Ruben Tejada should not be the New York Mets‘ shortstop next season.
The Mets beat the Miami Marlins 4-3 on Friday night but Tejada was 0-for-3, dropping his batting average to .199 on the year. This is nothing new for the 23-year-old.
He had a good 2012 season, batting .289 in 114 games, but he’s been unable to match that kind of production in 2013. In addition to batting under the Mendoza line, Tejada owns paltry .256 OBP and a pathetic .250 slugging percentage. As a result, he has spent most of the year in the minor leagues.
Sometimes, a team will stick with a shortstop who cannot drive in runs with his bat if he can save runs with his glove. Brendan Ryan, for instance, is a terrible hitter. He batted .194 last year for the Seattle Mariners and he’s is currently batting .195 for the New York Yankees. But he plays stellar defense, which allows him to keep his job as a starter.
Tejada is an average fielder at best. He makes the play on just about every ball that he gets to, but he has limited range and his arm is nothing special. The Mets have given Tejada every opportunity to become the full-time shortstop, but he has not taken advantage. He’s a quad-A shortstop and it’s time the Mets look elsewhere – but they shouldn’t look to Stephen Drew.
Rumor has it that the Boston Red Sox are not going to make Drew a qualifying offer and the Mets could possibly target him for next year. This would be a mistake.
Drew is going to be 31 next March, so he’s got a few more years left in his prime. He is making $9.5 million this year, and after a season of solid offensive production (.249 BA/.331 OBP/.436 SLG), he’s going to want a raise next year. But he’d be moving from the hitter’s paradise of Fenway Park to the pitcher’s haven of Citi Field. There’s no way he’d be able to produce for the Mets the way he has for the Sox.
Do the Mets really want to spend $12 million for a 31-year-old shortstop whose offensive numbers are only going to decline? To put things in perspective, Robinson Cano – one of the best hitters in the game – is making $15 million this year.
Ruben Tejada is not the answer for the Mets at shortstop. Although Stephen Drew is a major league-caliber player, the Mets cannot overpay to get him.