So it looks imminent the Mets will be replacing GM Omar Minaya and Manager Jerry Manuel when the season is over. Once the new GM is hired, he will have a lot of work to do along with some interesting decisions to make in regards to the makeup of the 2011 Mets.
While it may be way down on the list of priorities, the Mets sill have to figure out who their second baseman will be? And can they get rid of Luis Castillo?
Whether or not they get rid of Castillo, the real question is, can Ruben Tejada be the everyday starter next year?
You certainly have to love Tejada’s defense. The kid has poise on the field and is sure handed with his glove. On defense, the 20-year-old Tejada looks like a 10-year vet
However, can the Mets live with his offense?
Prior to Sunday’s game, Tejada was batting just a paltry .205/.295/.272. However, Tejada has been batting quite well down the stretch.
In his last 28 games, Tejada is batting .291. Tejada had a walk-off two-run RBI double off Milwaukee’s closer John Axford on Tuesday night. The homegrown Tejada is giving Mets fans some pleasure as the season mercifully comes to an end.
Is Tejada finally figuring out major league pitchers or is this just a fluky mirage?
I think the answer lies in the middle. Tejada will not likely ever be a .300 type hitter, but he’s definitely someone who will hit way better than just above the Mendoza line.
What kind of average can the Mets absorb from Tejada? SNY analyst Keith Hernandez believes that they can afford to live with a .260-type average. If that is the case, than expect the Mets to stick with Tejada next year. Tejada is gaining a lot of confidence as the season winds down, and the hope is that it should carryover into the 2011 season. Hitting .260 is well within reach for Tejada.
Tejada has a limited ceiling offensively, as he’ll never hit home runs or become a run producer, but he could give you a .260-.270 average yearly to go with his outstanding defense.
Sure the Mets could look to get a second baseman off the free agent market like a Jose Lopez (who has a 2011 option) or take on a contract like Chone Figgins in a trade. But, with the Mets tied up with the contracts of Castillo, Oliver Perez, Carlos Beltran and Francisco Rodriguez they will likely trim payroll.
The next GM will have some tough moves to make, but keeping Tejada around as next year’s second baseman seems like a logical move at this point. Tejada is not going back to the minors, and even if the Mets still can’t trade Castillo they’ll likely cut bait with him some way or another.
Castillo is a major headache right now. He’s aging and does not fit in with the rebuilding plans the Mets will have. Castillo wants out and all of New York wants him out too.
So, with Castillo having one foot out the door and no great options at second base in the free agent market, it looks like Tejada is the future at the position.