Now I’m straight trolling.
I’ve noticed a lot of Mets fans throwing around Fernando Tatis’ name when listing the players that have stunk up the Mets’ bench in the past couple of years, and that’s not really fair. I covered this during the offseason: Tatis has been a valuable reserve player for the Mets for the past two seasons. He’s certainly not an ideal starting first baseman — a role he’s been thrust into due to injuries and ineffectiveness at various points in the past two seasons — but he’s a player worth having on a reasonable contract.
The Mets signed Tatis to an $850,000 contract this offseason — less than half of what Alex Cora got, and without any vesting option. He has struggled so far this season, posting a .706 OPS across a small sample of 54 plate appearances, but look a little closer: His batting average on balls in play — .250 — is well below his career .309 mark and he’s hitting at least as many line drives as he ever has.
Tatis’ struggles are likely a sample-size blip, and though it’ll likely take him a while to get enough hits for his stats to normalize a bit, his rough start doesn’t make him any less apt to produce moving forward. Certainly he’s aging, and at some point it will stop seeming wise to hang onto an old utility player, but as long as he is demonstrating decent plate discipline with some power and the capacity to play almost anywhere on the diamond, he’s a guy worth having.
He doesn’t belong lumped in with the rest. Even to this point in the 2010 season, Tatis can boast a 0.3 WAR, placing him solidly ahead of Cora, Gary Matthews and Frank Catalanotto, all of whom have marks below the replacement-level.