Mets Spring Training Question 12: Shortstop

With a dozen days left before pitchers and Molinas report to spring training, the Mets have a question to answer at shortstop.

For those who just came out of hibernation, last year’s starting shortstop — Jose Reyes — left the team for the warm winds of Miami. It is presumed that youngster Ruben Tejada will step right in and be the Mets’ 2012 shortstop. But is it that cut and dried? Is there a possibility that the Mets break camp with someone else standing next to David Wright on the diamond?

It would seem to be a foregone conclusion that Tejada is the 2012 shortstop, and of the future, for the Mets. We are assuming that he will look at least as good as he did last year, when he filled in ably at short when Reyes was on the DL. At the same time, he was a little erratic at short compared to how confident and natural he looked at second base; that said, do we know for sure which side of 2B Tejada belongs? Might we see him playing both positions in 2012?

Further, what if Tejada looks completely overmatched at shortstop during spring training? Would the Mets start the season with Ronny Cedeno at short, and send Tejada down to AAA for more seasoning at the position? Or would they keep him up with the big club, working him in and out of the lineup until he earns a starting job? I wonder if the former makes more sense; at age 22, Tejada is still very young, and may benefit more by regular reps rather than sporadic starts.

What do you think? If Tejada can’t corral the starting shortstop job, should he be on the 25-man roster or should he be in Buffalo on Opening Day? Post your thoughts in the comments.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. NormE February 8, 2012 at 9:36 am
    At present it would appear that no one else in the farm system is projected as being ready to step in at SS.
    Should something happen to Tejada, Cedeno will almost surely be the stopgap answer. That’s when Sandy Alderson will have to show his ability as a GM (on a team with little money). And, that’s when all the Met bloggers will have a field day.
  2. Joe February 8, 2012 at 10:55 am
    Yes, I think the guy who played 125 games at SS in ’11 can be a “stopgap answer” in ’12.

    And, he was on the Pirates. Remember when people here thought the Pirates — unlike the Mets — were the feel good story of ’11? Ah well.

    Anyway, don’t foresee any surprises here.

  3. BklynCowpoke February 8, 2012 at 4:16 pm
    I don’t know why so many people seem to be down on this young man. All he has done is show improvement each year he has been with the big club. I believe he will be a more than adequate replacement for Jose; though he obviously isn’t the same calibre player. With the exception of the guy in Colorado, what shortstop playing the game today would be?
  4. NormE February 8, 2012 at 6:09 pm
    There was a good story on Alderson and the Mets in today’s
    (2/8/12) NY Times.
  5. argonbunnies February 8, 2012 at 7:53 pm
    Ruben didn’t hit much in the minors before his last call-up. Then he got to the majors and hit better. He showed a good eye in the #8 hole, and a poor one in the #2 spot. I really don’t know what to make of him.

    In general, when a player holds their own in the majors at such a young age, it is a great sign for their future. But most such players are promoted because they’re just plain awesome, not just because the big club is desperate.

    The numbers give cause for optimism, but man, you know that saying about hitters, “The ball jumps off his bat”? The ball pretty much dies off Ruben’s.