Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Overshadowing the Mets' loss to the Braves on Tuesday night in Atlanta was the sight of Jeff McNeil pulling up lame and grabbing his hamstring after trying to leg out an infield hit in the ninth inning.
McNeil walked off the field with a noticeable limp and said after the game that he "felt a little snag" and was hoping it was just a cramp.
But while the Mets got good news after McNeil's MRI, he has been placed on the 10-day IL.
Tejada has been activated to take McNeil's spot on the roster. But the short and potentially long-term roster and lineup ramifications and scenarios go well beyond a simple Tejada for McNeil swap.
There aren't really any great ones due to the fact that the Mets are so limited because of a lack of depth in Triple-A and current injuries to Brandon Nimmo, Dominic Smith, and Robinson Cano.
Tejada is up, but that doesn't necessarily mean he will play every day.
Most days, the Mets have six positions set (Wilson Ramos at catcher, Pete Alonso at first base, Amed Rosario at shortstop, Todd Frazier at third base, J.D. Davis in left field, and Michael Conforto in right field). And with the Mets' six healthy regulars producing, the situation isn't dire. But it's far from ideal.
By calling up Tejada instead of Dilson Herrera (who has experience playing corner outfield), the Mets are likely committing to the recently-signed Joe Panik and Tejada splitting time at second base, while Juan Lagares continues to man center field.
Despite Lagares' offensive explosion on Tuesday night, he's been close to a non-entity with the bat this season. And the same can be said for how Panik has performed this year and how Tejada (who hasn't played in the majors since 2017) has performed in the majors.
It should also be noted that Aaron Altherr (hitting .125/.154/.292) really has no place on the current roster. It would be wise for the Mets to replace him as soon as possible to give them a better bat off the bench (Herrera) or even to simply give them some speed (Rajai Davis).
This is where the Mets could get some good news.
If McNeil is out longer than 10 days, the Mets could potentially get a reinforcement in the person of Brandon Nimmo.
Nimmo, who has been out since May 21 due to a back injury, could begin a rehab assignment in the next week or so, MLB.com's Anthony DiComo reported on Wednesday.
If Nimmo is able to return to the majors by the end of August or so and McNeil is still out, Nimmo's presence would bolster the lineup while also providing the Mets with a left-handed bat to help provide more balance with three other left-handed hitters on the shelf. And Nimmo returning with McNeil still out would allow the Mets to return Lagares to the bench.
If Nimmo and McNeil are both healthy and able to return to the lineup down the stretch, the Mets can use Nimmo in center field and McNeil at second base -- giving them arguably the best starting lineup they've had all season.
Looking further down the road, there is also the potential that Dominic Smith (foot) will return. But with Smith still traveling with the team and not having started any rehab activities, he is almost certainly further away than Nimmo.