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.
Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal has not had a good postseason. Entering Monday night’s NLCS Game 3, he was batting .111/.238/.278 in 21 trips to the plate across the NLDS and the first two games of the NLCS.
Defense has also been an issue for Grandal. In Game 1 of the NLCS, Grandal was on the hook for two passed balls. In the sixth inning of Game 3 Monday night, he couldn’t corral a curve in the dirt, which allowed Travis Shaw to score the Brewers’ second run of the night. Starter Walker Buehler was charged with a wild pitch. In the eighth, with Ryan Braun on first base and Shaw at the plate, Grandal again couldn’t corral a pitch in the dirt, allowing Braun to move to second base. Fortunately for the Dodgers, Alex Wood was able to escape the inning with no damage.
Manager Dave Roberts said that Austin Barnes, not Grandal, will start behind the plate for Game 4 on Tuesday night, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. That comes as no surprise at all. When Grandal struck out with the bases loaded in the ninth inning, Dodger fans regaled him with boos.
Barnes will be an upgrade defensively, but he’s lacking with the bat. He had an 0-for-3 performance in Game 2, though with an RBI, bringing his career slash line in the playoffs to .200/.281/.300 across 57 plate appearances. During the regular season, his career 100 adjusted OPS is a fair bit behind Grandal’s 115. Roberts is trading offense for defense in Game 4. Rich Hill will get the start opposite the Brewers’ Gio González.