .225/.313/.293. He’s been a groundball machine, hitting them 54% of the time (19% line drives and flyballs 27%).

    Earlier this month, Terry Collins responded to questions regarding Omar’s future by saying, “all he does is make plays (like that) night after night. You look at his batting average and it’s not what he’d like it to be. But he’s on base 33 percent of the time and he’s done a really good job.”

    Is he part of the team’s future? He’s thirty-one years old. He does have some position flexibility; he played thirty-two games at second base for the Baltimore Orioles last year. Is that any of value to the Mets? Don’t we already have enough players who can play second?

    What about fielding? This year, he has a .972 fielding percentage. His UZR rating stands at -5.9; that puts him near the bottom of the FanGraph’s shortstop defensive rankings (only Miami’s Adeiny Hechavarria at -6.8 and Cleveland’s Asdrubal Cabrera at -9.9) have lower ratings.

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