The Cardinals purchased a much needed insurance policy for shortstop going into the 2016 season.
Last week, Ruben Tejada was released by the New York Mets after roaming the shortstop position in the metropolitan area since 2012. During the offseason, the Mets signed Asdrubal Cabrera and traded for Neil Walker to play the middle infield at Citi Field. Wilmer Flores who is also another year older and turned some heads in 2015 with 16 homeruns, will also compete for playing time in the middle infield.
The Tejada signing is a perfect move for the Cardinals. He signed a 1 year, $1.5 million deal, making him a low risk high reward signing. Tejada has played 431 games at shortstop in his career, making him a perfect candidate to fill in for injured Jhonny Peralta who will be out until June with a hand injury.
Bernie: my deep-dive look at new Cardinals SS, Ruben Tejada — a solution or just a mediocre placeholder? https://t.co/fa0dhmxYvy
— Bernie Miklasz (@miklasz) March 19, 2016
Currently, Jedd Gyorko, Greg Garcia and Aledmys Diaz are fighting for the opportunity for playing time while Peralta is out but none of them has truly claimed the position. Gyorko can’t seem to find his rookie season form, Garcia has not risen to the occation in the past making manager Mike Matheny skeptical to give him the job and Diaz has yet to make his MLB debut.
Tejada is a plus defender, an upgrade above all of the possible candidate. He also has the most experience playing shortstop and knows the position very well.
Tejada is also the most consistent hitter of the 4. He has the ability to draw walks and does not strike out a lot. He hit .261/ .338 /.350 last season with 23 doubles showing he is not a liability at the plate.
Tejada isn’t the all-star shortstop that Peralta is but he is not expected to be. The Cardinals needed an upgrade over their options at shortstop and they got it with the Tejada signing. Still expect Tejada to bat low in the line-up and be pinch hit in big opportunities but he is definitely an upgrade over Gyorko or Diaz while Peralta is out.