Phillies release former Mets infielder, Chase Utley rival

Phillies (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Phillies (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

Just hours before Freddy Galvis is set to make his first appearance in a Philadelphia Phillies uniform since the 2017 season at shortstop, the club parted ways with a fellow 31-year-old infielder — who notably made headlines with legendary second baseman Chase Utley during the 2015 National League Division Series.

According to The Morning Call’s Tom Housenick, the Phillies released nine-year veteran Ruben Tejada on Wednesday. Spanning 72 games at Triple-A Lehigh Valley this season, the infielder slashed .231/.341/.262 with five doubles, one triple, zero home runs, 15 RBI, 32 walks, and 46 strikeouts.

Once the Phillies acquired Galvis nearly a month ago via trade with the Baltimore Orioles, the writing was clearly written on the wall for Tejada that he would not see big-league action in red pinstripes this season. The Phillies likely held out on releasing Tejada until they knew Galvis would be healthy. As recently as late July, Tejada led the IronPigs in on-base percentage among players with at least 3.1 plate appearances per game played.

As Freddy Galvis returns, the Phillies released Ruben Tejada

A native of Panama, Tejada has played just big-league six games since the 2017 season. After spending 2018 with the Orioles’ Triple-A affiliate, the longtime New York Mets infielder from 2010 to 2015 made a comeback with the team in 2019 but was let go after a half-dozen games.

The Phillies signed Tejada in early May to help fill an infielder void with their Triple-A affiliate. His best season came in 2012 with the Mets, in which he slashed .289/.333/.351 with 134 hits, 26 doubles, 25 RBI, 27 walks, and 73 strikeouts spanning 114 games and 501 plate appearances.

As the Mets continue to landslide, a National League East division that once seemed a lock for them is now anything but. The Mets last won the division title in 2015, the same postseason that Utley, then of the Los Angeles Dodgers, received a suspension after a slide that broke Tejada’s leg.

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Without Tejada, the Mets ultimately lost to the Kansas City Royals in that year’s World Series and have just one postseason appearance (2016, Wild Card) since. The Phillies, of course, have not played Red October baseball in a decade. There is still time for that to change in 2021.