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J. P. Ricciardi: The Mets are happy with Ruben Tejada

In an interview with Boston sports radio, Ricciardi gave an update about Stephen Drew and the Mets' shortstop situation.

Christopher Pasatieri

In an interview with WEEI in Boston, Mets special assistant J.P. Ricciardi said that the Mets are happy with Ruben Tejada, and suggested that the Mets are still investigating the market on Stephen Drew. Ricciardi suggested that Tejada has worked hard in the offseason to regain his prowess at the plate from two seasons ago, but he admitted that Tejada struggled immensely with the day-to-day life of Major League Baseball last year.

It doesn't seem at all out of the realm of possibility that Tejada starts the year at shortstop for the Mets, as Sandy Alderson seemed to be warming up to the idea as the winter progressed, despite suggesting earlier in the offseason that shortstop was a point of interest for the Mets going into the Winter Meetings. This sentiment was echoed by Ricciardi, who said:

I think in Ruben’s case, he got a lot early in his career and I think he’s starting to realize that he has to work a lot harder than he has in the past, and he has. To his credit, he really has.

Ricciardi then spoke to the rigors of everyday MLB life by saying that Tejada had a tough time adjusting to the pace of the schedule:

A lot of [young players] don’t realize how hard it is to play every day... But as a young player, they get to the big leagues, some things happen for them and they forget how tough it is to stay there. I think he’s at that stage in his career. I think next year he’s going to be a better player than he was this previous year.

It certainly wouldn't be difficult for Tejada to improve from last year, as his abysmal .202/.259/.260 slash line and 48 wRC+ were well below the league average, even for a shortstop, and resulted in an extended stay in to Triple-A Las Vegas. After he returned to the Mets, he broke his leg.

The other implication here is that of Stephen Drew. The Mets have been linked to the shortstop, and his agent, Scott Boras, reportedly was trying to get the Mets back in the bidding on him. If the Mets are truly happy with Tejada's progress, it seems rather unlikely that they would push hard for the shortstop, although Ricciardi said that giving up a draft pick wouldn't be an issue for the Mets.