It’s preposterous, of course, because there’s no way the Tigers would ever agree to such a deal. Further, my bet is the Mets would be uncomfortable sending away Tejada without having a legitimate MLB shortstop — or even a shortstop-in-waiting — on the roster. But this “Would you …?” series is all about fantasy, and we’re allowed to enjoy the benefits of poetic license. So let’s pretend that the Mets have re-signed Ronny Cedeno to a reasonable one-year deal, and that Wilmer Flores will remain at shortstop and be ready to play there by 2014. I know, we’re really stretching the limits of imagination, but just play along for a moment, OK? If the Mets had the shortstop position otherwise covered for the foreseeable future, would you trade Ruben Tejada straight up for Rick Porcello?
Me, I would — in a heartbeat. I know there are Mets fans who think Tejada may evolve into another Miguel Tejada, but I’m betting he’ll be closer to a modern version of Bucky Dent (which isn’t all that bad). And I know there are people who believe that a steady, solid-fielding, decent-hitting, young shortstop is hard to find. I agree — but I also believe that a 23-year-old starting pitcher with four years of MLB experience is even harder to find.
From where did I dream up this deal? I’ve been hearing that Detroit is looking for a slick-fielding shortstop this winter, and they have a surplus of pitching. Most likely, it would take more than Tejada to pry away Porcello, and I’d be OK with that — I’d be willing to include, say, Jenrry Mejia, Jeurys Familia, or Dillon Gee, if that’s what it took to get Porcello back. My feeling is that the best chance for the Mets to build a winner is to stock up on young pitching — lots of it — and getting a 24-year-old with both experience and upside is worth the “pain” of Tejada and one of those three hurlers. Part of my argument, though, is counting on the idea that Familia and Mejia will never be more than middle relievers, and/or we’ve seen Gee’s ceiling (if Gee were a few years younger, or didn’t have the fraying labrum, I might feel differently about him.
What’s your thought? Am I off my John Rocker? Would you do such a deal, assuming the extended imagination presented above? Why or why not? Answer in the comments.
About the Author
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.