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The St. Louis Cardinals signed recently-released Ruben Tejada to play shortstop while Jhonny Peralta is out

The St. Louis Cardinals signed recently-released Ruben Tejada to play shortstop while Jhonny Peralta is out.

Cardinals press release

The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they have signed free agent shortstop Ruben Tejada to a one-year deal for the 2016 season.  Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Tejada, 26, was batting .278 (5-18) with a home run, triple, double and five RBI in eight Spring Training games with New York (NL) before being placed on waivers and becoming a free agent this week.

Last season, Tejada batted .261 (94-360) with three home runs, 23 doubles, and 28 RBI in 116 games for the Mets.  In September, he hit .340 (17-50) with one home run, four doubles and six RBI while recording a .411 on-base percentage in 25 September contests.  His September average was tied for the seventh-highest in the National League (min. 50 at-bats).

The 5-11, 198-pound Panama native made his first career postseason appearance in the 2015 National League Division Series, but suffered a broken right fibula in a collision with Chase Utley, and did not play the rest of the postseason.

Tejada owns a career .255 batting average and 99 doubles in 580 games over the last five seasons with New York. Over the course of his Major League career, the middle infielder has appeared defensively in 431 games at shortstop, 118 games at second base and 19 games at third base. 

Originally signing with the Mets as a non-drafted free agent in 2006, Tejada made his Major League debut on April 8, 2010 at 20 years, 219 days old to become the youngest player to start a Major League game at shortstop since B.J. Upton (20 years, 40 days old) on September 30, 2004 for Tampa Bay.  He appeared for Panama in the 2009 World Baseball Classic and 2000 Little League World Series.

With the signing of Tejada today, the Cardinals’ 40-man Major League roster currently stands at 40 players.  Tejada will wear uniform #19.

Brian Walton’s take

This is one of the least surprising moves of the spring. The Cardinals needed a shortstop and Tejada was available. No prospects were lost to acquire him and becoming a reserve when Peralta returns should not be an issue. This also allows prospect Aledmys Diaz to play every day at Triple-A and show more about his true MLB potential and Jedd Gyorko to return to his original role as an infield supersub.

According to the AP, the contract is a guaranteed deal for $1.5 million. Before being released by the Mets, Tejada was set to earn $3 million this season. He received just under $500,000 from New York upon his release.

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Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.


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