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Actually, Mets Are Fine at Shortstop

Posted By Howard Megdal On June 6, 2012 @ 9:28 am In Today's Mets headlines | Comments Disabled

So you’re probably wondering why the Mets haven’t traded for a shortstop already.

After all, an Omar Quintanilla error led to a Washington run in last night’s game. After replacing Quintanilla, a pair of Jordany Valdespin errors at the position helped Washington tie the game in the tenth inning. And while this was happening, Ruben Tejada had a setback in his rehab, exiting a Buffalo game early. He’s heading back to Port St. Lucie for further rehab.

(This is neither here nor there, but since the Mets swept the Marlins from April 26-28, leaving Miami with a .205-hitting Jose Reyes, the former Met is putting up a line of .317/.406/.380. I mean, he’d be a big help.)

But look: Jose Reyes isn’t walking through that door. I mean, he is, but he’ll be playing for the Marlins. And Jordany Valdespin is not a shortstop. He’s not an anything, really, which is why projecting him as someone who can help the Mets requires him to be a much better hitter than he’s been to date in his career.

But let’s not paint Quintanilla with the same brush. He’s a quality defensive shortstop who made a mistake. It happens.

Assuming Ronny Cedeno returns soon, the Mets have a pair of shortstops who can provide plus defense at the position. (If Cedeno doesn’t, they can always turn to Oswaldo Navarro, who will do the same.) My guess is that Quintanilla has the better bat, based on minor league production and a ton of plate appearances from Cedeno absent said production. They aren’t stars. They are a significant step down from Tejada, let alone Jose Reyes. But they are capable shortstops.

And who exactly would the Mets bring in? Anyone would be a presumably short-term answer, because the Mets want Tejada to be the guy, long-term, at the position. So how much are the Mets going to give up in talent for a marginal upgrade over Quintanilla/Cedeno for a few weeks? And why on earth wouldn’t they use that bounty to get a fifth starter backup instead? Since Chris Young has made one start and all, a quarter of the way to his 2010 and 2011 season totals of four starts each, it behooves the Mets to have a Plan B there.

But let’s hope the Mets don’t go out and get another Mike Bordick, especially since Bordick has been retired for years. They need a first baseman with an OPS+ higher than 39. They need a full complement of relievers. Comparatively, hard as that may be to believe, they’re set at shortstop.


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