The Cardinals were in need of a shortstop after starting SS Jhonny Peralta suffered a thumb injury that required surgery a few weeks ago, and is not expected back until midseason.
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The Mets have released Ruben Tejada, the team confirmed on Wednesday.
Tejada was placed on waivers earlier this week. He went unclaimed.
Tejada played for the Mets for six years, hitting .255 with a .330 OBP and .688 OPS over 2,185 plate appearances.
He was due roughly $3 million this season. The Mets will pay roughly $500,000 to Tejada and he is free to sign with any team.
Mets GM Sandy Alderson told Marc Carig of Newsday that salary didn't play a big factor in Tejada's release (Mar. 16).
"Salary always plays a role in any player decision, I don't care what anybody tells you," Alderson said. "But it wasn't any greater factor in this case than any of the other issues that we needed to address."
Tejada was famously injured during the 2015 playoffs, when Chase Utley slid into him at second base while the shortstop was attempting to turn a double play. Utley broke Tejada's leg, ending his season. Tejada had been working back from the injury this spring, as Major League Baseball changed the rule regarding slides into second base after his injury.
David Wright weighed in on Tejada's release, via Adam Rubin of ESPN New York:
It's easy to point to the money being saved, but Ruben also didn't fit in with the projected 25-man roster. The fact is, despite his service time and folk-hero status last October, Tejada has always been a project, he's just an OK defender and he's never proven to be much of a pinch hitter. He's a nice, occasionally-useful player, best serving as a back-up infielder.
However, on this specific roster, in this specific camp, the Mets also have Matt Reynolds and Eric Campbell, among others, for that role, not to mention Wilmer Flores, Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera, all of whom can also play multiple infield positions. In other words, Tejada had no defined role - with a $3 million price tag to go along with it.