Four months after having his leg notoriously broken by Chase Utley with a slide during the NLDS, there's the possibility that infielder Ruben Tejada does not make the Mets Opening Day roster, writes Matt Ehalt of NorthJersey.com.
Tejada will likely break camp with the team, reports Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, who says it's more likely he'll be traded than released if the Mets leave him off the roster.
The Mets four infield positions currently have starters penciled in. While Wilmer Flores appears set to serve as the team's utility infielder, a role that Tejada was initially vying for on this roster before the additions of shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera and second baseman Neil Walker.
"I don't make the decisions here so that's why I try to stay positive all the time. Last year, I didn't start early in season, but later I played more and things went different for me," Tejada said. "They know what I have to do here and I try to play hard every day and do my work every day."
Beside Flores, the Mets bench seems poised to include Juan Lagares as the fourth outfielder and Kevin Plawecki as the backup catcher. Outfielder Alejandro De Aza is in a similar position as Tejada, with an unknown role. However, given his offseason contract, De Aza is expected to remain on the roster as a bat off the bench, at the very least.
That will leave Tejada fighting for the last spot on the roster. Manager Terry Collins hinted that Eric Campbell could be Tejada's biggest competition, saying that he has a "very legitimate" chance to make the team given his experience playing the corner infield and outfield positions.
"As we get into camp we'll make the judgments of who needs to fit in where," Collins said "We certainly haven't sat down and etched any particular role out for anybody.
Tejada, 26, hit .261 with a .338 OBP and 28 RBI in 116 games played last season between short stop, second base and third base.
Tejada is in position to make the roster, but that could change very quickly.
The way it stands, the bench has to include Flores, Plawecki and Lagares. Tejada and De Aza are the wild cards. And, a lot depends on how Flores looks at first base, and if a team is willing to trade for De Aza.
The fact is, Flores can play all the same positions played by Tejada, plus Wilmer is a more productive hitter and has experience at first base. The Mets also have Campbell, Matt Reynolds and switch-hitters Ty Kelly and Danny Muno, all of whom also play a combination of the same positions filled by Tejada and Flores.
The point is, it's all very unclear, which was more than evident Sunday when Collins stammered during his press conference with reporters who asked about Tejada's role. He kind of had an answer, but left it very much up in the air. But, I guess that's what March is for…