Could Ruben Tejada be the Opening Day second baseman?

By Shawn Jindal

Daniel Murphy will likely start the season on the disabled list. When asked about his replacement, Terry Collins replied, “[Ruben Tejada] played very well there a couple of years ago, so I don’t know why he shouldn’t be one of the lead candidates. But we’ve got a long way to go before we worry about that.”

Tejada currently projects as the Mets’ utility infielder. He is coming off a pedestrian offensive season, posting an 89 wRC+ in 119 games. The Mets organization has expressed public disappointment with Tejada in the past. In Steve Kettman’s Baseball Maverick, Sandy Alderson refers to Tejada as a “placeholder,” rather than a “long-term guy.”

If Tejada starts at second base, the Mets must choose an alternative utility infielder. The candidates would likely include minor leaguers Matt Reynolds, Daniel Muno and Wilfredo Tovar. Eric Campbell has also gotten playing time at every infield position.

Reynolds and Muno have also been discussed as options to start at second base. Dilson Herrera was recently demoted to minor league camp and is not being considered.


Collins’ comments embody the typical gaps in logic that we’ve come to expect from him. While Ruben Tejada has failed to seize his opportunities to start, he does have the necessary tools to be a serviceable utility man. Giving him time as a starter makes little sense when considering his low ceiling. Why even say he has a chance to get the job? Earlier in the spring, Collins claimed Tejada was a candidate to be the starting shortstop, although this was clearly untrue. From here on out, reps at second base should be going to Reynolds and Muno, the only two logical candidates for the position.

The fan favorite is clearly Matt Reynolds, who is considered the Mets’ plan B in case Flores falters at shortstop. Reynolds has had a very strong spring, hitting .423 with a home run in 26 at-bats coming into Sunday. Muno is not the same caliber prospect that Reynolds is, but he has also raked this spring: he’s hitting .400 with a double and two walks in 30 at-bats. Muno fits into the Sandy Alderson mold of offensive player: strong plate discipline with power. He has walked at over a 15% rate in 384 minor league games with 31 home runs. These numbers don’t mean much, but they give you an idea of the kind of hitter Muno is. Starting Muno would allow Reynolds to play SS everyday in AAA.

Assuming Murphy’s injury forces him to miss only a week or two of the season, either Reynolds or Muno would be far greater options than Tejada. They would likely provide comparable production, and facing major league pitching everyday wouldn’t hurt their development. Neither of them are likely to stick at second base with the Mets long-term, regardless.

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