The New York Mets will add shortstop Matt Reynolds to its playoff roster in place of Ruben Tejada, who suffered a fractured fibula after a controversial slide from Chase Utley on Saturday, according to several reports.
Surprise, surprise… Matt Reynolds — not a member of the taxi squad in Florida — will be added to the Mets’… http://t.co/NHmNTxGVIZ
— Adam Rubin (@AdamRubinESPN) October 11, 2015
Well, sounds like the Mers have their replacement: Matt Reynolds. The shortstop is expected to join team and fill in for Ruben Tejada. — Marc Carig (@MarcCarig) October 11, 2015
Reynolds, 24, is one of the Mets’ top prospects. Drafted in 2nd round of the 2012 MLB Draft, Reynolds has been often talked about as a potential long-term fixture at shortstop or second base for the Mets.
Tejada reportedly beat out Reynolds in Spring Training as Wilmer Flores’ backup and enjoyed a rebound season in 2015. However, the aforementioned slide from Utley on Saturday evening that injured him has drawn scrutiny from around the league.
As profiled by Amazin’ Avenue prior to the season, Reynolds was able to ascend from the doldrums of inconsistency to a promising future with the Mets. Struggling out of the gate, Reynolds worked on his swing with hitting instructor Rick Strickland after the 2013 season.
His work paid off instantly, as he posted his best season in the minor leagues in 2014. Splitting time between Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Las Vegas, Reynolds hit.343 with six HR and 61 RBI in 126 minor leagues. The turnaround proved that Reynolds’ abilities went beyond just his highly-regarded defensive skills.
According to Baseball America, Reynolds’ efforts in 2014 ranked him as high as the Mets’ 12th best prospect after the season.
While Reynolds was not able to replicate the robust batting average from 2014, he enjoyed another strong season in the minor leagues. Spending most of 2015 with Triple-A Las Vegas, Reynolds hit.267 with six HR and 65 RBI in 115 games. He also suffered an elbow injury in early June that cost him several weeks of action, according to ESPN New York.
According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, the Mets quietly had Reynolds getting prepared, just in case.
“Turns out the Mets quietly a week ago had Matt Reynolds come to Port St. Lucie, Florida, to work out with the other players who are staying in baseball shape there. They had wanted Reynolds as a contingency in case an injury just like this had occurred.”
While many may find it strange for the Mets to call up a player who has no MLB experience — to play in the postseason, no less — the team simply had no other viable candidates to fill in at shortstop. As noted by Sports Media 101, the only two options the Mets have to play at shortstop are Flores and Kelly Johnson.
However, Johnson last played shortstop nine years ago before appearing at the position for one game earlier this season. As for Flores, he will now take over the reins at shortstop full-time after the injury to Tejada, so the need for an actual shortstop became crucial.
One other option in the Mets organization to play shortstop is veteran Juan Uribe, who was acquired alongside Johnson earlier this season. But he suffered an injury to his chest towards the end of the regular season. Uribe, who Johnson called the ” kind of a bridge between everybody,” was ruled out for the NLDS against the Dodgers.
Uribe’s status for any future series if the Mets advance in the postseason is still unknown.
As noted by Rubin (via Elias), Reynolds becomes just the second baseball player in the modern era to make his MLB debut in the postseason. The first player to do so was Mark Kiger for the 2006 Oakland Athletics.
The Mets still need to make a 40-man roster move to add Reynolds to the roster. But as noted by Rubin and Marc Carig of Newsday, the Mets could either cut ties with left-hander Eric O’ Flaherty or put Tejada on the 60-day DL.
[Images by Rob Foldy, Stacy Revere, Sean M. Haffey / Getty Images]