5/8/12

A Reese Piece - Let's Go Mess, Shortstop Edition

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OK, I take personal responsibility for the Ruben Tejada injury as I raised the question when Jordany Valdespin was farmed out what the over/under would be on the number of games before a crippling injury to Murphy or Tejada.  Apparently the answer was 1.

While you can't believe all you read in the blogosphere and twitterverse, the fact remains there is a certain gravitas I'm feeling about the "plan" to play Ronny Cedeño every day when he comes off the DL as scheduled on Friday.  Jordany Valdespin's taxi squad days may be brief before being ticketed either to Buffalo or the bench.  After all, in the "normal" roster, Tejada is the starter and Cedeño is the backup.  If Cedeño starts, then are they going to go with Turner as the backup or will they Krazy-Glue Valdespin's butt to the bench once again?  If so, that's a misuse of a young player's talents. 

During last year Valdespin put together a Reyes-like campaign in which he hit for power, average and stole 37 bases.  Yes, there are flaws in his game both defensively and on the basepaths, but he impressed the team enough to hang around for 42 Spring Training ABs including starting several games at a brand new position in CF while hitting .310.

What was his reward for this hard work and productivity?  6 PAs!  That's right...he got to swing the bat 6 times during his April/May tenure in Queens.  There were PITCHERS who got more PAs during that time period.

Of course, he has a reputation for immaturity and lack of plate discipline, but then too so did a guy from the Dominican who flew to Miami this winter.  He seemed to get on track pretty well.  There's no telling what kind of player Valdespin can become if he isn't playing. 

Now, I'm hoping that Tejada's injury is no more than a 2 week stint on the DL and the team can revert to the infield they had planned on using.  Even Cedeño can't kill the team in 2 weeks.  However, if they do keep Valdespin here for that period of time, the team would be a lot more interesting to watch if Cedeño was the one doing what he was signed to do -- sitting on the bench until a late inning defensive replacement is needed.

If Tejada is indeed the real deal and his strong finish last year coupled with a stronger start this year are not mirages, then there's still value in figuring out what Valdespin is capable of doing at this level.  You could trade him.  You could trade Murphy.  You could trade Havens.  You can't use all of them.  Burying him on the bench accomplishes nothing.  You're better off having him play every day in Buffalo and having a veteran infielder like Quintanilla up here who is not likely part of any starting major league roster now or in the future. 

All of that being said, I am fully expecting to see the Pirates' reject doing his Alex Cora impression until Tejada heals.  If so, then I'd check the front office to see if there are any Minaya sightings.

P.S.  My superpowers of prediction were at work once again...first the Tejada injury and now Valdespin's 9th inning heroics last night after I wrote this article.

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