Considering Tejada owned a respectable park-adjusted 91 OPS+ and 0.6 dWAR in 2012, the Mets' faith in the young infielder was well-founded.In 2013, however, Tejada and the shortstop position became a major point of contention. The 23-year-old's batting average and OPS+ dropped 87 and 42 points, respectively. Tejada also fell prey to a myriad of injuries -- including a broken right fibula on September 18 -- limiting him to just 227 plate appearances.
Tejada's replacement, Omar Quintanilla, didn't fare much better. Quintanilla hit to the tune of a .222 batting average, 70 OPS+ and just two home runs in 359 plate appearances. His fielding was worth only minus-0.5 dWAR to boot.
Even though manager Terry Collins insisted Tejada wouldn't be tossed aside, claiming, "[The shortstop] job is his [in 2014]," it's likely the Mets will target a shortstop in the offseason. And if that's the case, free agent Jhonny Peralta would be a perfect fit.
Peralta, who owns a career 101 OPS+, was in the midst of yet another productive campaign in 2013. The 31-year-old posted a .303 batting average, 119 OPS+ and 11 home runs, while also gloving a 0.7 dWAR too.
But in early August, Peralta was suspended for 50 games after being named in the Biogenesis scandal. And when Peralta returned in September, Jose Iglesias had long cemented himself as the starting shortstop.
In an effort to get his bat in the lineup, the Detroit Tigers have used Peralta at both shortstop and in left field throughout the playoffs. Considering the veteran has hit .417 with a 1.125 OPS and five extra-base hits, Peralta has been one of the team's biggest spark plugs in October.
Given his regular season, postseason and career accolades, signing Jhonny Peralta would solve a lot of issues for the Mets. Ever since allowing Jose Reyes to walk after 2011, the Mets have needed solace up the middle. Between Ruben Tejada's ineffectiveness and injuries, he should no longer be viewed as a "Plan A" option at shortstop.
Needless to say, Peralta would be a significant offensive upgrade over Tejada. The Dominican Republic native has enjoyed nine straight years of double-digit home runs, hitting as many as 24 in an individual season.
Age hasn't caught up with Peralta, either. Over the past three seasons, the 31-year-old has owned a combined 107 OPS+ -- which is six points above his career rate.
And while Peralta may not have the hardware to prove his defensive skills, the shortstop can competently field his position. In fact, since 2003, Peralta has accumulated 4.7 dWAR.
Without a major league-ready farm asset waiting in the wings, there doesn't appear to be an internal solution at shortstop for the New York Mets. Unless the Mets ink Peralta or acquire another known quantity, the team might once again be faced with below league-average shortstop production.
Ben Berkon is a freelance sports, humor, and tech writer/blogger from New York City. Berkon's work has been featured on The Huffington Post, The Onion, Bleacher Report, Bloomberg Sports, SB Nation, Medium and Rising Apple. He's [unfortunately] been a Mets follower his entire life.
Follow him at @BenBerkon.
- Sports & Recreation
- New York Mets
- Ruben Tejada
- Jhonny Peralta