Mets should DFA Ruben Tejada, promote Wilfredo Tovar

By Danny Abriano

The Mets aren’t ready to pull the plug on Wilmer Flores as the starting shortstop, but there’s something they can do to that will help take the pressure off Flores while giving them a potential late-inning replacement: DFA Ruben Tejada and promote Wilfredo Tovar.

No, this isn’t a reaction to Tovar’s recent two home run game. Tovar remains an all-glove, no-hit type of player. But he’s the kind of player the Mets can use on the bench while Flores is the starter at shortstop.

As long as Flores remains the starter, the presence of Tejada is quite pointless. And if the Mets make the switch to Matt Reynolds – viewed as a better defender than Flores but still not ideal for shortstop – the same thing will hold true.

In Tejada, the Mets have a player who Terry Collins turned to when Flores needed a break, but whose presence on the bench doesn’t offer much. Tejada has hit .167/.259/.250 so far this season while playing mostly in a reserve role. Tejada is also a player whose chances to start again for the Mets on a regular basis were mocked by Sandy Alderson during the offseason.

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Tejada doesn’t hit for power, he doesn’t have any speed, he isn’t particularly fundamentally sound, and he isn’t a plus defender.

While Tovar also won’t hit for power and isn’t viewed as a player who will hit much at all, he offers more speed than Tejada. Tovar has stolen roughly 12 bases per season while advancing through the minors, and he’s already stolen seven bases in 2015. Most importantly, though, Tovar is a tremendous defensive shortstop.

Aside from Luis Guillorme, who is currently playing with Low-A Savannah, Tovar is viewed as the best defensive shortstop in the entire Mets system.

Even if Wilmer Flores starts making every routine play, his lack of range will still be an issue, but it’s one that can be plugged by Tovar in the late innings if the Mets drop Tejada and make the call.

It will be a bit surprising if the Mets DFA Tejada, likely eating the remainder of the $1.9 million he’s owed this season. However, in a season where the Mets have been aggressive to make changes, swapping Tejada out for Tovar should be something that’s on their list.