With the free agent frenzy about to get underway, some information came out today regarding a few Red Sox free agents who may be of interest to the Mets.
According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Red Sox will be making qualifying offers (roughly $14.1 million) to shortstop Stephen Drew, outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, and first baseman/catcher Mike Napoli. The Mets have a protected first round pick, so the qualifying offer situation is of little consequence. Of those three players, both Drew and Ellsbury should be of interest to the Mets.
There will probably be some who think Napoli could be a good fit for the Mets as well, but I highly doubt they’ll be interested in him. The only reason Napoli is a free agent, is because the three year deal he initially signed with the Red Sox prior to the 2013 season was reduced to one year after his physical revealed that he had a chronic hip condition.
The Mets aren’t expected to seek an external answer at first base. If they change course and end up attempting to upgrade the position from the outside, it’s doubtful they’ll sign someone who has a chronic medical issue.
Both Drew and Ellsbury, though, could be fits.
Ellsbury, who is due to have an MRI on his hand in the coming days (his injury is expected to heal on its own), has dealt with his share of health issues over the last few seasons. Any team that signs him would be taking a risk. However, Ellsbury is younger than Shin-Soo Choo, is a far better defender, has tremendous speed, and would slide right into the leadoff spot in the event he signed with the Mets.
There are rumblings that the 30 year old Ellsbury will receive the second largest free agent deal this off-season (with Robinson Cano expected to net the highest), and it remains to be seen if the Mets will bid on him.
Drew, a plus defender who will turn 31 prior to opening day, could also interest the Mets. The team wants to upgrade the shortstop position, and both Drew and Jhonny Peralta could be options. This season for Boston, Drew had a triple slash of .253/.333/.443 in 124 games, to go along with 13 home runs and 67 RBI’s. It’s anticipated that Drew will receive a three year deal worth between $30 million and $36 million.
Drew doesn’t hit for a high average, but plus defenders at shortstop who have pop are valuable commodities – and Drew qualifies.