The New York Mets have accomplished a great deal this offseason, but it looks increasingly likely that one of their biggest offseason priorities will go unfulfilled. The Mets have few options left when it comes to addressing the shortstop position so fans need to brace themselves for another season with Ruben Tejada as their everyday shortstop.
The team made a strong push for free agent Jhonny Peralta early in the offseason, but he eventually became too expensive for them and ended up signing with the St. Louis Cardinals. The only other free agent shortstop that’s worth pursuing is Stephen Drew, but the price for him is unlikely to come down enough for the Mets, especially considering all the money the team has already spent this offseason on Chris Young, Curtis Granderson, and Bartolo Colon.
Since none of the Mets’ top shortstop prospects are ready for full time major league duty, the only way Tejada will be unseated is if the Mets work out a trade for a shortstop. However, few rumors this offseason have linked the Mets to any shortstops via a trade as reports indicate that the team has been asking for young pitchers in trade talks with other teams.
All of that indicates that the Mets will have to settle for bringing Tejada back as their starting shortstop next season. The Mets have sent Tejada to a conditioning camp as they’re hoping to improve his work ethic while ensuring that he’s in shape and ready for the start of spring training. But the fact that the Mets are forcing him to do that and are essentially babysitting him this winter doesn’t speak well about how they view Tejada, even if they bring him back as the starter next season.
Of course, there is always a chance Tejada returns to the form he had in 2012 when he hit .289 and was a solid and dependable defensive shortstop. But after the season he had last year, not to mention the injury that ended his season, there aren’t a lot of reasons to have confidence in Tejada. Yet, Mets’ fans need to prepare themselves to see him as the team’s starting shortstop in 2014, because with every day that passes that scenario looks more and more likely.