According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, Mets SS Ruben Tejada is considering filing a grievance against the Mets in regards to his service time. Tejada finished this season one day short of service time to change his free agency eligibility.
That extra day of service time would make Tejada a free agent in 2016 instead of 2017. Now this dispute over one day has impacts across the board. If Tejada wins the grievance, he will hit free agency early and be able to potentially make more money. Also, if he is awarded the extra day, Charlie Furbush of the Seattle Mariners would jump into the pool of the top 22 percent of players who qualify for Super 2 status this winter.
Tejada, who was playing with Triple-A Las Vegas in August, was reported to be a member of the September call-ups. Eight players were called up between Sept. 1st and 9th, including Aaron Harang, Mike Baxter and Vick Black. Tejada, the last of the call-ups, was called up September 10th.
While this isn’t going to make or break the off-season for the Mets, it does have some implications. Most teams try to delay players from achieving arbitration early in an effort to save money. This is a bit different, as the Mets are trying to delay Tejada’s free agency. Now, Tejada still has to file the grievance, and it might be in his best interest to do so.
But this is a hard case to prove. Tejada needs to prove the Mets purposefully and knowingly delayed his service-time. The fact that it was one day short, however, does raise some eyebrows as to the Mets’ motives.
With rumors and reports of Tejada falling out of favor in the front office, it begs the question if the Mets are okay with him being granted the extra day and him being able to leave Flushing a year sooner. Also, Furbush’s eligibility is at stake as well. With Tejada winning, he could be in line for a raise through arbitration. It is an interesting case that may not have a solution for a while, but something to keep an eye on as the Mets look to change who is playing shortstop in 2014.