Although he ended the Mets furious rally against Craig Kimbrel and the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday night with a strikeout, it’s time we put aside our prejudices and  applaud Ruben Tejada for providing solid play at shortstop out of the gate.

Sure, Tejada is no world beater, but who said he had to be? It’s not like he’s been awful to start the season.

After Wednesday night’s o-fer, Tejada is now batting .240 to go along with a solid .345 OBP and meager .280 slugging percentage. Again, nothing earth shattering, but not abysmal either.

All offseason and into the spring, the Mets searched far and wide and made their intentions known that they were in the market for a new shortstop for 2014. It couldn’t have been more obvious. They courted Jhonny Peralta hard, but he went on to sign with the St. Louis Cardinals. They have also been involved in talks with the Arizona Diamondbacks (for either Didi Gregorius or Chris Owings) and the Seattle Mariners (for either Brad Miller or moreover Nick Franklin) regarding their surplus at the shortstop position.

The Mets have even kept tabs on free agent Stephen Drew, but he unfathomably is still unsigned.

Alas, noting came to fruition in the offseason and for a matter of speaking, the Mets were basically stuck with Tejada. That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement, yet that is where the Mets and Tejada stand today.

A lot of people in the Mets organization have bee put off by Tejada’s perceived lack of hustle and determination to get better. Many believe his work ethic is second rate and that he rarely plays the game with the passion you want from a shortstop.

With all the people (including fans) that don’t want him being the Mets shortstop, Tejada is not playing all that bad in the face or major adversity. He’s been ok at the bottom of the lineup and is playing solid defense in the field.

When you’re basically persona non grata, it’s hard to do your job and do so effectively. But credit Tejada for making the most of his opportunity this season.

That said, how much time does Tejada have left with the Mets?

If Tejada ever goes into a prolonged slump (as he’s destined to do), those clamoring for a new shortstop will consume Queens. Writers will write about it, bloggers will blog about it and fans will make their presence known on social media that Tejada is not cutting it. They will make it tough on Tejada—as if it hasn’t been bad enough—to succeed in New York.

Will Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson cave into pressure and ultimately sign Drew or reengage in talks with the Diamondbacks and the Mariners?

That remains to be seen.

The consensus opinion, though, is that Tejada is not long for the Mets and maybe a spit is indeed in the future. But for the time being, Tejada is making the most of a sticky situation and not being a complete mes out on the field.

Follow me on Twitter @Stacdemon

7 comments on “Ruben Tejada making most of his opportunity

  • John Zakour

    It’s kind of a sad day for a franchise when the best thing we can say about the starting shortstop is, he hasn’t been “a complete mess…”

  • Eric

    Peralta, J STL SS 9 29 3 2 0 0 2 4 5 6 0 0 .069 .206 .276 .482
    Miller, B SEA SS 8 36 5 7 2 0 2 5 1 13 0 0 .194 .216 .417 .633

    Owings is off to a good start, but those numbers above offer some perspective as well.

  • Patrick Albanesius

    He seems to be popping out a lot less. Keep up the good defense and driving those singles, and you’ll be fine Ruben.

  • Name

    For me, i have to question Stephen’s Drew passion for the game. I understand baseball is a business first and foremost, but someone who truly loves the game would appreciate that they get to play baseballwillingly sit out meaningful games. Trying to wait out in Spring Training is OK; they’re exhibition games. But missing regular season games? $9.5 million (the rumored offer at some point to Drew) is not chump change. I have more respect for guys like Cruz, Santana who swallowed a reality pill and took less money than they wanted to continue playing.

    As for Tejada, I think he’s exceeded most fans expectations, which was very low to begin with. Like many Mets early this season, he’s striking out way too much. However, he’s also had an elevated walk rate so far to balance that out (although some of them i consider gifted such as this Sunday when Tejada was trying to sacrifice bunt but the Reds closer couldn’t throw a strike)

  • Mark

    I have to respectfully disagree. I would have loved to see Tejada do well but the reality is that he has muffed just about every double play chance he has had. If he can’t provide solid defense then he can’t play. As much as I am not a Stephen Drew fan I think the Mets need to bite the bullet and sign him to a one, two, or three year deal to solidify the defense from shortstop. As Drew is often injured I am sure that Tejada can be a super sub. Murphy has played horrible defense thus far but I for one am giving him a pass at least for the first week or so as I am sure that he didn’t get a lot of sleep after his baby was born and his attention is probably still fairly divided. If the Mets are going to build around their starting pitching then good defensive players must be procured. Sign Drew, give Ike first base, tell Lagares he is centerfielder, and hope that Puello is up by sometime in July so then will have starting outfield of Puello, Lagares, and Granderson playing together for the next four years.

  • eraff

    Below is a list of 2013 Short Stops ranked by OBP.

    This list has players with QUALIFYING AB’s— there are 18 players. Ruben would rank at 16 of the 18 guys who’ve earned Every Day Status.

    Ruben was not on the list… he was not good enough to play every day????

    To say he’s doing ok or “making the most of his chances”…well… it sort of recognizes what he Is… and that’s fine. But he is a bad starting Short Stop—very simple.

  • Jeremiah Clifford

    Reubin tejada is not making the grade and realistically he not going to. This is not a differicult equation. I don’t know why people though that his playing winter ball would do anything to improve him. He played a hundred and sixty-two summer games and that didn’t help. His defense is unacceptable. I don’t think that I’ve seen a game where he didn’t make an error and his batting average has to be at least 280 before it can even be consider respectable. although I conceed he is trying and that has been reflected in his plate apperances.

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