So I spent some time on Omar Minaya’s conference call with reporters earlier this afternoon, and found out that Jose Reyes will be home “watching movies with his family” for the next 2-8 weeks and cannot elevate his heart-rate or perform any baseball activities until his thyroid levels stabilize.
That’s bad. Not downright terrible, I suppose, given how strange the whole vague thyroid news was, especially since Reyes’ agent Peter Greenberg stressed that the condition will be treated without medication and that doctors are certain everything will stabilize soon enough.
But it’s bad because a 2-8 week setback means Reyes will very likely miss Opening day. And the problem is compounded by the fact that, instead of having one of the best shortstops in the Majors hitting third and prowling the middle of their infield, the Mets will most likely have Alex Cora there.
Maybe they could weather Alex Cora’s weak hitting if he could save them some runs on the field. Or maybe he could make up for all those extra grounders he lets roll by if he knocked a few balls out of the park.
None of those things is likely to happen, though. Instead, Cora will just go on being the league’s most overpaid and overplayed replacement player.
The other option — and one Minaya alluded to on the call — would be to call up young Ruben Tejada to fill in at shortstop until Reyes is ready.
Tejada’s only 20 and he’s not a hugely regarded prospect, but he held his own in Double-A last year (especially considering his age), posting a .289/.351/.381 line and by most accounts exhibiting decent range in the infield.
The young Panamanian would complete the Seven-Nation Army situation I speculated about a couple of weeks ago, but I fear he wouldn’t hit very much at all. As decent as he was in Double-A last year, and even accounting for some improvement as he ages, Tejada’s only a year removed from a brutal .229/.293/.296 line in High A ball in 2008.
Is Tejada better enough than Cora on defense to make up for the difference offensively? I don’t know. I can say that after seeing a couple of Spring Training innings with Cora and Luis Castillo in the middle infield, I’d rather see just about anyone else out there when Citi Field opens in April, and I wouldn’t be surprised to learn Mike Pelfrey feels the same way.
It’s a bit more complex than that, of course. Tejada would have to be added to the 40-man roster, and though the Mets have an open slot now that Jay Marshall’s been sent back to Oakland, they may have been hoping to use it for someone like Hisanori Takahashi or, ugh, Jenrry Mejia. And I’m sure there are plenty of other mechanics at play that I’m not even considering.
Of course, none of that would matter if the Mets had signed a backup shortstop who could adequately back up shortstop. Certainly, no one could have predicted Reyes would miss time with a thyroid condition, but predicting Reyes to miss time didn’t exactly require a great soothsayer after the way his 2009 went down. And the Mets signed only Alex Cora to back him up.
But hey, great guy.