New York Mets News

Mets operating without a backup shortstop – a problem on many levels

By Danny Abriano

With the demotion of Wilmer Flores to Triple-A Las Vegas on Wednesday, the Mets are left with one shortstop on the 25-man roster and six (or seven) outfielders – depending on what you consider Eric Campbell to be.

Jun 16, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; New York Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada (11) fields a ground ball hit by St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Jhonny Peralta (not pictured) during the fourth inning at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The issue isn’t that Flores was sent down.

When you have a 22-year-old player with upside who’s nailed to the bench, it’s wise to send him down so he can play regularly.

Rather, the issue is that the Mets are bereft of shortstops throughout the organization – paving the way for a 25-man roster like the one the Mets currently have.

The only backup shortstop option close to contributing is Wilfredo Tovar, an all-glove, no-hit shortstop who’s currently on the minor league disabled list.

Without a backup to turn to, beginning Thursday and continuing indefinitely, the Mets will likely be starting Ruben Tejada every day at shortstop. Not because he’s performed very well, but because he’s their only option.

If Tejada were to injure himself during a game, the Mets would have to turn to either Eric Campbell (who has never played shortstop in the majors) or – in a true emergency – David Wright.

Even if Tejada remains healthy, playing without a true backup shortstop severely limits the Mets’ in-game maneuverability. Basically, if there’s a late-game situation where the Mets need a fly ball and Tejada is up, they would likely be precluded from pinch hitting for him.

In a situation where a double switch is necessary and Tejada was the last batter up, removing him would likely not be an option.

Despite all of that, the Mets will play without a backup shortstop – a problem that may not be solved until they upgrade shortstop from outside the organization.