According to Mets manager Terry Collins, shortstop Ruben Tejada, who had been with AAA Las Vegas until their season ended last night, will be called up as soon as tomorrow. Mike Baxter and catcher Juan Centeno are also expected to join the Mets at that time.
Tejada, who hasn’t appeared in a major league game since May 29th, has fallen out of favor with the front office. Instead of giving Tejada the call once he was healthy, the Mets decided to keep him in Las Vegas while continuing to run out Omar Quintanilla at shortstop.
A few days ago, during an appearance with Mike Francesa on WFAN, general manager Sandy Alderson shed some light on what was keeping Tejada from re-joining the club:
One of the problems with Ruben is it’s like pulling teeth. Extra batting practice, extra this, extra that. It just doesn’t happen necessarily unless somebody else is insisting on it. That’s what we need to see. We need to see a commitment to improvement. He’s very young…now he’s been put in a position where he has to earn it.
The above quote is the second time Tejada has been portrayed as lazy by the Mets. The first, was when he failed to report to spring training early in 2012, and subsequently landed in Terry Collins’ doghouse.
Tejada is very young – still just 23 years old. However, it’s seeming more and more as if he isn’t in the team’s long term plans. Tejada hit .284 with a .360 OBP in 2011, .289 with a .333 OBP in 2012, and .209 with a .267 OBP this season.
In addition to his regression at the plate, Tejada also made tons of physical and mental mistakes at shortstop this year before dealing with an injury and his demotion to AAA.
It’s difficult to imagine Tejada as this team’s starting shortstop in 2014, but with no shortstops in the minor leagues close to ready, the Mets may tender Tejada a contract (he’s arbitration eligible) with the plan of utilizing him as a bench piece.
The Mets have lots of money to spend this winter if they so choose, but their most glaring needs are in the outfield. Additionally, if Matt Harvey is out for the season, the team (according to Alderson) would allocate dollars to a solid starting pitcher as well.
That leaves the shortstop situation in flux. Omar Quintanilla isn’t the answer, and according to the club, neither is Ruben Tejada. It’ll be interesting to see if the Mets have interest in signing a player such as Stephen Drew, or if they attempt to remedy the shortstop issue via trade.