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J.P. Ricciardi says Mets are happy with Ruben Tejada at shortstop

Dec 28, 2013, 10:30 AM EDT

Ruben Tejada Getty Getty Images

There’s been a lot of speculation this winter about free agent shortstop Stephen Drew potentially landing with the Mets, but the team has publicly thrown their support behind Ruben Tejada in recent weeks. Mets special assistant J.P. Ricciardi is the latest example, saying on WEEI’s “Hot Stove Show” that the team is happy with the idea of going into 2014 with Tejada as the starting shortstop.

“I think we are,” said Ricciardi when asked if the Mets were happy with heading into 2014 with the 24-year-old Tejada. ‘€œHe’€™s a young player. As Johnny can tell you, a lot of young players who get to play at the big league level early in their career, a lot of them don’€™t realize how hard it is to play every day. A lot of them don’€™t realize what it takes to play every day. I think in Ruben’€™s case, he got a lot early in his career and I think he’€™s starting to realize that he has to work a lot harder than he has in the past, and he has. To his credit, he really has. But as a young player, they get to the big leagues, some things happen for them and they forget how tough it is to stay there. I think he’€™s at that stage in his career. I think next year he’€™s going to be a better player than he was this previous year.”

Tejada is coming off a nightmare season in which he batted just .202 with a .519 OPS in 202 plate appearances. The 24-year-old spent a long stretch of time in the minors after a quad injury and suffered a broken fibula after he rejoined the team in September. Still, he hit .287 with a .345 on-base percentage between 2011-2012, so a rebound isn’t out of the question. The Mets clearly haven’t given up on him, as they sent him to a fitness camp earlier this offseason, but there’s still a chance that Drew could fall into their laps if his market dwindles. As Ricciardi said, “there’€™s just not a lot of demand for shortstops” at the moment.

While Drew remains a possibility, the Mets could cross their fingers with Tejada in 2014 while waiting for next offseason when J.J. Hardy, Asdrubal Cabrera and Jed Lowrie will all be free agents.

  1. doctornature - Dec 28, 2013 at 12:19 PM

    In other news, the Wilpons have asked Tejada if he would like to invest in their new ‘Hedge Fund’ that guarantees a 25% return….no questions asked.

    • kiwicricket - Dec 28, 2013 at 7:19 PM

      Tejada is onto something….I have a similar thing going with my cricket team. I get to play and bat where I want, just as long as I buy a box of beer after the game.

  2. nymets4ever - Dec 28, 2013 at 12:36 PM

    I’ve been beating this drum for a while now.. I think Tejada has a chance to become a nice little player for the Mets, and the least of their concerns. I think he took the adversity of last yr to heart and is more motivated than ever to get/stay in shape and prove his worth to the Mets brass. It’s easy to forget how solid he was in 2012.

    • Old Gator - Dec 28, 2013 at 1:36 PM

      This is an example of a little known theory in apocryphal physics called “Wilpoon Equilibrium.”

      • Old Gator - Dec 28, 2013 at 1:50 PM

        Whoops, the above post was meant to be linked to Drnature’s post at the top of the comments. All things being equal, Tejada was hurt – and not just slightly, either – most of last season and had no time to get himself planted. I don’t know how seriously to take Ricciardi’s comments about his work ethic – I doubt if he spent much time at the rehab clinics or in Tejada’s private workout facilities or local gym, wherever he worked at reconstructing himself, to be in any fair position to speculate about how much or how little he understood about what it takes to play a full season with your ligaments and tendons looking like a string ball your cats have been playing with on the floor all day.

  3. thegonz13 - Dec 28, 2013 at 12:48 PM

    Yeah, we’ll take advice from Ricciardi… one of the worst GM’s in the history of the game.

    • Mark - Dec 28, 2013 at 1:17 PM

      There have been many GMs far worse than JP. Not a good one, but not as bad as people make him out to be.

      • paperlions - Dec 28, 2013 at 4:19 PM

        In the same article, he said, “One of the things that is happening in baseball right now, that I scratch my head with it ‘€“ young players are so overvalued right now, and I think falls in with the draft picks, too. Listen, I get it. No one builds through the draft. You add through the draft,” Ricciardi said. “€œYou can’€™t build a team through the draft because they just don’€™t all work out. But you can supplement your system, and I get all that. But if you’€™re telling me I have a chance to get Curtis Granderson over a second round pick I think I’€™m going to take my chances with a proven major league player as opposed to maybe a high school or college kid that may or may not become Curtis Granderson.”

        He still doesn’t get it. Most good teams build through the draft. When you get 40 picks/year, most of them don’t need to work out. He clearly continues to undervalue the draft and player development. The choice isn’t a 2nd round pick or Granderson, the choice is $60M and a 2nd round Choice or Granderson. Good organizations have mostly home grown players and supplement through FA. The FA market is the most expensive way to build a team, and most of those players are past their prime and over-priced. Smart teams get player prior to their FA years via the draft or trade (Oakland is fantastic at trading for other teams prospects and winning).

  4. raynman49 - Dec 28, 2013 at 1:48 PM

    Translation: We’re too cheap to sign a good one, so we’re stuck with him.

    • President Charles Logan - Dec 29, 2013 at 2:22 PM

      The Mets are going to be a below .500 team for at least the next half decade …… no question.

  5. pastabelly - Dec 28, 2013 at 5:32 PM

    As much as I’d like to see the Sox get a sandwich pick for losing Drew, I wouldn’t mind seeing Drew back for much less than the qualifying offer. A little humble pie for Boras wouldn’t hurt either.

    • carpi2 - Dec 28, 2013 at 11:05 PM

      Humble pie is only effective for people who has a conscience. Boras has no conscience; he will not learn a thing by mishandling Drew’s contract.

      • paperlions - Dec 29, 2013 at 11:08 AM

        Agents work for players. If Drew turned down the QO, it is because he chose to. Yes, Boras probably told him he could do far better in FA, which everyone would have said at the time.

        Boras has one job, and he is very good at it. In a job like that, you won’t win every time. The player understands that, they are the ones taking risks, not the agent.

      • carpi2 - Dec 30, 2013 at 9:32 PM

        You’re right, man. However, Boras is still an ass!

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