Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
Ruben Tejada was not bothered by hot stove talk about free-agent SS Stephen Drew, nor was he upset about the team’s criticism of his work, he told reporters in St. Lucie on Monday.
“I don’t think anything about that,” Tejada said. “I think only about my preparation, to come here and do my job. I pay attention only to me.”
Tejada is 24 years old. He’s had two decent seasons. He hit just .202 last year. In his best season, 2012, he still had below-average production when compared to other starting shortstops. He’s not an All-Star…
Yes, the Mets have spent the better part of the last year talking negatively about Tejada, mostly because they claim he showed up to camp last year out of shape. So what? Why is pushing him in public a bad thing?
OK, so maybe they look a tad foolish having to go back to him as an every-day player, but that’s only embarrassing if he continues to struggle. It’s popular in media to goof on the team now having to ‘sell us on Tejada,’ but what if, with new dedication and athletic training, he can exceed expectations? Then what? The story will likely then pivot to one of motivation instead of embarrassment.
These guys are professional baseball players. They earn what they get through performance, dedication and hustle. Why Tejada and not someone else? I don’t know. But, I’m told by people who know him that Tejada is a tough, smart kid with a good sense of humor. He should take it personally, and I hope it helps motivate him.
Tejada’s got the potential to be a good middle infielder, capable of doing a lot of little things to help the team win. So, keep pushing him, Mets, he has a lot to prove and you have nothing to lose…