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Ruben Tejada likely to stay, but Mets could trade him before Opening Day

He projects as a backup infielder to start the season, but a trade could happen.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Ruben Tejada, the erstwhile starting Mets shortstop who currently projects as a utility infielder, is likely to stay a Met. However, he could still be playing elsewhere by Opening Day. Tejada is far more likely to be traded than released if a transaction occurs, though.

Tejada became expendable after a flurry of offseason moves brought Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera to the Mets. Those pickups—plus Wilmer Flores's bat against lefties and the possibility that Matt Reynolds or Dilson Herrera could see time as well—meant Tejada no longer has a grip on a roster spot.

Though the Mets settled with him on a $3 million contract, they would only owe him a fraction of that if he's released before Opening Day. If Reynolds or Herrera excels this spring, the Mets could move on from Tejada, At the moment, though, he appears likely to stay in New York.

Coming off a gruesome leg injury in the playoffs that necessitated a rule change on takeout slides, Tejada is looking to re-establish himself. He has solid on-base skills, with a 9.3% walk rate last season that is somewhat inflated due to batting in front of the pitcher. His 95 wRC+ last season was just about league average for a shortstop. His defensive work has a reputation as steady but received no love from any advanced metric. Though range stats are notably unreliable for just a single season, his -11.5 UZR/150 and -15 defensive runs saved don't paint a particularly pretty picture. Nevertheless, he is capable of backing up at second, third, and short.