The New York Yankees have reportedly reached out to former Mets’ shortstop, Ruben Tejada but the reason for it seems unclear.You know it’s a New York Yankees winter when they sign a veteran, nab one of the hottest names on the market and show interest in a castoff.
After six seasons in Queens from 2010-15 featuring a lifetime .255/.330/.323 slash line and one memorable broken leg, he was released during last year’s Spring Training on March 16, 2016.
Three days later, the St. Louis Cardinals gave him a shot but ended up releasing him on June 1 after he hit just .176 in 40 regular season plate appearances (6-for-34).
On June 17, the San Francisco Giants brought him on but he would disappoint during his 13 game stint as Tejada went just 5-for-32 (.156) while his batting average on balls in play wasn’t any better at .185.
A faint bright spot, however, was Tejada’s minor league season.
In 43 total games in the Cardinals and Giants minor league systems, the 27-year-old slashed .303/.337/.414 with an OPS of .752. In the Pacific Coast League, he slashed .303/.338/.413 in 155 plate appearances for the Sacramento River Cats.
At first, Tejada doesn’t seem like he warrants anything but league minimum, yet he has tasted achievement at the major league level before.
In 2012, he maintained a .333 on-base percentage in 114 games for the Mets and even finished with the second-highest batting average (.289) among National League shortstops with at least 500 plate appearances.
Tejada also has an adequate amount of professional experience at short, second and third base, while he’s most prominently known for serving as the Mets starting shortstop for several years — until Chase Utley happened.
He’s not a sufficient defender (-22 career defensive runs saved above average) but his experience at positions could always serve a team well.
If signed, Tejada will likely be presented with an opportunity to compete with backup infielders Ronald Torreyes and Rob Refsnyder for a shot off the bench, comparable to when Pete Kozma and Donovan Solano were brought in on minor league contracts a year ago.
Will he jumpstart the Bombers into championship contenders? Nope. But to bring on a guy like Tejada, who has played three positions, as possible infield insurance would bring absolutely no misfortune to the Yankees.