The Cardinals have announced that they’ve signed shortstop Ruben Tejada to a one-year, big-league contract. Tejada will receive $1.5MM, Jon Heyman tweets. MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch was first to report that a deal was imminent (Twitter links). Tejada is a client of the Legacy Agency.
The Mets released Tejada earlier this week. He reportedly rejected a minor-league deal with the Yankees in hopes of finding a big-league deal with another team, and it appears he’s found one. Jhonny Peralta is out ten to 12 weeks after having thumb surgery, which had left the Cardinals without a legitimate starting shortstop — Jedd Gyorko, Greg Garcia and Aledmys Diaz topped the team’s list of internal options.
Tejada now looks like the Cardinals’ presumptive starter at the position until Peralta returns. Tejada’s sudden appearance on the free agent market at this late date provided the Cardinals with the opportunity to acquire something resembling a proven shortstop, albeit one with some drawbacks. The 26-year-old batted a reasonable .261/.338/.350 with New York last season and generally does a good job reaching base, thanks to a good batting eye. He has little power, however and has yet to have a truly strong offensive season, with a .696 OPS as a 21-year-old rating as his finest season at the plate. Metrics rate his defense as about average over the course of his career, though both DRS and UZR were down on his work in 2015. He also irked the Mets at times with his lack of physical conditioning.
Nonetheless, given Tejada’s experience and his ability to keep his head above water as a big-league shortstop, it’s not surprising that the Cardinals pursued him. He can become a free agent after the season due to a clause in his arbitration agreement with the Mets that awarded him an extra day of service time. (I previously wrote, incorrectly, that there was a possibility the Cardinals could take him through arbitration next winter.)
Tejada and the Mets avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $3MM deal last offseason, although the Mets’ plans changed when they acquired middle infielders Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera, and they ultimately owed Tejada only $491K of that $3MM contract after they decided to release him. The Mets’ $3MM deal will therefore have no particular impact on his deal with the Cardinals.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Good luck to you Ruben. Play well, earn your spot.
MLBTR could have had this article prewritten and ready to publish. It’s a natural fit, and makes infinitely more sense than trading a prospect for a stopgap.
I’d rather try Diaz at short…..
Not a bad move for th Cards but IMO they would have been better off trading for Deven Marrero, more upside .
Trading for 6 years of a defender like Marrero wouldn’t be free. Tejada is gonna cost them pocket change. Less than 2.5M.
Marrero’s bat doesn’t look like its much more than Tejada’s, plus they don’t have to give up a prospect. Not enough difference between the two. Aviles could possibly be excess on the Tigers. They may have been able to purchase him. Again, though, he’s basically the same player. It will be interesting who becomes available as the spring wraps up, to see if the Cards could have done better.
All glove-no bat SS’s are a dime a dozen. No reason to give up anything for another Pete Kozma.
Tejada isn’t a “no bat” infielder. If he hits against the rest of the league, like he does against St. Louis, the Cards would be thrilled. He is a tough out.
I hope you are joking. Career .653 ops in close to 2200 plate appearances. Not exactly a small sample. He is the definition of a not bad infielder.
No bat* is what I was trying to put.
stl_cards16 was talking about Marrero.
stl_cards16 was talking about Marrero. $1.5 mil for Tejada is a great deal especially when considering that’s instead of trading a prospect.
That’s not far off Didi Gregorious’ career OPS of .683. He’s the next great short stop.
That’s only because he plays for the Yankees. Just like the Red Sox every single young player they have is going to be a perennial all star. If Didi was the SS for the Brewers or Orioles he would be considered nothing
I know I agree with him. I was referring to spudchukar who claimed tejada isn’t a no bat infielder when in fact that’s exactly what he is. Move makes sense for the cardinals no question.
Tejada has no home run power, but he does have gap power. Relying on old numbers can be misleading. He has learned to be a better hitter, and the Cards know that. Look for him to improve on his 2015 numbers, not regress to days of yore.
Your error in thinking is believing Tejada is the player he was early in his career, not the guy of 2015. Players learn in this game, and Tejada has learned to be a tough out, and a doubles guy.
Tejada’s bat is miles beyond Pete Kozma’s
Makes no sense from a Cardinal perspective because of a mismatch in perceived value between how Boston values and what it’s worth SL to pay. Peralta will be back. They need a stopgap. That’s what Tejada does well.
Which is why I was surprised the Mets let him go. I know 3.5 million isn’t chump change but it’s not unusual for a playoff contender to have a guy like Tejada that could fill in middle infield for long spells in case of injury or ineffectiveness.
That’s good point, but the Mets still have financial issues. They probably just didn’t want to spend even that much.
Um, they just spent (at least) $27.5 million on Cespedes.
As to what GoRav said, the Mets have plenty of depth at shortstop.
he’s a great stopgap pickup for the money. no reason to give up a prospect for a two-three month player
Good for him but what happens when Peralta comes back? Would Tejada agree to a platoon role of that’s what the Cardinals decide to do?
Either trade one (probably Tejada) at the deadline, serve as a bench option, or if he stinks, get released. He got the big-league deal he wanted, has to realize this is the arrangement. If he wants to force STL to start him over Peralta he’ll have to play well enough to give them no choice.
If things go south this season (or Tejada significantly outplays Peralta), I could see them trading Peralta at the deadline, ride it out with Tejada for the remainder of the season, and install the heir apparent Diaz as the starter in 2017.
Wow. Talk about your “outside the box” thinking. What a surprise!
As the Cards are about the only team that could offer him a significant amount of playing time, at least temporarily, this was kind of a no brainer. The Cards are really going to miss Peralta’s power though.
This is my shocked face.
What happened to that extra day of service time the Mets granted Tejada a couple of weeks ago that would allow him to become a free agent next season, is it non-transferable or something?
And I’m puzzled by people wondering what’s going to happen when Peralta comes back, if Tejada will demand to start or force a trade or get a platoon role. Ruben is a bench player and he will go to the bench. Unless he stinks more than usual. In that case he will be cut.
Yeah, he’s ok, worthy of a major-league deal, but he’s certainly not blocking Peralta or anyone for that matter. A player with a career .653 OPS, 85 OPS+, and decent but unspectacular defense isn’t all that exciting. Barring some crazy breakout year, he goes back to the bench, and I assume, as you mentioned, to free agency after the year
The Mets didn’t award him an extra day MLB did.
Not according to the MLBTR’s article on this in February; it was part of the Mets arbitration agreement made in order to avoid litigating a grievance issue.
Question is pretty significant, not only for Tejada but for STL as it potentially affects his trade value. Is it still included as part of the prorated deal from arbitration? Was the service day awarded immediately? on Opening Day? at the conclusion of the 2016 season? Was it contingent on Tejada being on the 2016 Mets Opening Day roster? Is the potential grievance filed against STL now instead? What if it was awarded and then he’s DFA’d, does he go back to FA after 2017?
Great example of why having a union (and sometimes an agent) is important…This stuff is as complicated as it is confusing.
Hmm interesting. I didn’t know teams could do that.
He’ll deliver now that he has the birds on bat across his chest. cards ard best.. 🙂
The Mets did. Not the MLB.
I agree, he’s an insurance type player. Not a guy you want starting but more than capable of filling in for several weeks. Kinda why I was surprised the Mets let him go. I could see a team like the Reds needing the 3.5 million more than a veteran backup but any contending team needs a couple of guys they can count on to fill in for injuries or ineffectiveness.
Im glad they signed him. He may not be the flashiest, but he can get the job done for the time Peralta is out. Go Cards!
And this finally brings to a close the most obvious free agent saga of the year.
You got me thinking…now with this done what is the most intriguing free agent story line? With Morneau out half a season I guess it leaves Tim Lincecum as the most intriguing free agent. I thought he was going to have a showcase but it doesn’t seem to materialize. I would think a lot of teams would take a gamble on Lincecum as a bounce back candidate at least out of the pen. As the season gets closer less and less teams have the space or can afford the gamble. My guess is he will be looking for a major league deal in 4-5 million range. I know a lot of teams would give him a shot but that list of teams will get smaller and smaller as we get near opening day. I could see a scenario where a team gives him a major league contract of 5 million with incentives and a 2nd year option or the max he gets is a minor league deal with an opt out if not on the roster by June.
His obp is less related to his batting eye and more related to him hitting in front of the pitcher.
No. it works both ways. It is tougher to hit with the pitcher next. And I would like to know how many intentional walks Tejada received. My guess is it isn’t many.
The answer is 5.
Nonsense. He’s batted 1st or 2nd in the order more times than he has batted 8th in the order.
That makes even less sense. If he is hitting early in the order he isn’t getting many IBBs.
I’m in a Mets group on Facebook, and there has been quite the outpouring of affection for Ruben there. I liked him just fine and I wish him well, but I’m rather perplexed at the reactions; I imagine that they’re largely linked to the leg-breaking incident.