Sunday, February 26, 2012

Joey's Post-Game: The Tejada/Collins Summit

Ruben Tejada showed up to camp yesterday on time, but on time wasn't good enough for manager Terry Collins, who expressed disappointment and called for a meeting with the new Mets shortstop this morning.

I'm Studious Metsimus roving reporter Joey Beartran and here is my report and commentary on the Ruben Tejada/Terry Collins Summit.

According to Adam Rubin, Tejada wanted to show up to camp early, as his manager wanted, but had problems obtaining his visa from the Panamanian embassy, which was closed for a few days.  Perhaps the embassy employees had to report to their own manager early or had to close the shop to play a hockey game on the roof.  Regardless, Tejada should have not left his visa issue to the last minute, especially since it was important to his manager for him to arrive early.

This wasn't the only time that Tejada didn't do what his manager asked him to do, as Collins wanted his shortstop to spend a chunk of the winter at the Mets' complex in Florida.  Collins was hoping for Tejada to work with his strength coach and to familiarize himself with Daniel Murphy, who will be his double play partner in 2012.

To this, Tejada responded that he already worked with Murphy as a double play partner in 2010, albeit for a brief 20-game stretch, when both players were members of the AAA-Buffalo Bisons.  As for getting stronger, Tejada said that he used his own personal trainer in Panama, and that he is now feeling "a little bit stronger".

This reporter would like to remind you that Ruben Tejada hit no home runs in 328 at-bats in 2011, and has one home run in 544 career at-bats in the major leagues.  His .314 lifetime slugging percentage is just slightly higher than former Met shortstops Rey Ordoñez (.310) and Rafael Santana (.307).  Therefore, if Tejada hits an inside-the-park homer in 2012, he will have surpassed his 2011 home run output and doubled his lifetime total.  He'll have to be a little more specific when he says he got "a little bit stronger".

For all we know, his quote could mean that he expects to elevate his power from Rey Ordoñez levels to Felix Millan levels.  (For those not in the know, Millan slugged .337 in five years as a Met from 1973 to 1977.  He did this by "blasting" eight home runs in 2,677 at-bats in New York.)  Who needs Terry Collins' strength coach when Tejada's own personal coach can give him one-in-a-Millan power?

That fearsome stance.  The way he holds his bat.  Nothing screams power more than Felix Millan.

Ruben Tejada is only 22 years old.  He was born on the same day Jonathon Niese and his original nose were celebrating their third birthday.  He has a lot to learn about what it takes to be in the major leagues.  Not all of that learning takes place on the field.  Some of it has to do with taking instructions from your manager.  Ruben Tejada failed his manager twice by not showing up to camp early and by not working with his double-play partner and the team's strength coach in Florida.

Tejada is not Jose Reyes, nor should anyone expect him to be.  But he is a major league baseball player, and major league baseball players are supposed to conduct themselves a little better than Tejada is right now.  Ruben Tejada might be feeling "a little bit stronger" now.  What he should also be doing is feeling "a little bit wiser".  He'll have to work on that as well if he wants to be an accepted part of Terry Collins' team.


Joe Spector said...

Felix Millan was the first Met I can remember my dad telling me about and the first time I had the delusion that even I could be a major league ballplayer someday. Man I sucked.

Ed Leyro (and Joey Beartran) said...

I modeled my batting stance after the Kitten when I was in little league. Maybe that's why they turned me into a pitcher eventually, so I would get fewer at-bats.