With Jose Reyes on the shelf because of a thyroid problem, the Mets are suddenly in the position of figuring out who the Opening Day shortstop is going to be. (Does the circus ever leave town when you are a Mets fan?)
Alex Cora was signed to be the backup middle infielder and would seem to be the logical candidate to hold down the fort, but he is not particularly good at the game of baseball. There has also been some talk about giving 20-year-old prospect Ruben Tejada the job, since Reyes is not expected to miss more than a month or so.
I don't mind giving Tejada a chance, mostly because I'm curious to see how overmatched he will be. That sounds counter-intuitive, of course - no one seriously wants to see a young prospect fail at the major league level. Tejada is a little different. He has been young for every level he's played at anyway, and with Reyes signed for two more years, no one is seriously looking at him as an option until 2012. It doesn't seem that his standing in the organization would be damaged if he stumbles in April.
There was an interesting take on Tejada in Baseball Prospectus, which suggests that he has already reached his ceiling as a professional and that his development wouldn't be harmed by early exposure to National League pitching. This seems curious - when do you ever see a 20-year-old prospect with little to no room for future development? - but it also suggests that Tejada won't perform significantly worse than Cora anyway.
Tejada held his own during his Age 19 season, with a .289/.351/.381 line and 19 steals in Double-A Binghamton. Ideally, he would spend this season there again in 2010, but I have a feeling that he will be ticketed for Buffalo instead. I don't think that he is ready to play regularly at the Major League level, but 100 at-bats there may give the organization an indication of whether or not he is ready to handle Triple-A.