Mets infielder Ruben Tejada has been placed on waivers, multiple sources said on March 15.
In six seasons with the Mets, he hit .255 with a .330 OBP and .323 OPS, while playing mostly shortstop and second base.
What happens now?
Interested teams have until late Thursday, March 17, to put in a claim on Tejada.
If a team claims Tejada, they get him and his entire $3 million salary for 2016, after which he is eligible to become a free agent.
If Tejada goes unclaimed, the Mets are expected to release him and would be responsible for paying just $500,000 of his $3 million salary.
Why is this happening?
It's easy to point to the money being saved, but Ruben also doesn'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 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 has no defined role - with a $3 million price tag to go along with it.
How will this play out?
It's possible the Mets work out a trade with the Cardinals, who will need a replacement for Jhonny Peralta for April and May. It seems crazy to think St. Louis will give up anything of value to get Ruben, especially since he could be a free agent in a few days. But, it's also possible a team could claim him or he chooses to sign elsewhere when free. So, if the Cardinals see him as a fit, it could make sense to at least offer up something in trade to get a deal done. In either case, Tejada will not be on the Mets roster by this weekend.
Personally, I'd rather a trade go down, because I think it looks better for everyone involved. The Mets front office must consider how popular Ruben is in their clubhouse. He's been there a long time. The game is a business, we all know this. But, my hunch is his teammates would prefer to see him exit in a respectable way (like a trade) as opposed to being tossed out like yesterday's garbage.
Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | About Me) started MetsBlog.com as a project in college, generated 300,000,000 page views and 30,000 posts in 10 years, partnered with SNY and turned his hobby into a career. In 2011, SNY hired him to be Executive Editor and Dir. of Digital Content for their network of team sites, video content and podcasts.