Tejada was released by the Mets earlier this week
Tejada would’ve made $3 million had the Mets kept him, and they saved $2.5 million by releasing him at least 15 days before Opening Day, which is on April 3.
It’s likely that infielder Matt Reynolds will take the bench spot vacated by Tejada.
In the minors, the Mets have shortstop Gavin Cecchini and second baseman Dilson Herrera set to open the season in Triple-A, and they’ll be available if the Mets need reinforcements in the middle infield during the season.
Tejada is a career .255/.330/.323 hitter with very little power or speed who can play solid defense at shortstop. And he’s only really valuable as someone who can fill in at shortstop or second base — two positions where the Mets have plenty of depth.
And though Tejada is a useful bench player or a solid temporary starter for a team in need, the Mets simply didn’t have a need to keep him. And that’s why the reactions from some today have seemed a bit over the top.
A few examples:
@greg_prince a guy Mets fans thought wasn’t good enough for their bench is good enough to start for St. Louis. Maybe he’s not so bad?
— Dan Haefeli (@danhaefeli) March 19, 2016
It’s $1.5 million for Tejada, and Mets have have helped a team they are competing with for a playoff spot.
— Matt Ehalt (@MattEhalt) March 19, 2016
First, to Dan’s claim that Mets fans thought Tejada wasn’t good enough for their bench…
While some fans might have had that thought, the vast majority see this not as a slight on Tejada, but as a simple roster machination.
This isn’t an anti-Tejada thing on the part of the Mets or the fans. It’s a pro-logic thing. The Mets didn’t need Tejada, another team did. The end.
And as far as Ehalt’s claim that the Mets have “helped” a team they’re competing with for a playoff spot? That’s true on the surface. But using that logic, should there now be a moratorium on contending teams letting go of any player who can potentially help another contending team?
It’s also ironic that some of the same writers who insinuated the Mets were being negligent by not adding a shortstop to replace Tejada (or Flores) prior to the 2015 season are now singing his praises.
Ruben Tejada was a serviceable player for most of his time with the Mets, and the takeout ‘slide’ by Chase Utley that broke Tejada’s leg during Game 2 of the NLDS endeared him to most in the fanbase.
But baseball is a business. And it was a smart business move for the Mets to let Tejada go. If he succeeds with the Cardinals, so be it. But in this instance and most others, the Mets should be concerned about their own team, not one in the N.L. Central.