With only a few weeks remaining before Opening Day, the New York Mets‘ shortstop situation remains in flux. Incumbent Ruben Tejada, coming off of a very disappointing 2013 season (which is putting it lightly), has struggled again during Spring Training, leaving the Mets scrambling to find an adequate solution. While Tejada still apparently has his fans in the organization, it remains to be seen just how short his leash is this spring.
Unfortunately for New York, the available options each have their own pitfalls. Behind Tejada, there’s not much to speak of, as journeymen Omar Quintanilla and Anthony Seratelli are vying for the backup spot. Neither player is fit to adequately handle shortstop for an entire season, and while the organization has some promising shortstop prospects, none are anywhere close to being major league ready. As a result, New York may have to look outside the organization.
Perhaps the most obvious option, Stephen Drew, remains a free agent, but the Mets have not shown no inclination to meet his asking price. Both the Arizona Diamondbacks and Seattle Mariners possess a glut of shortstops, but New York will likely have to part with some of its young pitching depth to satisfy either team. With Matt Harvey out for the season and uncertainty still surrounding the fifth starter spot in the rotation, the Mets have thus far been wont to deplete their stock.
Whatever they ultimately plan to do, general manager Sandy Alderson identified shortstop as a position of need back in October, and five months later, not much has changed. When the Mets let Jose Reyes walk via free agency after the 2011 season, it was assumed that Tejada would grab the reins and be New York’s shortstop of the future, but that plan has certainly not gone according to plan.
In order to meet Alderson’s ambitious projection of 90 wins, New York is going to need just about everything to break right for them this season and then some. Having a black hole at one of the most important positions on the diamond for a second consecutive season certainly won’t help in accomplishing that goal. Alderson has had plenty of time to address the situation, but his time is quickly running out, along with the patience of Met fans.