Will Ruben Tejeda Become the Next Angel Pagan? (And Sad Postscript on Matt Harvey)

There were murmurs about his attitude, his alleged low baseball IQ, the player’s sulky and self-absorbed clubhouse demeanor. The problems, we were to infer, ran deeper than the numbers in the box score. He was not a fit moving forward. From those reasons it was understood that Terry Collins and the Mets braintrust had made a decision:

Angel Pagan had to go.

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And so he went, in one of Sandy Alderson’s rare trades that involved players on active MLB rosters: Angel Pagan and cash in exchange for Andres Torres and Ramon Ramirez.

The trade was met with shock: “The Mets had cash?”

Kidding aside: Let the record show that the trade struck me as perfectly fine at the time. I accepted the fate of Pagan, a talented guy who didn’t work out. Happens. Though I never liked Andres Torres, not even a little bit, I hoped that Ramirez would make a solid addition to a bedraggled bullpen. Sometimes you have to flush the system. Thumbs up. The pen needed the rebuild and, well, Angel had to go. Right?

Of course, in 2012 Angel Pagan put up a pretty good season for the Giants, and amazingly ended up 32nd in MVP voting (I shit you not), tied with Chipper Jones, Miquel Montero, and Hunter Pence with one misspent vote apiece.

All of which is preamble for my real subject of the day, the Mets’ 23-year-old bad boy, formerly known as “a great kid,” wayward Ruben Tejeda.

Forget Lindsay Lohan’s media troubles. If anybody needs to fire his public relations firm, it’s Ruben Tejeda. He’s lost the media war. For a couple of years, Ruben was the kid who played the game right, bright and innocent, working deep counts, making the most of his skills. Steady and reliable and smart. Easy to root for. Homegrown.

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Yet all that acquired good will circled the drain this spring, suddenly he was fat and lazy and he didn’t care. Now the club would rather run Omar Quintanilla into the ground — a shortstop with no future with the Mets — instead of giving young, chastened Ruben the slimmest shot at redemption.

An interesting turn of events.

We know that Ruben is not great, and will never be. But it’s not impossible for him to return to the form of his age-22 season — .289/.333/.351 with 26 doubles in only 114 games — and perhaps even improve upon it by a notch or two.

It could be that he’ll become a steady, unspectacular player for some other team, or teams, for years to come. However, that team is likely not going to be the New York Mets.

And you know what? I’m okay with that.

And if someday a misguided writer casts a stray MVP vote in Ruben’s direction, well, shrug, we’re all going to have to live with it.

It’s time to aim higher.

NEWS ITEM: MATT HARVEY ON DL. “Noooooooooooo!”

My college son texts me, “We just can’t win.”

This morning I wrote a rough draft for a blog post for later this week. Here’s one part of it, below. Look, I think injuries happen, especially to pitchers who throw hard sliders. That’s a tough pitch on the arm. So I don’t want this to be about blame. But nonetheless, this is what I was thinking this very AM:

>> Remember how Terry talked about how tired David Wright was, how Terry had to somehow find David a day off somewhere in the schedule. Maybe next Tuesday in Chicago, etc. But he just couldn’t, you know. Even when Wright pulled up with a tight hammy, there was still no rest, no adult in the room. Well, that worked out great, didn’t it?

In Monday’s Daily News, Collins said this about Wheeler and Harvey:

“You’re trying to win games, we’re trying to put people in the seats out there, and having Matt Harvey out there every give days helps us. We still know down the road we’ve got to keep this guy healthy. You back off the bullpens, you back off the running program a little bit, so he’s not so fatigued.”

Ditherment, thy name is Mets.

Here’s the deal with Harvey. He should have 3-4 more starts left, about 25 innings, and that’s it. Done. There’s nothing else to say. The idea that there’s value in finishing out the entire season is total and complete bullshit. This is Wright’s captaincy all over again. The talking, talking, talking. <<

Moving on, it’s worth clicking here at Craig Calcaterra’s post on Hardball Talk about “the blame game.” Money quote:

No, Harvey getting shut down and likely needing surgery doesn’t appear to be a matter of the Mets abusing Harvey or some awful mechanical flaw. It’s just a matter of pitching living to break your heart. Maybe someday there will be a viable theory that predicts and can help prevent elbow injuries in pitchers, but for now it just feels like chaos and sadness. A chaos and a sadness that seems to have visited Mets pitching prospects in disproportionate fashion over the years.

 

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16 comments

  1. Eraff says:

    Tejada will have another opportunity to make his bones as a Major League Player…with or without the Mets.

    The interesting thing is that The Mets have a history of LOUD Whisper campaigns against their own players…their actions and their words actually betray their own interests because the are DE-Valuing Tejada…. they have done this with several players. Pagan is one…… Jordanny Valdespin is another. You didn’t need to put Jordanny on an MLB Roster to find out that he’s an asshole!… and you didn’t need to bring him to an MLB Roster to SIT. SO….you sat him…and talked about him….and talked about him….and now, NOBODY knows whether he can play!!!!!!…. but you have transformed him from being an asshoe to being THEEEEEE Biggest asshole in the world—and you’ve undermined him as a player as well. Hey…I’m not defending Valdy…really.

    So…now Tejada is Fat, Lazy, Aimless….. and WORTHLESS TO YOUR ORGANIZATION!

    It’s NOT the first time—It’s NOT the last time.

    I hate The Wilpon Ownership.

    • Jimmy126726 says:

      You’re exactly right, but you forgot to mention the whisper campaigns against Reyes, Beltran, and Delgado. I’m starting to think some people in the org have a bug up their *ss about Latin players, possibly because of Tony Bernazzard’s (supposedly) malignant influence for so many years.

      • The Latin players issue is such a tough topic to hit upon, since it’s a hot button and a harsh accusation to make. Small things make you wonder. The treatment of Ike is different, yet he also has demonstrated an upside that merits (to a point) more patience. In the end, I’ve never been able to fully go there, but obviously we’re seeing different values than in the Omar Minaya days, which maybe went the other way.

        Just win, baby!

        Thanks for your comment, Jimmy126726. BTW, are you related to Jimmy126826? Kind of looks like you.

  2. Michael Geus says:

    The continued banishment of Tejada is a strange one. It is not like Quintanilla is on fire. I’ve never been very impressed with Ruben, but if not him,who?

    I guess we find out in a few months.

  3. Eraff says:

    They could build some value in him with 35 good games…..maybe they’re chasing that Cherished PCL Crown….or maybe they just want to PLAY MEANINGFUL GAMES IN SEPTEMBER…in the PCL.

    • Michael Geus says:

      Now Tejada hasn’t done anything in Las Vegas to warrant a call-up either, he is not a victim (not that anyone suggests he is). And he was brutal in New York this year.

      A bad situation all the way around.

      I would understand the stance on Tejada a lot more if I wasn’t stuck watching Davis every day. The inconsistency is baffling. Tejada has one terrible half and is banished forever. Ike does it twice and it’s no issue.

      The first thing Ruben might want to do is hire Ike’s agent.

      • Tejeda got hurt at the end of May, so he was very bad (but not “Ike-Bad”) for two whole months. He has not torn up Vegas, and in fact slumped badly there until about two weeks ago. Meanwhile, Omar has gone about his job admirably, a true professional . . . who hits about .225 with only decent defensive skills. Ultimately, I see the SS position as an area where, ideally, the 2014 Mets could be greatly improved. Better defense, speed, and offense should not be hard to achieve. It’s an easy & necessary upgrade, as I believe we’re at the bottom of all MLB at this point.

    • I think he’s in the same boat as Duda. Collins feels an allegiance to Quintanilla. He won’t push Omar aside and hand the job back to Ruben — at least, based on his comments. Hard to imagine Ruben getting much time on the field.

  4. corey says:

    Sad part is at this point he is a million times more useful than turner, quintinilla, or duda. not saying he is gonna be the same level but kinda reminds me of carlos gomez. we get a lot of youg guys with potential, never let them play then tell the world they suck and watch them suceed somewhere else. Wilpon motto

  5. He could be a useful player on a team with a stacked lineup. But on this team, every single bit of offense is an absolute must. They just need more production. If he becomes Derek Jeter on some other team, I’ll deal with it.

  6. Also, Mike & I both like Juan Lagares’ glove in CF — and are willing to sacrifice some offense to keep him on the field — but you can’t make that call all over the diamond. Nice that the Mets should be getting offense from the catcher position, which helps balance things out. I think outfield defense is critical, especially at Citi Field.

  7. Michael Geus says:

    On Harvey, I agree that looking for a scapegoat here seems silly. Matt was being handled with kid gloves, stuff happens. Pitchers get hurt.

    It sucks, but that is life.

  8. Eraff says:

    This is a game of strong young men who cannot stay strong and young forever. There is Opportunity..”Shelf Life”…it doesn’t last forever.

    It’s a reminder to players…It’s a reminder to Mangement: You on On The Clock!!!

    Get started and get something done. Doing NOTHING is NOTHING.

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