After an abrupt end to his Mets’ career, infielder Ruben Tejada is doing his best to earn a promotion to the New York Yankees.
On December 12, 2016, the New York Yankees signed former Mets’ shortstop Ruben Tejada on a minor league deal for basically two reasons: minor league depth and a hope to capture what the 27-year-old once produced in Queens.
While the journeyman infielder’s legacy involves a gruesome broken leg in the 2015 postseason and he missed out on his chance to earn a spot in the Bronx, Tejada is proving that perhaps his new organization caught lightening in the bottle.
Through the first 13 games of Tejada’s stint in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, he owns a slash line of .381/.460/.595 with one home run, 11 RBIs and 25 total bases in 42 at-bats. Since April 16, he has hit three doubles in five games which have helped propel him to the top of the International League in many offensive categories.
Tejada is atop the list of qualified hitters in batting average (.381) and is in the Top-5 in on-base percentage (.460), slugging percentage (.595), OPS (1.055) and doubles (6). He leads his own squad in all of those categories and trails only fellow shortstop Tyler Wade in the hits category.
He’s also produced at this level while shuffling around the diamond quite a bit. Tejada has seen time at third base (38.1 inn.), shortstop (36 inn.) and second base (17 inn.) — the same three he played down at Spring Training for the Yankees this past March.
Despite the former New York Mets shortstop’s hot start to what is essentially a “prove myself” type of stint, it’s still hard to decipher if he’s in the organization’s plans or is simply infield depth in the Electric City. His big chance at the major leagues opened up when Didi Gregorius went down with a shoulder strain but manager Joe Girardi chose Ronald Torreyes to fill the void and Pete Kozma to take the role as the backup when the regular season opened.
Given that Gregorius could return by this weekend’s series against the Baltimore Orioles, their depth at the shortstop position will be too high of a mountain for Tejada to climb unless a series of unfortunate injuries help boost him.
Nevertheless, this is a relatively interesting baseball story. Again, this guy got his career derailed by Chase Utley in the 2015 National League Division Series and has been fighting his way back ever since, with no success. Although it’s unlikely that he’ll break through with New York at any point in 2017, a team in need of a shortstop at any point from now until the deadline should keep a close eye on him.