A spring battle between Tejada and Flores is not quite a surprise, but I think a lot of us are surprised how close of a competition it has been. Back at the start of Spring Training, Tejada was in “the best shape of his life”. Then through some normal spring things, and not signing Drew, Flores was given a shot to blow us away with his skills. But he couldn’t take advantage.
This was true for both Tejada and Flores until the last week or so when they both have started to hit.
Tejada: 31 AB, 3 R, 7 H, 3 2B, 1 RBI, .226 BA, .273 OBP, .323 SLG
Flores: 41 AB, 9 R, 10 H, 1 2B, 2 HR, 9 RBI, .244 BA, .319 OBP, .415 SLG
The above are their season stats, which look a lot better through the lens that the most of the offensive production has happened in the last two weeks.
Tejada has made some good days this Spring but has also jumbled routine plays. Flores falls in the same camp. The offense production favors Flores and ultimately Flores plays routine defense, which is what you need when you put a bat in the lineup and cross-fingers for defense.
If I were the manager of the Mets, at this point I would start Flores and have Tejada as a utility fielder. They are similar-ish on defense and one (Flores) has a higher ceiling on offense. I rather see (read: pay to see) Flores figure things out at Short with Tejada as back up than see (read: pay to see) Tejada try to figure things out at the plate with Omar or Seratelli as a backup. If I was also the manager of the Mets, centerfield wouldn’t be a competition and Lagares would be out there every day.
Hopefully Terry does the right thing.
Or Sandy comes in and makes things more interesting (Drew, Franklin, etc…)