Last week, Mets assistant GM John Ricco said the club would be comfortable heading into the 2016 season with both Ruben Tejada and Wilmer Flores representing their shortstop depth.
But that could simply be the club’s public stance on their shortstop situation.
Shortly after Ricco’s remarks, Mike Puma of the New York Post said Tejada’s future with the team wasn’t necessarily certain, as the club was considering non-tendering Tejada and making him a free agent this winter.
And on Wednesday, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reaffirmed the possibility that Tejada could be non-tendered by the club, ending his tenure with the Mets.
There are a few of reasons why this could be a sensible move.
First off, Mets shortstops were 10th in the league with a 2.9 WAR, largely carried by their offense as they were 26th in the league with a -9.0 ultimate zone rating and dead last with -26 defensive runs saved. That just needs to get better, and it’s hard to see that improving if they continue with what they have.
Second, Tejada will earn anywhere between $2-3 million through the arbitration process in 2015. Paying a below average defensive player with a .653 career OPS is hardly a value-oriented decision. They might be able to get similar, if not greater value out of Matt Reynolds as a utility infielder at the league minimum, saving the club upwards of $2.5 million and giving them an opportunity to allocate those funds in a more meaningful way.
Third, Tejada is coming off a second broken leg, and that could further impact his defense at a premium position and lowering his value in the process.
Lastly, there’s also the forthcoming roster crunch thanks to the need to add players like Brandon Nimmo, Matt Bowman, and maybe Travis Taijeron and Wilmer Beccera to the 40-man roster to protect them from being taken in December. The Mets need all of the real estate they can find to protect these players.
Since his debut in 2010, Tejada has hit .255/.330/.323 with a .653 OPS over that span playing shortstop, second base and some third base, as well.