Yankees Pursuing Utility Infielder Ruben Tejada on MiLB Deal
The New York Yankees are looking to shore up their infield depth at the Winter Meetings by adding well-traveled utilityman Ruben Tejada.
George A. King III of the New York Post reported Tuesday night that the New York Yankees are considering bring former Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada on board on a minor league contract at the Winter Meetings.
The Amazin’s released Tejada during spring training last year after six seasons in the organization. He was quickly picked up by the St. Louis Cardinals. He spent the first two months of 2016 with the Red Birds, hitting .176/.225/.235 (24 OPS+) in 40 plate appearances before being cut loose again on June 1st.
Tejada was picked up by the San Francisco Giants just over two weeks later and played in 13 games for their big league club before being demoted in late-July and finishing the season with the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats. He put up a .156/.270/.250 (41 OPS+) slash line before being sent down.
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Things went a little better for Tejada in the Pacific Coast Leage last year, as he batted .303/.338/.413 in 155 plate appearances for the Cats.
At 27, Tejada is still reasonably young, and it is worth noting that he has been a useful MLB player in the past, mostly because of his prowess in the field. He has significant professional experience at short, second, and third, most notably serving as the Mets starting shortstop for several years.
I doubt the Yankees are counting on Tejada to play a key role in 2017, but he will presumably be given the chance to compete with incumbent utility infielders Ronald Torreyes and Rob Refsnyder for a bench role in spring training. The club took a similar approach last year by bringing in veterans like Pete Kozma, Jonathan Diaz, and Donovan Solano on minor league deals.
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If he does sign in the coming weeks, Tejada is most likely ticketed to be the starting shortstop for the Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre Railriders, at least until injury strikes. While he was kind of a mess during limited big league action in 2017, he has shown more skill in previous seasons, and there is little downside to bringing him in as a backup-backup.