MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo reports that the Mets and shortstop Ruben Tejada have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one-year deal worth $1.1 million. Unless he ramps up his production with the bat, Tejada is a likely non-tender candidate either next off-season or after the 2015 season in his second and third years of arbitration eligibility.
Due to an unattractive free agent market for shortstops, the Mets appear committed to opening up 2014 with the 24-year-old Tejada as their starting shortstop. Tejada finished 2013 with a .519 OPS, the second-lowest among all Major League hitters who came to the plate at least 200 times during the regular season. Given that he is at best an average defender and doesn’t contribute much on the bases, he is most optimistically a replacement-level shortstop.
Cubs owner Tom Ricketts met the media in Mesa, Arizona today and said a couple of things that were fun.
First, he addressed the controversy that arose earlier this month when emails of his father’s — family patriarch Joe Ricketts — were leaked, showing him forwarding and approvingly commenting on racist jokes. Ricketts apologized for those serving as a “distraction” for the Cubs which, OK. He also said “Those aren’t the values our family was raised with… I never heard my father say anything remotely racist.” If you choose to believe that a 77-year-old conservative guy who loves racist emails — who once spearheaded an anti-Obama ad campaign that required a “literate African-American” as its spokesman — hasn’t said racist stuff a-plenty, that’s between you and your credulity.
More relevant to the 2019 Cubs is this:
The Cubs aren’t in the same position as some other contenders in that (a) they don’t have a cheap payroll; and (b) are not obvious candidates for the big free agents like Harper or Machado, but I still find that comment pretty rich for an owner of one of baseball’s marquee franchises in a non-salary cap league. If nothing else, it’s an admission by Ricketts that he, like the other owners, consider the Luxury Tax to be a defacto salary cap.