Nov 15

2011 Player Review: Ruben Tejada

John Delcos of and Joe DeCaro of will be doing more and more projects together with the goal of merging two successful blogs in the hope of giving our readers everything they’ll need in covering the Mets. We began our review of the 2011 Mets by examining their free-agents and players the team will consider tending contracts to. Today, we’ll start evaluating the rest of the roster, beginning with infielder Ruben Tejada.


THE SKINNY: Ruben Tejada’s reputation is that of a slick glove but a spotty bat. Tejada’s natural position is shortstop, but when Jose Reyes was healthy and Daniel Murphy wasn’t, he played a solid 50 games at second base in 2010. Tejada played both positions last year and his .284 was better than anticipated.

PRE-SEASON EXPECTATIONS: Tejada started the season in the minor leagues to play mostly shortstop in anticipation of Reyes leaving this winter. The Mets also wanted Tejada to work on his offense.

HOW THE SEASON PLAYED OUT: As expected, Tejada opened the season in the minor leagues as the Mets used Brad Emaus and Murphy at second base. However, when Emaus fizzled and Murphy was injured, Tejada was recalled. When Reyes twice went on the disabled list he played shortstop and Justin Turner played a lot of second. Tejada hit .284 with a .360 on-base percentage. He developed a reputation of not being flustered at the plate and drove in 36 runs in only 328.

JOHN’S TAKE: Tejada has a long way to go to be in Reyes’ caliber and there will be a substantial void to fill. Several scouts said the Mets should be encouraged by Tejada’s progress, but it should be remembered it was only half a season and early impressions can be misleading. With the Mets in full rebuilding and cost-cutting mode, Reyes is not expected to return and the team won’t spend or trade to replace him. With the Mets at least three years away from contending status, this will be Tejada’s opportunity to prove he’s capable of handling the job. The Mets don’t have any immediate options other than Tejada to take over shortstop. Under normal circumstances, a player of Tejada’s limited major league experience wouldn’t enter spring training as the frontrunner for the job. However, these are far from normal circumstances for the Mets.

JOE’S TAKE: No Met position player progressed more than Ruben Tejada did in 2011. Initially, Tejada was dispatched from last season’s second base spring training battle despite outperforming the field. He started the season in Buffalo while Brad Emaus began his very short-lived tenure as the Mets starting second baseman. On May 18, Tejada came up and for the most part never looked back, and guess what? The 22-year old delivered. He had one bad month in July, take that away and he batted .312 in 82 games and showed an uncanny ability to turn it up a notch when runners were on base. In fact his .305 average with “runners on base” was better than… Well lets not go there. I’m looking forward to seeing what this young kid will do for an encore. I’m a big fan.

Aug 15

Decisions to be made as Mets begin series in San Diego.

Lucas Duda is at first base tonight in San Diego, but manager Terry Collins said that might change soon and he could be moved to right field for the rest of the season.

With the Mets skidding and now four games under .500 and 11.5 games behind in the wild-card hunt with four teams to jump and two games from the cellar, what was expected is being realized and we’re on the slow slide into winter.

It’s time the Mets’ decisions are made with 2012 in mind.

A couple of decisions involve Duda and Ike Davis. The expectation is Davis will play first base next season, but his ankle is a question. The current stance is to wait several weeks before deciding on whether microfracture surgery will be necessary.

The injury has not improved, and as with Carlos Beltran, there’s a strong possibility surgery will eventually be needed. The healing time for this surgery, as it was with Beltran, is often lengthy and waiting another month only puts him behind that much in his rehab.

That’s why the surgery decision should be made sooner rather than later.

If Davis comes back he’ll play first, the logical place to play Duda would be in right field. Duda has not played there enough to present a big enough window to prove he’s that answer.

That’s why, with Nick Evans capable of playing first, Duda should be in the outfield for as much as possible.

If Duda busts out in right – as Daniel Murphy did in left a couple of years ago – the Mets would want to know that know that before starting their off-season shopping.

The Mets are also in position now to make decisions on five roster slots. Jason Bay, Chris Capuano, D.J. Carrasco, Willie Harris and Angel Pagan have already cleared waivers, meaning they can be traded to any team until the end of the month. Teams routinely put players on waivers to ascertain interest. It also indicates a willingness by the Mets to deal these players.

Bay, we know, because of his gagging contract, isn’t going anywhere. However, Capuano and Pagan could provide value to a contender. Based on their performance so far, the Mets must have a sense of what they want to do next year. If there’s limited interest in bringing them back, then they should get what they can for them.


Aug 08

Damn, maybe they are cursed.

I don’t believe in curses, I really don’t. But, with the Mets, they make you wonder.

Daniel Murphy sustained a Grade 2 MCL tear yesterday. He wasn’t even in the starting lineup, but entered late and left soon after when the Braves’ Jose Costanza slid into his left knee at second base. He’s done for the season. No surgery, but four months of recovery time.

MURPHY: Gone for year.

The way Murphy was hitting it appeared he turned the corner and all the Mets had to do was find a place for him. This is twice now where he’s been injured at second base, so that’s not his sweet spot.

At this timetable, Murphy won’t begin rehabbing until January, so we have no idea if he’ll be ready for spring training.

Meanwhile, Reyes, who missed 16 games with a strained left hamstring last month, reinjured the hammy running out a ball in the first inning.

If the same level of injury landed Reyes on the DL last time, it’s probably a decent assumption to think the same now. In any case, he won’t be playing soon.

Yesterday, I suggested Reyes was returning to earth with his injury and subsequent slump. There’s no reason to pull off that now.

Reyes has had hamstring problems at various times during his career, playing in just 54 games in 2004 and being limited to 36 in 2009. Yes, he had that stretch from 2006-08, but in seeking a long term contract they look at the recent injury history.

The injuries to Reyes and Murphy are two of many to the 2011 Mets, who are without Johan Santana – perhaps for the season – and another starter, Chris Young, for the year. David Wright missed two months with a stress fracture to his lower back, and Ike Davis is likely done for the year with an ankle injury which could require surgery.

On the lower levels, Fernando Martinez and Jenrry Mejia have all missed significant playing – and developing – time.

Ironically, as the Mets face losing Reyes to free-agency, this injury could enhance their chances. That is, if they want to take the risk. Should Reyes miss a significant amount of more time, his price could dip to where the Mets could be players.

But, do they want to bring back a guy who can’t stay on the field?


Jul 25

Tonight’s lineup at Cincinnati

Here’s the Mets’ lineup tonight at Cincinnati with R.A. Dickey on the mound:

Jose Reyes, SS

Justin Turner, 2B

Carlos Beltran, RF

David Wright, 3B

Daniel Murphy, 1B

Jason Bay, LF

Josh Thole, C

Jason Pridie, CF

R.A. Dickey, RP

COMMENTS: No surprises.  Terry Collins once floated the idea of batting Bay second behind Reyes with the hope of seeing more fastballs, but nothing became of it.  Bay is still mired in the sixth spot in the order where he continues to struggle.


Jul 18

Today in Mets’ History: This year looking like last summer.

Mets got this break during collapse.

The Mets are entering a strangely familiar territory.

Last year the prevailing midseason issue after the break was whether Jerry Manuel could take control of his team and guide them either into the postseason, or to at least make a wild-card run.

It didn’t happen. On this date last season, the Mets broke a three-game losing streak coming out of the All-Star break with a series-salvaging 4-3 victory at San Francisco in 10 innings.

The game featured an atrocious call by plate umpire Phil Cuzzi that swiped a victory from the Giants. With one out in the bottom of the ninth, Cuzzi called out Travis Ishikawa at the plate, saying he slide under Henry Blanco’s tag.

Replays proved otherwise, but most damning was Blanco’s comments: “He was safe all the way. Everybody was surprised when he was called out.’’


With the victory, the Mets moved to 49-43, five games behind in the National East. Not bad on the surface, but the Mets were in the midst of losing seven of nine games, and would go on to lose six of their next eight, all on the road.

This season, the Mets dropped two of three coming out of the break to Philadelphia, and overall have dropped five of their last seven games.

The Mets close out July with a make-up game tonight at Citi Field, followed by three home games with St. Louis. Then they are on the road to Florida for three, Cincinnati for three and Washington for three.

Even with the positive news about Jose Reyes’ rehab game tonight, the Mets are in for an interesting couple of weeks until the trade deadline.

Last year they unraveled, but they had little to give up as nobody wanted Oliver Perez or Luis Castillo. This season there are more attractive things on the Mets’ rosters for contenders.

Carlos Beltran is currently the big prize. He’s healthy, playing well and has adjusted to a new team. The Mets could bring a prospect or two in return, more, if they extend a negotiating window to the team in attempt to land Beltran long term. Of course, Beltran’s agent is Scott Boras, and his preference in similar situations is to play the open market.

Boras is not likely to do anything to help the Mets, who will not receive compensatory draft picks if he leaves as a FA.

Reyes, who hopes to play tomorrow, is also available, but the Mets would like to keep him, and will do so unless they are bowled over. If that were to happen, the team would want a chance to negotiate with Reyes long term. The Mets will get more of a package in this situation rather than if they sell him to a team as a rental.

The Mets have several other players teams could covet in support or bullpen roles, including: Angel Pagan, Scott Hairston, Tim Byrdak, Jason Isringhausen, and tonight’s starter, Chris Capuano.

Here’s tonight’s lineup behind Capuano:

Angel Pagan, CF

Willie Harris, 2B

Daniel Murphy, 3B

Scott Hairston, RF

Lucas Duda, 1B

Jason Bay, LF

Josh Thole, C

Ruben Tejada, SS

Chris Capuano, LP