Andrew Wharton, Contributor
Ruben Tejada had a poor start to his season with the Mets, hitting just .209 with a .267 OBP over 50 games. There was lots of talk about demoting Tejada before he landed on the DL with an injury. When he was healthy, instead of bringing him back to the big club, the Mets optioned him to Triple-A, where he’s been ever since.
In 48 games with Las Vegas, the 23-year-old Tejada is hitting .272 with a .319 OBP. Over his last 10 games, Tejada is hitting .326 with a .340 OBP, with two doubles and nine RBI, so scratch “lack of performance” off the list of reasons to keep him in the minor leagues.
Meanwhile, with the Mets, Tejada’s replacement, Omar Quintanilla, is hitting .225 with a .311 OBP.
The 31-year-old journeyman has posted a -0.7 WAR in 72 games. Tejada posted a -0.8 WAR in his 50 games.
Tejada is a better hitter and fielder than Quintanilla, and he’s still only 23.
It’s very clear that Quintanilla is a replacement-level ballplayer, and he’s also exhausted right now.
Tejada will likely rejoin the Mets on September 1, when the rosters expand, but given the team’s circumstances, Tejada should have be in New York a lot earlier than that.
Michael Baron, ContributorTejada could get the bulk of the playing time when he returns in an effort to not only see what they have in him, but to let other teams see what he is capable of doing at this point as well. But, while I don’t think Quintanilla is anything more than a patchwork player, he has played in mostly every game since the end of May, which has led to both overexposure and fatigue, as Wharton mentioned.
But, I don’t Tejada is much better, either. Sure, he has been better in the minors lately, but the fact he’s still there shows exactly what the organization thinks of him right now, which clearly isn’t much. They remain concerned with the number of balls in the air from Tejada’s bat, they were disappointed in his preparedness for Spring Training this past winter, and quite frankly, he was pretty terrible until he pulled his quad muscle and has regressed from the player he was in the first half in 2012.
If there’s anything to be learned at the shortstop position from 2013, next year’s shortstop has to come from the outside the team. Finding a cornerstone shortstop is unlikely using that route, but they clearly need to find somebody — any body — who can hold the fort until some inside the organization is ready.