Sunday, April 29, 2012

3 comments Tim Smith Thinks Ruben Tejada > Jose Reyes

I'm all about optimistic thinking. When a great player leaves one of my favorite teams I am always optimistic another player can come in and do a good job. I'm not insane though. When the Braves traded Mark Teixeira to the Angels, I knew Casey Kotchman was not going to replace Tex's production. Even in a small sample size I knew it was probably an illusion if Kotchman played better for the rest of the 2009 season than Tex. No matter how much I wanted it to be true, Kotchman didn't replace Tex. On a similar note, Tim Smith thinks the Mets are better off with Ruben Tejada over Jose Reyes. Financially maybe, because Reyes was expensive to re-sign. As far as performance on the field goes? No. Jose Reyes is a better baserunner, is a true leadoff hitter and has more power than Tejada. They are just different players. I'm not saying Tejada can't become a good player in the future, but the Mets would be better off with Reyes in the lineup over Tejada right now.

If Tejada is excited, nervous or anxious about Reyes coming to town, he did not show it before the Mets played a doubleheader against San Francisco on Monday.

I'm not sure why Tim Smith thinks Tejada would be nervous. He played shortstop a good amount last year, says in this very article he thinks of shortstop as his natural position, and it isn't like he is being individually matched up with Reyes. I think Tim Smith is projecting the idea Tejada should be nervous onto Tejada, when this really isn't the case.

One non-article related point...the caption for this article shows Tejada throwing his bat down after striking out. The caption reads:

Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada shows passion for game as he tosses bat after striking out to end the fifth inning of the second baseball game of a doubleheader.

I enjoy how tossing the bat takes on a different meaning depending on which player is throwing the bat and how that player is performing. If this caption were written about Jose Reyes I can see it reading something like:

Mets shortstop Jose Reyes shows his frustration at his slow start to the season as he angrily tosses the bat after another inning-ending strikeout.

When a player is playing well and tosses the bat, it shows his passion for the game. Otherwise, if the player is poorly he isn't passionate about the game, but instead is just frustrated he is so terrible at baseball.

Of all the reasons why the Mets should have kept Reyes at Citi Field, Tejada has eliminated the biggest ones. He can field the position and he is productive with the bat.

Letting Reyes go to Miami was a good move for the Mets. I like Ruben Tejada. He can field his position and is productive with the bat, but he isn't Jose Reyes. Jose Reyes has had a tough start to this season, but he is also a true leadoff hitter who gets on-base, is a threat to steal bases, and still has power. I know you may be tired of me calling him a "true" leadoff hitter, but it is true. He has speed and gets on-base. Those guys are hard to find. Tejada is much cheaper and he has been off to a good start to the season, but he isn't Jose Reyes.

In his career-worst season, which was 2005, Reyes put up a .273/.300/.386 line. He had 60 stolen bases and 17 triples. His speed causes problems for the other team's defense and pitching staff. I respect what Tejada has done in his time as the Mets shortstop, but he is a completely different player from Reyes. Tejada gets on-base, but he isn't a true leadoff hitter and he doesn't have much speed. Tejada is replacing Reyes at shortstop, but that's the only way he is really replacing Reyes.

If the early results are any indication of what the future holds, the Mets aren’t going to miss Reyes at all.

I don't think the early results are any indication. Reyes has started off slow and even Tejada's numbers aren't exactly lighting the world on fire. As Tim Smith wrote this article Tejada was hitting .246/.324/.361. That's better than how Reyes was hitting (.215/.278/.354), but he also doesn't bring speed to the table like Reyes does and Reyes is going to improve on those numbers. Tejada's numbers are fairly well in line with his minor league statistics.

They’re better off without him.

No, the Mets are not better without Jose Reyes. They are better off not having to pay his contract, but they aren't better off without Reyes in the lineup.

The Mets can live without him. Tejada has softened that blow.

Of course the Mets can live without him. But the title for this article, "NY Mets are better off with Ruben Tejada instead of Jose Reyes, who fled for Miami Marlins" simply isn't true. When directly comparing the two players, the Mets would trade Tejada for Reyes in a heartbeat, all things being equal...which of course they aren't once we include salary into the equation.

Reyes has started the year far off his career numbers, while Tejada has started this year off at around the same pace as his career numbers suggest. Granted, Tejada is only 22 years old (so he could improve) but the last two seasons at AAA he hit .280/.329/.344 and .246/.314/.353. I realize Tejada is young and it is tough to compare him to Reyes, but his 2012 line of .246/.324/.361 is in line with his career minor league averages. Sure, he could improve, but Jose Reyes is a good bet to improve on his cold 2012 start as well, and once he improves his 2012 numbers should be much better than Reyes' 2012 numbers.

This issue will heat up this week. And it will be debated for the entire season. It will come up when Tejada slumps or when Reyes gets injured.

"When Tejada slumps?" He was hitting .246/.324/.361 as of the day Tim Smith wrote this article. If that isn't slumping, what will his numbers look like when he does start slumping?

And while the team has lost some of its “wow factor” that he provided out of the leadoff position and on the basepaths,

I like how Tim Smith dismisses stolen bases and speed on the basepaths as a "wow" factor and not something tangible that puts pressure on the opposing team's pitching staff. It's like he believes stolen bases and other results from the pitcher focusing on Reyes when he is on-base isn't really tangible in any fashion and can't result in runs being scored for Reyes' team.

I mean sure, Justin Verlander has that "wow factor" of striking a bunch of hitters out and not giving up hits, but I think Jaime Garcia is a comparable pitcher.

the Mets — the twinbill aside — don’t play a horrible brand of baseball.

This is all because of Ruben Tejada of course and has nothing to do with the fact any other Mets hitters who are hitting the ball really well. Sure, David Wright, Josh Thole, Daniel Murphy, and Kirk Nieuwenuis are tearing the cover off the ball at the plate, but that Ruben Tejada, boy his .246 average is carrying this Mets team right now!

Tejada said there isn’t a noticeable difference in the clubhouse now that Reyes is gone.

What? So you mean the person who is responsible for replacing Jose Reyes and will inevitably be compared to Reyes is downplaying the effect of not having Reyes in the clubhouse? This is shocking to me! There's no way Tejada could be lying since he has a vested interest in making it seem like there is no difference in the Mets clubhouse with him at shortstop instead of Reyes.

While both Tejada and Reyes have been playing under heightened expectations, Tejada seems to be faring better.

And of course, 17 games is the perfect sample size to determine how the rest of the season and the next three to four years will play out.

Though Tejada and Terry Collins started on a sour note when Tejada didn’t show up early for training camp, the manager has nothing but praise for the way Tejada has taken over the shortstop position.

Listen to this "praise..." Collins isn't exactly overflowing with praise for Tejada more than saying Tejada is pretty much what he expected him to be.

“I think the thing that’s been best is that he hasn’t tried to do more than he’s able to do. He hasn’t tried to live up to being Jose Reyes.

Translation: "Tejada is talented, but he is no Jose Reyes. We understand he is more limited in his skill set than Reyes was. Fortunately, Tejada hasn't tried to be as good as Reyes."

Offensively he’s the same guy we saw last fall,” Collins said.

Translation: "He doesn't steal bases, he hits for a decent average and gets on-base at an acceptable clip. We don't expect him to do more than that, and that's fine."

Tejada has tried to be more patience at the plate, which has shown in his on-base percentage.

What? Tejada's OBP is significantly lower than it was during the 2011 season. I don't think his patience has necessarily shown through in a higher OBP. Tim Smith is essentially making this up.

Giants center fielder Angel Pagan, who played with the Mets last season, said he had no doubt that Tejada could handle taking over for Reyes.

“I knew what he could do. He put on a few pounds and now he’s hitting homers.

Ruben Tejada has not hit a homerun in the majors since September 5, 2010. Angel Pagan probably isn't the best person to talk about how well Tejada is progressing since he doesn't seem to know Tejada has not hit any homers over the last two seasons. Maybe Pagan saw Tejada hit some homers in batting practice one day and this caused him to become confused.

It’s just a matter of the Mets giving him the chance to go out there and play every day.”

Which, thank God now that Jose Reyes is gone, Tejada can finally do. The Mets are better off with Tejada over Reyes anyway, right Tim Smith?

Tejada said he will embrace Reyes’ return as he expects most of the Mets fans will.

They booed him.

And then he will continue trying to play well enough to beat the Marlins and put some distance between himself and the Reyes comparisons.

There already is distance between Tejada and Reyes. They aren't the same player. The Mets would be better off with Reyes on the roster. Still, Tejada isn't a bad player, but there isn't any comparison between the two. They both play shortstop and Tejada doesn't bring as diverse of physical tools to the table as compared to Reyes. Tejada is only 22 years old, but right now Jose Reyes is still a better baseball player than Ruben Tejada. The Mets would be better off with Reyes, even if he is slumping right now.


rich said...

A Sunday post!?!?

First, clearly NFL teams heeded TMQ's advice to get a QB because two teams reached for them in the first round.

Nevermind that the position that teams most often reach for is QB, NFL teams just don't get it like TMQ.

They’re better off without him.

No, the Mets are not better without Jose Reyes. They are better off not having to pay his contract, but they aren't better off without Reyes in the lineup.

I think Smith's point is valid, he makes the distinction between "better" and "better off." The Mets are better off for a plethora of reasons (money, consistent lineup without Reyes' continual injuries, etc), but they are not a better baseball team.

It's like Howard. Due to his absurd contract, the Phillies are better off without him. However, this Phillies team is instantly better with him.

That said, the reasons they are better off have nothing to do with Tejada being an exceeding mediocre baseball player and so while Smith's contention is valid, the reasons he makes it are dumber than dirt.

"When Tejada slumps?" He was hitting .246/.324/.361 as of the day Tim Smith wrote this article.

To be fair, it's not a slump if that's about what he's capable of (not that it makes it any better).

But... then again Reyes is hitting like .220.

Still kind of on Smith's side - he's saying that Tejada has played "well enough" to soften the blow. Which may be overly optimistic, but sure.

And then he will continue trying to play well enough to beat the Marlins and put some distance between himself and the Reyes

And all the goodwill he had managed to store up is lost.

He's not playing well enough to beat anyone, he's barely playing well enough to be on a fucking MLB roster, let alone put "distance" b/w he and Reyes. He's not Reyes and he never will be.

Had the article been "Mets better off with Tejada" and talked about saving money for Wright, getting the young guys more playing time and ultimately how Reyes' injury concerns hurt the team (regardless of his contract), I would have agreed.

Hell, even saying that Reyes is 22 and isn't a complete shitshow at the plate is something I could stand behind.

But to say that Tejada is "putting distance" between himself and Reyes is one of the most incredibly insulting things I've ever read. Reyes has more talent and production than Tejada and this fact is undeniable.

If you want to look at Tejada in a vacuum, you can justify that he allowed the Mets to let Reyes go and that the Mets are better off for it. I actually think you can make this point.

To, mindnumbingly, compare the two players and say "see, the Mets are better off" is not a point you can make. Reyes is a better baseball player and you cannot make the argument that Tejada is playing on par or, even more indefensible, better than Reyes is/will be.

The Mets are better off without Reyes, but they'd probably be better off without Tejada too.

rich said...

And by "Reyes is 22" I meant "Tejada is 22"

Screw you beer and NHL Playoff games.

Bengoodfella said...

Rich, I am changing things up a bit at times now. Just to keep everyone off guard!

How dare you call a 28 year old QB a "reach." Weeden was a brilliant pick. Brilliant. Not only did he play in a QB friendly offense in college, but he is also older than your average rookie QB. Who can beat that.

What I was saying is Tejada is capable of hitting .246/.324/.361, so that is him not being cold. When he gets cold though, what is he going to hit? I think I was being fair, I was merely trying to point out Tejada doesn't tear the cover off the ball right now and if he takes a step down is he going to be hitting .220/.310/.349 or something? So I didn't mean to indicate he was slumping now, I was saying when he does slump he is going to be even worse at the plate.

I can see your Howard comparison pretty well. All things being equal, the Phillies are better off with Howard, but they aren't equal. What I am saying is Reyes is slumping and Tejada is hitting around the point where he is projected to be hitting for this year based on his past numbers. Once Reyes gets going, which he should do, he will probably surpass Tejada's stats.

My larger point was that Tejada and Reyes aren't even similar players, so they shouldn't be compared. Reyes is a natural leadoff hitter, which Tejada isn't currently a natural leadoff hitter. They are just two different players, so directly comparing them and saying the Mets are better off without Reyes over Tejada b/c he isn't on par with Reyes.

The Marlins wish Reyes was 22...