Jordany Valdespin Snubbed as New York Mets Sign Infielder Omar Quintanilla

Ash MarshallSenior Analyst IJanuary 3, 2012

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL - FEBRUARY 24:  RY 24:  Jordany Valdespin #63 of the New York Mets poses for a portrait during the New York Mets Photo Day on February 24, 2011 at Digital Domain Park in Port St. Lucie, Florida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

The New York Mets signed 30-year-old Omar Quintanilla to a minor-league deal on Wednesday. The thinking was that Qunitanilla will offer the Mets infield depth and a left-handed bat off the bench.

But once again, the team has overlooked home-grown Jordany Valdespin.

Quintanilla was once a top prospect, but he's had a mediocre major league career, failed an MLB drug test and appeared in just 11 big league games over the last two years.

Quintanilla has no power, little plate discipline and zero upside. He hit .045 in 11 games with the Texas Rangers last season.

The Mets have no money; I get it. But this move is dragging the team backward when they should be doing everything they can to make even the smallest improvements.

If there was ever a time to give Valdespin a chance to show he has what it takes to compete at the top level, now is it.

The 24-year-old advanced to Triple-A Buffalo this season, setting career highs in home runs (17), RBI (60) steals (37) and runs (69) between two levels.

Valdespin isn't going to be a .300 hitter, but there's no reason he can't hit .270 for the Mets. With his combination of speed and power, it's inexplicable that the Mets would invite Quintanilla to spring training with a view to giving him the backup role when they have a left-handed bat right there in the system.

Valdespin has accumulated just 107 at-bats above Double-A, and that must have factored into the decision making. But whether Valdespin outperforms Quintanilla down in Port St. Lucie in March, there's no question he's already the better back-up shortstop option.

He'll be in the majors by the All-Star break anyway, so why not give him a vote of confidence right now and let him know that the club has faith in his abilities and sees him as a valuable piece in the rebuilding puzzle.

The Mets have effectively told Valdespin they rate him below an aging, no-talent veteran. I can absolutely see the argument that Valdespin could use more hacks in the minors, but New York needs to make strides now.

If the plan is to give Valdespin regular at-bats with the Bisons, do that for two months and then pull the trigger. Stick with the Justin Turner-Daniel Murphy combination at second and use Turner as your regular backup for when Ruben Tejada needs a day off.

Quintanilla will make zero difference to this club. He brings no excitement value, and he sure isn't going to put bodies in seats at Citi Field. He will be languishing in the minors by the end of the season, and the Mets will look back at this date and ask themselves what they were thinking.