Tejeda back with York after short stint in minors

Patrick Strohecker
  • Isaias Tejeda leads the Revs with a .359 average in 43 games this season.
  • He was the 35th player in York franchise history to have his contract purchased by an MLB organization on June 21 by the Atlanta Braves.
  • He hit .256 with four home runs and 30 RBIs in 43 games with Class High-A Carolina.

In a matter of two months, York Revolution catcher Isaias Tejeda experienced both the positive and negative sides of the business of sports.

Isaias Tejeda belted his team-leading sixth homer of the season on Tuesday for York, a grand slam. The Revs still lost, 8-6.

On June 21, Tejeda was the first member of the 2016 Revs to have his contract purchased by a major league organization. The Atlanta Braves bought Tejeda's contract and sent him to High-A Carolina to play for the Mudcats. By Aug. 19, Tejeda was back in York. The Braves made some deals to acquire prospects, creating a log-jam in Carolina and pushing Tejeda out of affiliated ball and back into the Atlantic League.

What the 24 year old from the Dominican Republic realized was that baseball is a business. What you're told at the beginning of that business relationship isn't always how things will play out.

Development project: Signed by the New York Yankees, Tejeda spent the first five years of his pro career navigating the unruly waters of low-level affiliated ball.

From 2010 through 2015, he never made it past Class A, always struggling once he gained any sort of promotion into another single-A league.

By the time 2015 ended, Tejeda was released by the Yankees and became a free agent. He caught on with the Revs to start the 2016 season and instantly showed his potential, hitting .351 with six home runs, 15 doubles and 23 RBIs in 41 games with York. He was a key figure in York's run to the first-half Atlantic League Freedom Division title, one that he didn't get to see to the end once he had his contract purchased by Atlanta.

When he was sent to Carolina, the Braves told Tejeda they wanted to develop him over a couple years and take advantage of his versatility, which he displayed during his time with the Revs. To Tejeda's credit, he was giving the Mudcats and Atlanta everything they could've hoped for. He hit .256 with 10 doubles, two triples, four home runs and 30 RBIs in 43 games with Carolina. Sure, his average dropped some, but he showed signs of hitting for power and driving in runs when called upon.

Then, Tejeda felt the wrath of being part of an organization in a complete rebuild when the Braves traded Eric Aybar to the Detroit Tigers, in exchange for Mike Aviles and catching prospect Kade Scivicque.

At just 23, Scivicque was sent to the Mudcats, creating an overflow at the position and leaving Tejeda as the odd-man out.

"I wasn’t expecting that," Tejeda said before Tuesday's game against the Sugar Land Skeeters. "But, they traded Aybar to the Tigers for a catching prospect and the catcher was supposed to be playing at High-A, so nobody was expecting it."

Isaias Tejeda rejoined the York Revolution on August 19 after being released from the Atlanta Braves' Class High-A affiliate, the Carolina Mudcats, after the Braves made a trade that sent a catching prospect to Carolina, leaving Tejeda as teh odd-man out. John A. Pavoncello photo

Back to York: After the shock of his release subsided, and without any other real options, Tejeda turned to the only other place he knew he could go — York.

Tejeda called manager Mark Mason and he told Tejeda that the team would welcome him back. Tejeda bolsters a Revs' lineup that, even without him, continued on just fine, maintaining the best overall record in the Atlantic League.

"We feel bad that he’s back, but we’re also happy he’s back for us," pitching coach Paul Fletcher said on Tuesday night, while serving as manager because of Mason's absence. "It makes the whole lineup better. It helps everybody. Gets us back into spots where we originally had hitters and makes our team better hitting-wise.”

While playing within an MLB organization has its benefits and is what every independent player strives for, regardless of how low of a class you're in, for Tejeda's development, he might be better suited being back in the Atlantic League. With York, Tejeda will face guys who have played at much higher levels than High-A ball, including former big leaguers, Class AAA guys and former Mexican League standouts.

Since returning to the Revs, Tejeda has picked up where he left off, increasing his batting average to .359 over the course of two games.

While the dream to get back to playing with an affiliated organization still persists for Tejeda, right now, his goals have shifted.

"We’ll see what happens," he said about his future. "I’m going to keep playing here and see if I can get a job in a minor league affiliate for next spring training. ... I’m excited to be back. We already made the playoffs and I can’t wait to play in them and get the championship.”

— Reach Patrick Strohecker at pstrohecker@yorkdispatch.com