Terry Collins says Ruben Tejada will compete for shortstop job
Despite the fact that Sandy Alderson audibly laughed at the idea in December, Mets manager Terry Collins said on Sunday that Ruben Tejada will be in an “open competition” with Wilmer Flores for the starting shortstop job.
While noting that Tejada will play only shortstop – not second base – early during Spring Training, Collins said the following:
"I’m not saying that Wilmer Flores won’t be the shortstop. I’m not saying that. Alls is I’m saying is that I’m giving this other guy a chance."
After stating after the Michael Cuddyer signing that upgrading shortstop was next on the agenda, Alderson failed to find a replacement for Flores, later saying that his refusal to deal Noah Syndergaard was a large impediment when it came to finding a potential trade partner.
Tejada, 25, hit .237/.342/.310 in 2014 with 11 doubles, no triples and 5 home runs, losing his job to Flores during the season. After losing the starting job, Tejada was still shuffled into the lineup periodically by Collins.
The first thing to note here is that no matter what Collins says as it pertains to who the shortstop will be, the decision will be made by Alderson.
So, why are Collins’ comments an issue?
For one, it could signal a disconnect between Collins and the front office, though stuff like that is common and not really worrisome.
The large issue is that if Alderson doesn’t step in and Collins stays true to his word, Tejada could cost Flores reps at shortstop during Spring Training.
Flores played in winter ball, making seven errors while there. For a player who most scouts doubt can adequately handle shortstop but who is slated to be the starter for a contending team, Flores should be getting as much work there as possible during the spring.
If Collins is intent on splitting time between Tejada and Flores – and Sunday’s comments indicate that he is – that would potentially be a huge detriment to what the Mets are trying to do as far as getting Flores completely comfortable at shortstop.
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