Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada entered Saturday’s game against the Phillies with a .579 OPS and two career home runs in 1,340 at-bats. As Phillies center fielder Ben Revere homered on Tuesday, Tejada had been the newest owner of baseball’s longest active homerless drought. His last deep drive came on August 1, 2012 against Giants starter Matt Cain, 552 at-bats ago.
In the fourth inning, Tejada took a Kyle Kendrick breaking ball out to left field for a solo home run, increasing the Mets’ lead to 3-0, ending the drought. Coincidentally, the two most recent homerless droughts have been ended at Citizens Bank Park.
Per ESPN’s Adam Rubin, citing the Elias Sports Bureau, the latest king of the homer drought is Cubs catcher John Baker, who hasn’t homered in 426 at-bats dating back to September 4, 2009. Brewers starter Kyle Lohse has the overall longest drought at 434 at-bats, but he doesn’t really count since he’s a pitcher.
Tejada finished Saturday’s game 3-for-4 with an RBI single and a walk along with the homer, pushing his slash line up to .227/.349/.289 in 154 plate appearances on the season.
The Blue Jays announced on Friday that the club acquired outfielder Randal Grichuk from the Cardinals in exchange for pitcher Dominic Leone and minor league pitcher Conner Greene.
Grichuk, 26, became expendable when the Cardinals acquired Marcell Ozuna from the Marlins. With veteran Dexter Fowler in right field and Tommy Pham — who finished 11th in NL MVP Award balloting last season — in center, Grichuk was effectively pushed to the bench. He will get a shot at regular playing time in an outfield corner with the Jays. Grichuk has had solid numbers since debuting in 2014, but he hasn’t been able to recapture the magic of his 2015 campaign. Last year, he hit .238/.285/.473 with 22 home runs and 59 RBI in 442 plate appearances.
Grichuk will earn $2.8 million this season and will be eligible for arbitration for two more years before becoming a free agent.
Leone, 26, posted an impressive 2.56 ERA with an 81/23 K/BB ratio across 70 1/3 innings last season. The right-hander will earn $1.085 million this season and then will become arbitration-eligible for the next three years. Leone certainly helps bolster the Cardinals’ bullpen and may work his way up to high-leverage innings behind closer Luke Gregerson.
Greene, 22, was selected by the Blue Jays in the seventh round of the 2013 draft. This past season, with Double-A New Hampshire, Greene compiled a 5.29 ERA with a 92/83 K/BB ratio in 132 2/3 innings. He throws hard, but control has been a big issue for the right-hander throughout his minor league career. The Cardinals may think they can help turn him around.