The Mets are bringing infielder Ruben Tejada to meet the team on its road trip in Atlanta, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network (via Twitter). Whether he’ll formally be added to the MLB roster will depend upon the still-pending medical review of Jeff McNeil, who was injured last night.
Regardless of how this situation plays out, it’s interesting to see Tejada tabbed as the McNeil replacement option. For one thing, it’s a homecoming for the former New York stalwart, whose original tenure in Queens ended in memorably blunt fashion. Of more immediate concern, it’s a bit of a curious choice from a roster fit.
Tejada and McNeil are both infielders by trade. But the Mets have utilized McNeil frequently in a corner outfield role of late, and that is the area of the roster that seems most in need of supplementation if he requires an IL stint.
As things stand, the Mets can utilize the recently-acquired Joe Panik at second while deploying Luis Guillorme as a utility infielder. But the outfield sans McNeil would feature Michael Conforto, J.D. Davis, Juan Lagares, and Aaron Altherr. The latter two players have turned in miserable offensive efforts to this point of the season.
Tejada has been swinging the bat well at Triple-A, where he owns a .332/.411/.477 batting line over 299 plate appearances. Even allowing for International League offensive inflation, that’s a strong 132 wRC+. But the 29-year-old has never appeared in the outfield as a professional. Neither has Guillorme. Ditto Panik.
That said, there is logic in going to Tejada right now. With opponents scheduling lefty starters in two of the next three games, he’ll be a nice compliment to the left-handed-hitting Panik. Meanwhile, the club will feel better about leaning on Lagares, a strong up-the-middle defender who has historically fared much better when facing southpaws.
Ultimately, if McNeil is down for a while, it seems some kind of outfield supplementation will be preferable — even if that means going outside the organization (tough as that may be this time of the year). Whether Tejada would have a shot at sticking on the roster for the duration of the season remains to be seen.
This guy again. Mets must love him.
It would have been nice if they had signed Jed Lowrie in the off-season. Oh, wait…
Yeah no word on lowrie in a long time
The are starting Tejada in left field. It would have been nice if Cespedes came back since the hot weather is now over. Oh, wait….
It doesn’t matter that tejada has never played LF before—they’ve been stuffing the position with newbies all year. This is the Mets way.
If McNeil is out, just have Lagares play CF everyday, Conforto in RF, Davis in LF – Panik 2B vs right hand pitchers, Tejada 2B vs left hand pitchers and then pray to God McNeil comes back soon.
Agreed. Not that the minor league situation has anything to do with this calculation, but it’s pretty much a plug-and-play replacement in Syracuse since Hech will be outrighted there. My understanding is that part of Hech’s deal with the Mets was that he couldn’t refuse a minor league assignment. He didn’t get his $1M bonus but he’s guaranteed $3M for the year as long as he complies with the assignment.
To follow up, I can’t find anything definitive about Hechavarría being outrighted, but it would make sense. The Mets wouldn’t need to DFA someone else because Rhame just had season-ending surgery. He can be moved to the 60-day to clear the space on the 40-man for Tejada so they could promote him when McNeil is placed on the 10-day IL.
Find an of. Juan shouldn’t start every day
I mean I would love that. Who is really out there? I dread the thought of seeing more of Altherr.
Why is Altheir still on the team. Any of their pitchers are better hitters. Give Rajah another shot if they need another
Sort of ironic that Tejada’s possible return to the Mets is due to someone else being injured.
You all are acting like the lowly Mets will make even the wild card! They should just bring up a youngster to see what they got. Waste bringing up tejada. But that’s what you hey when you have an agent him acting like 007 Bond. He’s not a do it all
There are good trolls, there are bad trolls, and then there is em65or. You tried bud!
Man…this is where losing Nimmo and Lowrie is really going to bite the Mets. Having either guy on the roster now would solve so many issues. They need Panik to continue his bounceback because Tejada isn’t a guy who can hit for any real amount of time. Lagares has been super streaky, with 90% of it being bad. His glove helps, but man…this really puts a strain on their lineup.