With Jose Reyes going on the DL yet again with a strained hamstring, Ruben Tejada was recalled to play shortstop in his place. So far, Tejada has gone 4-12 with two doubles and an RBI in his most recent promotion.
So, this begs the question: Is Ruben Tejada up for good with the Mets?
Well, let’s not jump the gun. Reyes’ injury is not considered that serious and he should return no later than early September. By then, Reyes will resume his duties as the everyday shortstop. With rosters expanding in September, Tejada should also be part of the club until the end of the season.
This post, though, has more to do with how 2012 will shake out. Basically, who will play shortstop for the Mets next year?
A funny (more like not so funny) thing happened in Reyes’ exhilarating MVP-type season, his contract year: He got hurt. Twice.
Of course, this raises major red flags. Sandy Alderson and the Mets have to factor in Reyes’ propensity for getting hurt when approaching him with a contract offer. How many years do the Mets guarantee Reyes, and at what price?
All of these questions have to be addressed. The Mets have to think about contingency plans if some team, somehow, guarantees six or seven years in excess of $100 million to Reyes. If some team offers that kind of deal, then the Mets may have no other choice than to say goodbye to Reyes.
If the Mets were to part ways with Reyes, is Tejada ready to be the everyday starting shortstop going forward?
Internally, there does not seem to be any other logical choice. Prospect Wilmer Flores seems years away from contributing. The free agent market will also likely be barren of any impact players. So if Reyes does leave, it seems like Tejada or bust.
You have to love Tejada’s defense, passion and smarts for the game (excluding last night’s inexplicable baserunning blunder when Tejada did not slide into home on a sacrifice fly), but he’s too limited offensively to get excited about. He’s a good complementary player and not much more than that.
In 396 at-bats with the Mets, Tejada has batted .232 to go along with a career OBP of .322. In that time, Tejada has only 19 extra-base hits (one home run) for an incredibly weak .607 OPS. It’s also not like Tejada offsets his lack of power for speed, as he has only three career stolen bases.
Granted Tejada has a lot of room for improvement and will only get better as he’s only 21-years-old. However, Tejada’s ceiling is limited. I don’t see Tejada being anything more than a Brendan Ryan or a Jamey Carroll type of middle infielder.
Maybe I am underselling Tejada, but I’m really hoping that this becomes moot and that the Mets and Reyes can come to an agreement.
In other words I want Tejada on the Mets, but would not feel comfortable handing him the keys at shortstop long term if Reyes bolts.