PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- From Daniel Murphy to Jon Niese, Dillon Gee to Bobby Parnell, the Mets have spent the past nine months wiping their roster of many of their longest-tenured players.
Add Ruben Tejada to the list. The Mets, who placed Tejada on waivers Monday, released him on Wednesday.
The Mets are now responsible for only one-sixth of Tejada $3 million salary for 2016.
The end of Tejada's tenure with the Mets was a scenario that seemed plausible at the start of Spring Training, but far less likely after Asdrubal Cabrera suffered a knee injury that thrust his Opening Day status in doubt. The Mets have two other middle infielders -- Wilmer Flores and Neil Walker -- on their active roster, and they can carry No. 10 prospectMatt Reynolds as a reserve until Cabrera returns.
Still, Tejada represented a significant source of depth for the Mets, particularly considering the uncertain nature of Cabrera's injury. New York is instead likely to lean on Reynolds and corner infielder Eric Campbell, who becomes a strong bet to make the Opening Day roster. The move saves the Mets a bit of cash that they can use later this season, perhaps prior to the Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline.
Tejada, 26, had been in the organization since signing as a 16-year-old out of Panama a decade ago. He became the starting shortstop when Jose Reyes left for Miami following the 2011 season, but he struggled through injuries and inconsistency -- a .253/.322/.318 slash line -- the next three seasons. Along the way, manager Terry Collins and general manager Sandy Alderson openly criticized Tejada's work ethic.
But Tejada slimmed down two offseasons ago, and after the Mets named Flores their starting shortstop, Tejada worked his way back into the infield rotation with his best campaign in four years. Starting most days down the stretch and into the postseason, Tejada ultimately suffered a season-ending leg fracture when Chase Utley slid into him at second base during National League Division Series Game 2. He watched the rest of the postseason run on crutches.
"He came in [to Spring Training] in great shape," Collins said after Tuesday's 8-6 win over the Marlins. "He played very well. He swung the bat good. We'll just wait to see what's going on."
Overall, Tejada was a .255/.330/.323 hitter in six seasons with the Mets.