There was no question about his athleticism he displayed as he lunged for baseballs. To his left. To his right. Behind him. In front of him. Wherever the ball went, he did. There wasn’t a baseball or opposing player that stood a chance against him. His throws were strong and accurate. Rey Ordoñez was an incredible defensive shortstop. The closest the New York Mets have ever come to seeing that again was in Jose Reyes.
There was only one problem with Ordoñez, he could not hit. With a career batting average of .246, you knew not to expect anything. At most he could do was bunt, but if you gave him a bat as wide as your dinner table, he would still not be able to hit. Just as balls found his glove on the infield, the opposite happened at the plate. They ran away from his bat. When he was at the plate, it was like he was a pitcher; a guaranteed out. He became blind. Few had pity for him, but tolerated the lack of talent at the plate because his glove made up for it. His glove helped push the team to the playoffs and eventually, the 2000 Subway World Series.
Fast forward to the present. The current situation for the New York Mets is reason for concern. The offense is still in need of power. Many fans continue to look at shortstop. They are split as to who should be at shortstop. Do you take offense over defense? Wilmer Flores versus Ruben Tejada seems to be an endless debate. After Friday’s debacle at shortstop, however, there is no question the answer should be defense. In other words, Tejada becomes your shortstop. Teach him the fine art of bunting. If you can prevent runs from the opposing teams by having a competent shortstop, you give your team a fighting chance to win a game. Even more so if you have a groundball pitcher such as Jonathon Niese and Dillon Gee. Defense is key. You need a shortstop that can make up for Daniel Murphy’s deficiencies at second base. Tejada is no Gold Glove winner, but he is more adept at the position.
I will always vote for a shortstop who is efficient at the position. A vote for defense, is a vote for infield stability which can translate to a team win.