Just two days after waiving Ruben Tejada, the Mets officially released the 26-year-old shortstop on Wednesday afternoon. Tejada, a career .255 hitter with an average glove, was due to make $3 million this season; the Mets will now pay him $500,000 to not play.

The timing of the move is peculiar, as Asdrubal Cabrera is considered questionable for Opening Day due to a strained left knee, but Mets GM Sandy Alderson quickly defended the decision.

“If we thought Cabrera was out for any extended period of time, it may have changed our thinking,” he told reporters on Wednesday, “but this was a move we had to make.”

Alderson added, “Contracts play a part in every decision we make about a player. But to say this was a controlling factor would not be true.”

Mets captain David Wright offered some kind parting words. “Ruben has produced many big hits for us and became an inspiration to this organization and the city during our playoff run last year. I will be rooting for Ruben and he will be missed.”

Tejada is now a free agent and can sign with whomever he pleases. The Cardinals were rumored to be pursuing a trade for Tejada, but talks with the Mets did not bear fruit.