Published on October 11th, 2013 | by Josh Chapdelaine0
Can the New York Mets Live with Ruben Tejada in 2014?
The New York Mets need upgrades at several position if they wish to sniff contention in the coming years. The below-average production the club received from their shortstops in 2013 was one of the many reasons the club failed to crack .500. Ruben Tejada’s disappointing season earned him a prolonged trip to Las Vegas and a long look at veteran journeyman Omar Quintanilla in Flushing.
Sandy Alderson expressed earlier this year that he didn’t see the 23-year-old shortstop as part of the team’s core. As the rumblings of the Mets search for a shortstop this offseason intensify, is it possible that the club has given up on Tejada all too early?
The Panamanian surprisingly had peripherals that were in line with his career averages except for one outstanding outlier: He connected for line drives just 19.2% of the time compared to his 26.06% career average through 2012. The lazy pop-ups were evident through watching his performance, and combined with his decreased defensive value early in the season it was easy to support his demotion.
Despite Tejada’s decrease in line drives, he swung at only 26.4% of pitches outside of the strike zone, a figure that is nearly identical to his 26.2% career average. The shortstop also made contact at a career-high 88.6% of all pitches he swung at, suggesting that his above-average plate discipline is still intact. The numbers suggest that if Tejada could simply readjust to the swing that made him successful prior to 2013 that he could be a rebound candidate.
It has been suggested by numerous sources that Tejada has conditioning issues that have led some within the organization to question his work ethic. It would be alarming if Tejada had signed a long-term commitment with the club, but considering he is set to commence his age 24 season with no guarantees of playing time, it’s hard to see Tejada showing up without motivation.
At 23-years-old and under control through 2017, it’s difficult to argue that the Mets should give up on him. If the club were to acquire a starting shortstop this offseason, he can prove to be a valuable asset off the bench and can serve as a defensive replacement at both middle infield positions.
The Mets should be actively searching for upgrades at any position available this offseason, but should they fail to find one at shortstop, Tejada is far from a poor option.
Photo Credit: Michael Baron