The New York Mets management has spoken. Over the past week or so, the team has sent down four struggling players, two of which, Ruben Tejada and Ike Davis, were thought of as core members of the team, essential to the team’s ability to compete in 2013 and beyond.
When a player that was starting on Opening Day is sent to Triple-A, there is a general expectation that the player will take a week or two to get some low-pressure reps in against inferior competition, make the necessary adjustments, and come back good as new.
But what if they don’t? What if Ruben and Ike have continued struggles that plague them for the rest of the season? This is a contingency the Mets must consider.
Replacing Ruben and Ike right now are Omar Quintanilla and Josh Satin, respectively. Quintanilla is a journeyman middle infielder with no experience of success outside of limited performances in a Mets uniform. While he is a useful bat to have around for just these types of situations, he is by no means a long-term solution.
Satin is more of a question mark. He has only one MLB plate appearance to his name, with reasonable success in Triple-A. He could be an adequate fill-in at first. Still, his lack of pop or big league experience make his ability to stick in the long run suspect at best.
The bad news for the Mets is that the market for shortstops is bare. Only eight or nine major league shortstops can be considered to be hitting at an average or above level for the league, and an even smaller number can provide offensive value while remaining defensively viable. There is little to no hope of getting outside help at short, and the best in-house option may just be Gavin Cecchini, who is currently with Brooklyn and far from ready for MLB competition.
If Ike fails to improve, the situation is much more simple. The Mets can move Lucas Duda over to first and get rid of his costly glove in the outfield, and have a perfectly adequate first baseman. Opening left field up also positions the team to acquire one of the many free agent outfielders before the 2014 season, or even try to acquire one at the trade deadline before this season’s end.