The New York Mets have a lot of holes, but Sandy Alderson‘s biggest failure this offseason was his inability to acquire a competent shortstop. As the team is currently constructed, the Mets don’t have a prayer of contending for the playoffs with Ruben Tejada at the position.
Tejada simply isn’t that good. On most teams, he’s lucky if he’s even a backup player. For one thing, he doesn’t hit for any kind of respectable average. When he does contribute offensively, it usually doesn’t amount to anything more than a few singles or a walk here and there. If Tejada can clear the pitcher’s spot hitting in the No. 8 hole, he’s done a good job.
His offense has been bad enough that he’s sat out a couple games. Tejada went 0-for-11 at Coors Field against the Colorado Rockies (which is almost impossible to do), leading to Omar Quintanilla getting a couple of starts. Quintanilla is a much better fielder than Tejada, but he’s far worse at the plate – if you can imagine that. Needless to say, neither Tejada nor Quintanilla are long-term solutions for this club.
Defensively, Tejada is average at best. His range is nothing special and his arm is mediocre. He’ll make the routine plays, but you’re not going to see him get to anything else. The Mets could get by if Tejada was the only weak link on the infield, but Daniel Murphy isn’t exactly a Gold Glove-caliber second basemen. Murphy has certainly improved at the position over time, but there are moments when he’s a liability.
In general, the Mets are a very good defensive team, particularly in the outfield. However, championship teams must be strong up the middle, and New York doesn’t fit that bill. Murphy is worth keeping because he’s a good offensive player, but they’ll need a better shortstop to offset his defensive weaknesses. Tejada isn’t that guy.