If the New York Mets want their bench to be useful, which they should since who knows how many of their starting position players won’t be all that useful this season, then they should be put shortstop Omar Quintanilla on their opening day roster. Quintanilla started last season with the Mets AAA farm club in Buffalo, and was brought up when Ruben Tejada was injured. Unfortunately, the Mets had to let him go when the return of injured players forced a numbers crunch on their roster. But this year the Mets should not allow any numbers crunch to prevent them from sticking with Quintanilla; in fact, Quintanilla should force them to do some crunching.
Quintanilla is the perfect backup middle infield for the Mets. He is an accomplished defensive shortstop that can play second base just as well, meaning he can come in as a defensive replacement at second base for Daniel Murphy late in games, and be a more than suitable substitute for Tejada. Quintanilla isn’t what anyone would describe as a dangerous threat with the bat, but he can hold his own against major league pitching, which means Mets manager Terry Collins doesn’t have to think twice about putting him in the starting lineup once or twice a week. With Tejada still being young and figuring out how to manage his body throughout a 162-game schedule, Collins would be wise to give him plenty of rest, and with Quintanilla as the backup shortstop he can do that without reservation. Quintanilla is not too big of a drop off from Tejada in short-term situations, and so it would be easy to expel Tejada once in a while in order to keep him healthy for the long term, but the Mets wouldn’t be able to do that with anybody else in their camp besides Quintanilla.
Quintanilla came to spring training as a non-roster invitee so the Mets will have to do some roster shuffling at the end of spring to get him on the roster, but whether it’s at the expense of Brandon Hicks, Justin Turner, or somebody else, the Mets need to put Quintanilla on their roster to play the role that Ronny Cedeno filled for them last year. It’s a small role that won’t contribute all that much, but for teams like the Mets, there are no small roles and no contribution too small to overlook. They need all hands on deck this season, and Quintanilla needs to be one of them.
Bryan Zarpentine is a New York Mets writer at RantSports.com. He also writes frequently about the NFL, College Football, College Basketball, and International Soccer. Follow him on twitter @BZarp and add him to your network on Google+.