ESPN’s Adam Rubin is reporting that the Mets have signed infielder Omar Quintanilla to a minor-league deal. Quintanilla was an emergency call-up last year when Ruben Tejada injured his quadriceps on May 30th at Yankee Stadium. After joining the Mets, Quintanilla hit .222 with a .306 OBP. Over his career (387 major-league games), Quintanilla is a .221 hitter with a .288 OBP. Last year, Quintanilla’s UZR was -4.6, establishing him as a below-average fielder. However, his career UZR is 1.0, suggesting that he has been an average fielder over his career.
Sep 10, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Mets shortstop Omar Quintanilla (3) backhands a ground ball against the Washington Nationals during the fifth inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
There seems to be a bit of a negative over-reaction among the faithful to this signing. The reality of it is that the Mets do not currently have a backup utility infielder (with the release of Justin Turner). Quintanilla is on a minor-league deal, so he is not assured of a roster spot. In addition, Quintanilla’s average and OBP last year were better than those of Ruben Tejada, who posted a .202/.259 respectively.
The signing of Quintanilla could mean that the Mets are set to go with Tejada as their starting shortstop, and are considering Quintanilla for the backup role. Alternatively, it could mean that the Mets are involved in trade talks concerning Tejada, plan to bring in a new shortstop, and use Quintanilla as a reserve infielder. Another possibility is that the Mets bring in a quality shortstop, demote Tejada to the reserve role, and keep Quintanilla in Las Vegas to serve as depth for the position.
In any case, the Mets had to address their need for a reserve middle infielder, and may have done so by bringing Quintanilla back. There’s nothing stopping the Mets from continuing to look for infield depth, via trade or free agency.