The New York Mets have just about wrapped up all of their offseason moves and appear ready for spring training. But one thing they haven’t done is settled their situation at shortstop as the possibility of signing Stephen Drew is still up in the air. In the meantime, the team has brought back Omar Quintanilla on a minor league contract. Assuming the Mets don’t sign Drew, could Quintanilla be a threat to taking the everyday shortstop job away from Ruben Tejada?
The Mets’ interest in Drew may or may not be genuine, and they may or may not be willing to pay the money to get him. So it’s likely that Drew does not end up in New York, meaning that Quintanilla would be the primary competition for Tejada during spring training. Despite a terrible 2013 season, the Mets appear confident that Tejada can bounce back, but that doesn’t mean they won’t allow Quintanilla to push him for the job this spring.
Quintanilla isn’t the ideal shortstop candidate for the Mets, but he is the ideal candidate to push Tejada in spring training. The Mets have had Quintanilla in their organization for a majority of the past two seasons, and they know what he’s capable of doing for them. Tejada also knows that the Mets made Quintanilla their regular shortstop last season rather than call him up when he returned from an injury, so Tejada should see Quintanilla as a threat, forcing him to be at his best in spring training.
The Mets aren’t afraid to go with Quintanilla at shortstop if he outperforms Tejada this spring as they are most likely borderline competitors this season either way. Assuming they don’t sign Drew, they will likely be in the market for a shortstop next offseason. So while they remain hopeful that Tejada will have a bounce back season in 2014, Quintanilla may be the only player in camp with a chance to take the job away from him. He should be viewed as a threat to beat out Tejada if he struggles in spring training.
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