Aug 26, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop Didi Gregorius (1) throws to first base over San Diego Padres right fielder Will Venable (25) at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

What Should the Mets do at Shortstop?

It was reported last night that free agent shortstop Jhonny Peralta was on the verge of agreeing to a multiyear deal with the St. Louis Cardinals.  Peralta, 31, was reportedly the free agent shortstop who was at the top of the Mets’ list.  With Peralta off the board, what direction should the Mets go in?

First, let’s talk about who shouldn’t be an option.

Ruben Tejada, 24, can’t possibly be the answer.  Last season, Tejada was a mess both in the field and at the plate, and fell out of favor with his manager and the front office.  According to Sandy Alderson, Tejada refused to put extra work in – making the fact that he landed in the doghouse completely explainable.

Tejada isn’t a complete disaster (he was serviceable in both 2011 and 2012), but he offers no power and fringy defense.  Last season, in addition to incurring the wrath of those in charge, Tejada had a triple slash of .202/.259/.260, and spent a chunk of the season in Triple-A before being recalled in September and breaking his fibula.

If Sandy Alderson hadn’t publicly questioned Tejada’s work ethic while noting that upgrading shortstop was one of his top priorities, giving Tejada another shot wouldn’t have been crazy.  At this point, though, the Mets handing the job to Tejada would be something of an embarrassment.

Another shortstop who has been discussed is Rafael Furcal, who may not even be ready for the start of the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery eight months ago.  Even if he’s healthy, Furcal is a shell of what he once was.  He shouldn’t be an option.

This offseason has long been the one that the Mets have been pointing to as the one where they’d have the wiggle room to make impact moves.

With at least $25 million left to spend on external acquisitions (according to what Sandy Alderson has said), the Mets need to add another outfielder and upgrade at shortstop.

One logical choice would be free agent shortstop Stephen Drew.  However, Drew is represented by Scott Boras and will cost whoever signs him a draft pick (in the case of the Mets, their second rounder).  I’d be all for Drew, but if the Mets balked at Peralta’s price, odds are that they’ll balk at Drew’s as well.

That leaves the trade market.

There have been reports (stemming from comments from ownership) that the Rockies aren’t open to dealing Troy Tulowitzki.  That’s all well and good, but it appears that Colorado’s baseball operations department would be open to moving him.  The Mets should make the call.

There have been reports that Arizona is open to trading slick fielding Didi Gregorius in order to clear a spot for Chris Owings.  Gregorius, who turns 24 in February, had a triple slash of .252/.332/.373 last season for the Diamondbacks in 404 plate appearances.  He hit 7 home runs, 16 doubles, and 3 triples, while driving in 28 runs and scoring 47.  The Mets should make the call.

The Rangers just acquired Prince Fielder, seemingly clearing a spot for top prospect Jurickson Profar.  However, there have been some reports that the Rangers could still deal Profar.  For the Mets to pry Profar way from Texas, the Rangers would have to be open to Noah Syndergaard as the centerpiece of the deal.  The Rangers may want an outfielder instead, but the Mets should still make the call.

As is noted above, what the Mets cannot do is head into 2014 with Ruben Tejada as their shortstop.  The Mets can either swallow hard and pay for Stephen Drew, or find a trade partner.


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Tags: Didi Gregorius Jurickson Profar New York Mets Troy Tulowitzki

  • Joe_Bourgeois

    They can’t start w/Tejada because it’ll be an embarrassment? So they should trade Thor?
    Sorry, no can do. They NEED to be embarrassed, repeatedly. It’s one more step toward new ownership.

    • Sam Maxwell

      If the Wilpons can’t hold onto the team over the long-run, it’ll work out that way. Being embarrassed because Ruben Tejada is once again the shortstop will not factor into whether or not the Wilpons hold onto the team.

  • Andrew Lloyd

    So, they’ve tanked the past 3 seasons building the farm…just to trade away its centerpiece (Syndegaard) because they’re too cheap to sign Drew? For, say, 4 years/$60M?

    If that’s the price to get a solid, B-level star at SS AND keep a future team rotation pillar – then where’s the controversy? Just do it. I’m sorry, the Mets’ only hope of a championship in the near future lies in the hope that Harvey, Wheeler, and Syndegaard can headline a dominant rotation. Dismantling that – even for Profar, when you can get Drew instead – is a shaky idea.

    4 yrs/$52M for Peralta was a missed opportunity. It wouldn’t even have cost them a draft pick.

    • Danny Abriano

      Syndergaard should only be on the table for a true difference maker. Profar qualifies. The Mets need impact bats, and the only likely way to get them will be to either pay $100 million or deal some of their young pitching.

    • Andrew Lloyd

      But why not keep him and just pay Drew? He’s also a proven major leaguer, which Profar isn’t. Just pay him his money and keep Syndegaard.

  • Bill

    Drew is not a good choice. He will be way too expensive for what he brings, and the extra draft pick makes it even worse. His numbers are just not good enough – lifetime .264 hitter which is HIGHER than he has reached since 2010. He has hit higher than .280 only twice in his career. Are they better than Tejada? sure, but certainly not worth 50 or 60 mil over 4 years. At this point a trade is in order. I think Jed Lowrie makes the most sense, altho he’ll be a FA after next year, so don’t give away the farm for him.

  • C.K.Rebel

    Cuban SS Aledmys Diaz.

    • Agee’s Catch

      Can’t sign him until February. Do you want to wait that long?

    • C.K.Rebel

      Yes. I’ll wait. It’s still prior to spring training.
      It puts Ruben Tejada on notice, and gives him instant competition, even if Diaz has to spend 1/2 a year in the minors.
      It’s about moving the team forward in the long run.
      I wouldn’t be opposed to signing Furcal to a 1 yr deal to mentor both of them, and then trade him at the deadline.

  • Ken Meoni

    To tell you the truth, I don’t care what happens with SS. A power outfielder is what am waiting for. Syndergaard should be off the table.

  • Herb G

    The only option presented above that I like is “not Tejada”. Not that I wouldn’t love to get Tulo, but I think it is amost zero probability. Profar or Andrus aren’t going anywhere either. Actually, Didi Gregorius or Chris Owings (whichever the Snakes would part with) wouldn’t be bad. Along with A.J. Pollack, who is also said to be available, it could be a very nice trade.
    Another practical alternative would be sending Duda and Tejada to the Rays (might have to ad a prospect) for Yunel Escobar. Good glove (5.1 dWAR over the last 3 years) and a better than average bat, he’d be a definite upgrade at SS. Other very good (and practical) alternatives would be Erick Aybar, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Jed Lowrie. I’d be happy with any one of them, as long as Sandy also acquires a big bopper for the other corner outfield spot.

    • chums41

      Why do we need a “big bopper” ? The Cards hit 127 homers last year. We need guys who can hit for average like Loney, than either Choo, Aoki, Cuddyer or Domonic Brown.

    • Herb G

      Chums – I didn’t say we need a team of big boppers, just one to provide protection for Wright. We need pitchers to stop pitching around David, fearing that putting him on base could result in two runs if whoever hits behind him blasts one.
      The Cardinals were winners because they were #3 in MLB in OBP. What is the Mets overriding philoophy this off season? Seeh highOBP players. BTW, the teams that were #s 1 & 2 in OBP last year were the 2 teams that faced off in the ALCS.
      I don’t know how you classify Choo or Aoki as big boppers, and Domonic Bown shouldn’t even be mentioned. Both Choo and Aoki have higher career averages and OBP’s than Loney. (Cuddyer’s OBP is higher than Loney’s too) The fact that Choo has decent pop doesn’t classify him as a big bopper. His game is built on OBP and speed, and he would be a great leadoff hitter for us. Given a choice between signing him or Loney, there is no choice – it’s Choo.
      All that said, if Alderson can acquire only one more outfielder this winter, I’m hoping for someone like Cruz, Granderson, Bautista, or Kemp, rather than Aoki. Choo would be the best of both worlds, but it seems he is priced out of our league. If both Davis and Duda are traded, I would be perfectly happy to sign Loney, although I would be equally happy with Cuddyer. (Maybe happier with Cuddyer due to his versatility.)

    • chums41

      I agree with most of what you’re saying, I just hate sacrificing 40-45 points on the batting average for a guy who is going to hit an extra 15 HR’s.And with the exception of last year, Loney has a better lifetime OBP. I do not see them being mutually exclusive as Cuddyer plays RF. But Granderson strikes out too much, Cruz is .268/.327 lifetime with PED issues and Kemp is a gamble. Regarding Davis and Duda, get rid of both of them as quickly as possible. Davis may end up having a decent career, but not if he remains a Met. As for Duda, he hits meaningless home runs to go along with a .230 BA. Trade him while we can still get something in return.

    • Herb G

      Good discussion!
      Grandy does strike out too much, but his career OBP is identical to Loneys, and his SLG is 67points higher. I’m takin’ Grandy.
      It’s true that Cruz’s OBP is 13 points lower than Loney’s, but his SLG is 74 points higher. Gimme Cruz.
      The net result is that both of them have over 60 points on Loney’s OPS.

    • chums41

      Agree to disagree on Davis, he is just as likely to hit .150 in the first half of ’14 and garner even less in return.I like Davis and think he could end up having a good career, but not at Citi. I don’t believe Loney and Granderson or Cruz need to be mutually exclusive, we could sign them both. Who do you think we would have to trade to get Cuddyer?

    • Herb G

      I think it would take at least Davis. We would probably need to add a prospect or two. As you know, I’d prefer to keep Davis, but I don’t think the Rocks would accept Duda.
      I agree that Loney is not mutually exclusive to Cruz or Granderson. If both Davis and Duda are traded, I would be very happy to sign Loney

    • chums41

      You are the Man, Herb G, always thoughtful, always thought provoking.

    • Herb G

      Oh my! Thank you very much. I’m flattered.
      Now, with the Rockies signing Justin Morneau, we can forget about trading Ike for Cuddyer. If you want Cuddyer, I think you are going to have to part with pitching.
      BTW, I write for Macks Mets occasionally. For some thought provoking discussions, you might check it out.

    • chums41

      While I get easily sidetracked, from Day 1, I have maintained the following:

      1. The Mets and Citi Field have messed with Ike’s head. I believe he’s beyond repair and would be better served playing for another team. If we keep him and he starts out poorly in 2014, his value will take a serious hit. We should use him as a piece in a multi-player deal to secure a big league SS. Not sure who (would welcome suggestions), but we need to man the SS position with a serious player. Love Quintanillia’s grit but it’s time for a serious upgrade.

      2. Duda is a mediocre fielding, “batting practice” hero. Trade him now and take whatever you can get.

      3. I like Satin, period. We need to find him some playing time at 1B or 2B

      4. Murph could be just hitting his prime (not saying he’s Joe Morgan, but Joe’s power numbers didn’t materialize till he was 30) and I could see platooning him, Satin and Eric Young at 1B and 2B.

      4. I like Choo and I hope the Mets are just posturing. His stats are unassailable, he’s been durable and it’s time we dipped our big toe back into the risk pool.

      5. If not Choo, than we need to explore a trade for Markakis. Rumor is he’s available. Not sure what package would make that happen.

      6. Sign Arroyo already. I know i have waffled on him, but he’s a 200 inning/year guy and would take pressure off of our young guys. Don’t want a repeat of Wilson, Pulsipher and Isringhausen.

    • Herb G

      Hey Chum. Always nice to get a post from you. You bring up stimulating points. Lets take them one at a time:

      1. I am not as sure as you that Ike is permanently damaged by Citi and a change of venue is the only way he will become productive. Hence, I’d like to see him start at Citifield this April. That said, I agree that an upgrade at SS is an extremely high priority, and the easy answer, using your premise, would be Ike to the Rays, either straght up or with a prospect, for Yunel Escobar. Cleveland could also be a landing spot for Ike, allowing them to move Swisher from 1B to the OF, and shipping Asdrubal Cabrera to Queens. Ike could also go the the Brewers, but not for Segura, their SS, who I don’t think they’ll trade. If they are willing to part with Braun, Ike could be part of the package. There was also talk of an Ike for Aoki trade earlier in the off season. But first we need to focus on a SS.

      2. Agreed. Duda doesn’t have the fire in his belly and we need to trade him,

      3. I like Satin too, but I’m not yet sure he is a major leaguer. If he is on the bench this year, which appears likely, you’ll see him get time at 1B, 2B an 3B.

      4. Murphy may be just hitting his prime, but I’d rather see him hit his prime in another uniform. He’s at top value now, showed he could play a decent 2B & 1B, and he’s a natural 3B. I’d build a package around him, and try to trade for a slugging outfielder. Toronto (Bautista) or LA (Kemp or Ethier) could use someone like our Murph.

      4. (this is your second #4) I like Choo too. I’d like nothing better than to see Sandy offer him 5 years and $95 million (AAV $18 mil plus a $5 mil buyout of a 6t year) or even go to $105, if necessary. But it looks like they are more interested in Granderson for fewer years and less money.

      5. I’m not emamoured with Markakis. He has a consistently negative dWAR and he doesn’t have as much pop as I’d like to get from a corner outfielder. (Don’t talk to me about EYJ. I want to see him at 2B next season.) That said, I’d gladly take him in a package with J.J. Hardy in exchange for Murphy, pitching and other prospects. We might have to surrender Gee or Montero in a deal like that.

      6. Yeah, I wouldn’t mind seeing Arroyo in the fold, but Sandy may do better to wait a while for prices for pitchers to come down. He might opt for a Feldman, or some other pitcher in order to have more flexibility in acquiring an OF or a SS. I mean even bringing Dice-K and Harang back might be a strategy that works.

    • chums41

      I like Ike, just think the Mets hitting coaches and/or hierarchy have derailed him. Good article on Hojo’s take on Ike and while many viewed Hojo’s comments as inappropriate, they were 100% accurate. Further, I have stated on numerous occasions that shortly after the draft, Ike’s Dad, former MLB pitcher Ron Davis, stated that Ike was not a true HR hitter, was more of a doubles hitter. To the best of my knowledge, Ron was not a meddling father and his advice should have been heeded. If you go back to 2010, his stats bear out that fact. Don’t know who on the Mets is responsible, but there insistence on Ike being a 30+ HR guy has clearly taken its toll. The main reason I want to see him traded is to set the poor guy free, as the right hitting coach will allow him to return to the .270 hitter with 20 Hr’s and 35-40 doubles that he was meant to be.

    • Herb G

      I don’t know if someone is “meant” to be a doubles hitter. It seems to me, you hit the ball and if it travels far enough, it’s a home run, if it doesn’t it is either caught or goes for a double. If Ike is pressing too hard to whack the hell out of the ball, and therefore swings and misses too much, that’s a flaw that a decent hitting coach should observe and correct. Maybe you are right, and staying in the Mets organization, he would never make that adjustment. But I sure would like to see him try.

    • chums41

      I respectfully disagree with your comment “I don’t know if someone is ‘meant’ to be a doubles hitter” David Wright comes to mind. He’s a much better overall hitter when he is not trying to uppercut the ball. What I believe Ike’s Dad was stating is that his swing was more suited to hit line drives and that bears out in his 2010 stats. We wouldn’t be having this discussion, if he continued to replicate his 2010 swing and stats.

    • Herb G

      I guess we are destined to disagree with one another. Look at your example of David Wright. The 2 years with his greatest doubles output were also the same 2 years with his greatest HR output. (30 & 33) David has a level, line drive swing, but that doesn’t prevent him from hitting home runs. IMO, Ike got screwed up by his prolonged slump at the start of the 2012 season. Who knows whether valley fever, or the previous year’s idle time after the collision injury, or the fact that he just got it into his head that he had to hit HRs to be of value, was responsible, but he was clearly pressing. That was demonstrated by the fact that he was hitting as many or more HRs as doubles, and that trend seemed to begin in his injury shortened 2011, which was his best stretch of hitting. After he returned from Las Vegas last year, it was apparent he was better balanced. Prior to going down with the injury he hit 11 doubles and 4 HRs, and as a result, his slash line was .286/.449/.505/.954, which I will take any day in the week. That’s why I think it would be foolhardy to give up on Ike just yet.

  • chums41

    Lowrey and Cespedes for Davis, deGrom, Tejada and Turner. If we need to sweeten the deal, we sweeten it within reason. It costs us roughly $8mm in 2014 and solves two problems. Next. we sign first baseman James Loney, elite fielder and very good hitter, and costs us 2 years at $8-10mm per. Enough with the whiney “we need a home run hitter crap” as the STL Cards were 27th in the league in homers last year. Finally we sign Pierzynski for 2 years/$12-16mm because d’Arnaud needs to prove he can stay healthy. The whole package costs us $25mm and the upgrade is substantial. Finally if we need to overpay, than we do, period! Clearly, Alderson’s perception of value this off season has proven incorrect. If overpaying translates into a 90 win season, the money garnered from the significant increase in attendance will offset and justify the over-payment.
    Finally, Syndergaard and Montero, off the table, period! Danny, if you mention either again, your Mest fan licence will be permanently revoked!!

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  • Angelo Vega

    i doubt the mets will bid for cuban ss aledmys diaz. they didnt try hard for cespedes they didnt try hard for yasiel puig or the other cuban 1st baseman i dont think they wanna overpay even though they already did with chris young..if i was mets gm seeing that they want to trade ike and ike needs a change of scenery especially to a hitters friendly ballpark…ill explore trading ike and duda to the indians for mike aviles i know he isnt a superstar but hes a pretty good shortstop better than drew or tejada i think hes a pretty decent hitter who knows what hes doing and knows how to play small ball..i would then platoon flores and satin at first base would try signing youkilis to minor league deal in case 1 of those 2 fail youk might not hit like b4 but he gets on base..for the outfield ill try going after raja davis that would give the team a leadoff hitter he stole 45 bases and ill see how much phil huges and joba chambailain are looking 4…1 thing ive learned watching a.j burnett is lousy pitchers that throw hard do better in national league

  • MrBBSMets6986

    Don’t want to give up Syndergaard.

  • ALAN

    Two chances of the Mets trading Noah Syndergaard….SLIM AND NONE!

  • wminaz

    As a DBax fan I know the team could trade Gregorious who is a great fielder and not a bad hitter. I wonder what the Mets could give up to get him ?