In today’s edition of the Mets Season-in-Review, we take a look at a man who in 2012 became a Mets legend: Omar Quintanilla, aka “Q.”
“WHOA, WHOA, WHOA, WHOA, WHOA.” You say?
“Why on God’s green earth would you refer to Omar Quintanilla as a ‘legendary Met?!'”
Well, let’s skip to 20 years down the road…….some random trivia pops up, and the question is stated as such: “Who was the starting shortstop for the Mets the night Johan Santana threw the franchise’s first no-hitter?” Well, folks the answer to that question is Omar Quintanilla. And us Mets fans love the moments, so in similar fashion to the way children of the 70’s remember Mickey Lolich, or Álex Treviño, or Nino Espinosa, Mets fans will remember Omar Quintanilla, and he’s MUCH MORE of a Mets legend than any of those names I just mentioned (I probably could have found names from the 70’s with better “moments” than those guys, but then again, that’s a lot of Nino Espinosa memories…)
Anyway, we are not here to relive those…echem…glorious Mets days of the late-70’s. We are here to discuss the Mets legend that is Q.
After going 2-4 with a run scored on that fateful night of June 1, 2012, the Mets had a roster crunch in July and reluctantly had to try to move Quintanilla through waivers, which did not occur. Baltimore grabbed him off the wire, and he played a solid utility role for them in their push toward the 2012 playoffs. The Mets were plenty happy to sign the scrappy shortstop back up for depth in January, and as it turned out, they needed him more than they ever thought they would.
How He Handled the Bat:
Ruben Tejada went down with the quadriceps injury against the Yankees on May 29, and Q made his season-debut on May 30, grabbing a walk and a run scored in that game. As he did in 2012, Omar got out of the gate hot, going 2-4, 2-3, 3-5, and 2-3 in the 4 games thereafter before predictably cooling off as he gained more exposure. For the season, he appeared at the plate 359 times, 315 of which were ABs. He hit .222 with 2 HR and 21 RBI, walking 38 times, 7 of which were intentional given he was in the 8-hole most of the time. That walk total got his OBP up to .306, but his power left much to be desired at a .283 slugging clip.
How He Handled the Glove:
Let’s first go to the “video”tape…
There are loads and loads of those clips. This season, Omar Quintanilla was his own highlight reel up the middle of the Mets infield. I remember, though, that his prolific defense all of a sudden waned, and one can only speculate as to why that was. That stretch in the middle of the season left him with 8 errors by the end of the year and a .978 fielding percentage, as well as -8 defensive runs saved. He was a part of 40 double plays, however, including the one below…
Projected Role in 2014:
No matter how much I sing the praises of the Q, I am realistic in agreeing that it’s time the…Omar Quintanilla era was over. With Ruben Tejada’s status up in the air, the Mets might go outside the organization for a starting shortstop. The position’s depth down on the farm will continue to grow as well, plus Wilfredo Tovar kind of profiles as a Quintanilla type. I believe the Mets will agree with me, though Q may still be signed back up for depth. Expect, however, for the shortstop to be on another roster come spring training.
Contract Status and Trade Rumors:
First of all, he is a free agent. And in terms of trade rumors…I’m fairly certain no team is calling the Mets and saying, “Give me Omar Quintanilla or the trade is dead.”
So with that, we most likely will bid farewell to the Q-man.
Omar, you had me at…
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