It’s been a weird year for young shortstop Ruben Tejada.
On the field he struggled, playing only 57 games for the New York Mets. In those games he batted an underwhelming .202/.259/.260. He battled an injury and spent much of his season in the minor leagues. Off the field he found himself in an unfortunate situation with his arbitration clock and proceeded to file a grievance against his current team.
Even still, Mets special assistant J.P. Ricciardi appeared recently on WEEI radio and expressed the team’s confidence in Tejada as their starting shortstop next season:
He’s a young player. As Johnny can tell you, a lot of young players who get to play at the big league level early in their career, a lot of them don’t realize how hard it is to play every day. A lot of them don’t realize what it takes to play every day. I think in Ruben’s case, he got a lot early in his career and I think he’s starting to realize that he has to work a lot harder than he has in the past, and he has.”
At issue here is whether or not the Mets should pursue free agent and former Red Sox Stephen Drew. While Drew hit pretty well last season (.253/.333/.443 with 13 home runs), it is hard to shake the visual of him batting so poorly in last year’s playoffs (.050 average in the ALCS, .158 average in the World Series).
At the very least Drew is no sure thing and might be a light-hitting shortstop who fields well. The Mets have a decent chance that they will get the same from Tejada and he probably has a higher ceiling. Even coming off a disastrous season, it makes sense that Tejada will get another shot at the job.