Oct 16, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Boston Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew (7) throws to first base but cannot complete a double play against the Detroit Tigers during the second inning in game four of the American League Championship Series baseball game at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Rubin: Mets Willing to Give Multi-year Deal to Stephen Drew

Mets fans angry over the team’s apparent frugality and unwillingness to give a second or third year to free agent should take solace in the latest news from ESPN’s Adam Rubin, who reported that while the Mets are willing to guarantee a multi-year deal for Drew, they are not going to acquiesce on agent Scott Boras’s latest demand: an opt-out clause after the first season.

Unable to find the $50-75 million dollar deal he was seeking at the beginning of the offseason, Drew wants the opportunity to immediately improve his free agent stock and re-enter the market after 2014, while also having the security of a long term contract.  But for the Mets, who are unlikely to be playoff contenders in 2014, an opt-out clause would make any deal completely nonsensical.

A two or three year deal might be beneficial for the Mets, and a one year tender would provide a risk-free boost for 2014.  A multi-year deal with an opt-out offers two outcomes: one only tolerable, the other decidedly negative.

Option number one: Drew has a great year in 2014 and puts up numbers similar to those he had with Arizona – around 15 home runs, .280 average, and an .810 OPS. The Mets still probably don’t make the playoffs and Drew leaves for a mammoth contract and never comes back. Option number two, the more dire one: Drew suffers a significant injury, as he has in two of the last three seasons,  or struggles mightily in 2014 and the next couple Mets’ offseasons are hampered by the presence of an overpriced shortstop on the roster. If he hits, he leaves, if he gets hurt, he stays. The Mets assume all the risk with no opportunity for reward.

Perhaps an argument could be made for including the opt-out clause if the Mets were in some sort of bidding war over Drew, but they’re not. In fact, they seem to be the only team currently in the mix for the free agent shortstop. Ben Cherington, general manager of the Red Sox, Drew’s former team, told ESPN’s Jim Bowden today that he does not expect to reach an agreement with the free agent shortstop before the start of spring training, and that he is only maintaining negotiations out of respect for Scott Boras.

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe recently wrote that the Mets are the favorites to land Drew, and no one other than Boras’ famed “mystery teams,” who may or may not exist seem to be serious contenders.

Bereft of other suitors, Stephen Drew is falling into the Mets’ lap. Without an opt-out clause, he could be a valuable and relatively inexpensive upgrade over incumbent Ruben Tejada.  With the clause, he’ll likely end up somewhere else.


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Tags: New York Mets Stephen Drew

  • Chuck

    The reason Boras wants the clause, OBVIOUSLY, is because we are low-balling him! Why else?

  • Ken Meoni

    Arizona is a hitters ballpark. You can not expect Drew to hit the same way in Citi. Besides his AZ years were a while ago and a few injuries ago. I would not sign him. To hell with Boras. Greedy agent.

    • Bill

      Exactly – I agree with every point you make here. Drew is not the answer for the Mets – don’t clog up shortstop with an average player when there will most likely be younger, better players to trade for shortly (see Arizona, Seattle, Texas) or better free agents after next year (see Oakland, Cleveland, perhaps Baltimore). Give Tejada one more chance – if he isn’t cutting it by June, get more aggressive in the trade market. Not that I have anything against Drew personally, but it is time that somebody suffers and exposes these huge greedy contracts.

    • Ken Meoni

      I agree with your additional points made.

    • Joe.02

      So, yet again, we will “wait” — the Mets have been “waiting” for years. There were various other SS names tossed out there that looked intriguing but apparently Sandy Alderson couldn’t get a good deal for them. I don’t want to pay him a “huge greedy contract.” If that is what it requires, I don’t want them to pay it. So, let’s get past that.

      “Shortly” by some reports is a year from now. If they obtain Drew for two years at a decent price, they can get something for him hypothetically next off season so it will not be “clogged” — so the Mets get him for the time being and in return for the second year will get something back. The return will be somewhat less than the second year price, probably, but that happens all the time in baseball. The team needs people now — half the line-up at least are ? marks.

    • Bill

      Actually, those “huge greedy contracts” is referring to turning down the 14M qualifying offers thinking they can (and usually do) get more. Drew may not, and will almost certainly not get a huge contract by any means, but it is time for somebody to get burned thinking they can get more than the QO.
      As for my other point, actually “shortly” could mean as soon as this year’s spring training flushes out. Arizona has a shortstop (Gregorius) that is far better than Tejada that played for them in the majors last year and one that could be better yet (Owings) that is knocking on the door ready for the show. It will be interesting to see how the D-backs resolve that. Also, with Seattle signing Cano, they have three guys that have all been rated top prospects at one time or another that are stuck for one position, altho I’m not sure Ackley is a shortstop. Nick Franklin and Brad Miller seem to be two players for one position – I think either would be an upgrade – prefer Miller, but Franklin has had a lot of hype over the last two or three years.

      Heck, go big – try to get one of the several infielders from Texas – Odor would be nice!

      With that all said, I wouldn’t mind a very team friendly 1 year deal for Drew – team friendly being $6 or 7M tops. I really agree that his offense would suffer with Citi Field, and much more suffering would put him in Tejada’s range.

  • Herb G

    Scenario 1: Drew has a great year and opts out. Mets make him a QO and get a 1st round pick when he signs elsewhere. Mets are in exactly the same boat as if they only signed him for 1 yr, which is what we heard they wanted to do all along. What’s so bad about that?

    Scenario 2: Drew gets injured or has poor season, and does not opt out. We are stuck with him for the balance of the contract. That’s no different than not having the opt out clause in the first place.

    The real difference is that, with an opt out clause, he would be more difficult to trade this July. If we’re signing him with the intent of shipping him out this July, we shouldn’t bother. But if Sandy really believes, as I do, that he could help us contend this year, and would be an asset in 2015 as well, he should give him his opt out clause in return for salary relief and make sure we can make that QO in the event he exercises the opt out.

    • Ken Meoni

      Question is, can the Mets make a QO on a player opting out?

    • Herb G

      If it is not specifically stated in the new CBA, the Mets can insert the language in Drews contract and he is free to sign it or reject it.

    • chums41

      Let Drew and Boras sell themselves elsewhere. Drew is a lifetime .264 hitter, whose average is trending downwards. It’s time to give a homegrown player like Wilmer Flores an opportunity.

    • Herb G

      You and I have disagreed before, and I guess we will disagree again. If I thought that Flores had a legitimate chance to win the starting SS job in spring training, I might feel differently. I believe they are giving him reps at SS in ST to determine if he can handle it without doing too much damage, and if he acquits himself he might get a utility spot on the bench, backing up Tejada in the event they fail to sign Drew.

      The fact is that I strongly believe that Drew is a significant upgrade over Tejada, at the plate, in the field, and especially in the clubhouse. If they do sign Drew, I’d love to see Flores get the UT job off the bench, instead of Tejada, but that won’t happen if Flores has poor range or looks clumsy at SS.

    • chums41

      Of course Drew is an upgrade over Tejada! Hell Herb, you’re an upgrade over Tejada. However, I never mentioned Tejada, I was focusing on Wilmer Flores. Wilmer worked assiduously this winter in a proven speed, quickness and agility program. If he can become even an average fielding SS, at age 22, his potential upside is considerable. He’s under team control for several years and we need to provide him with an opportunity to develop, rather than bringing in a one year rental like Drew. It’s February 11th and no MLB team has yet to make a serious offer for Drew. What does that tell you, Herb? The demand for him is weak, and that alone is cause for concern.

    • Herb G

      Actually, at my advanced age I no longer have the agility to play short. I could, however, still outhit Tejada. lmao

      Seriously, though, if I thought Flores had a chance in the world of being the regular shortstop on opening day, I might reconsider my position. But I don’t think it is even a remote possibility. If they serioously want to consider Wilmer for the job, after he has proven that he is up to it in spring training, they should let him play there regularly in Las Vegas. Then, if he looks like he is ready to handle short in the majors, they could trade Drew in July.

      The fact that Drew has not signed yet tells me that the loss of a draft pick (first round, for most clubs) is a serious impediment. Also, you know Boras is not the easiest guy in the world to deal with, and he is still holding out for the deal he originally set as Drew’s value. Drew needn’t be a one year rental, but if he is there are planty of good options in next year’s free agent class.

    • chums41

      Herb, I have absolutely no doubt you could outhit Tejada! Coupled with his .970 lifetime fielding average, convinces me that he is an adequate back-up, at best. Loss of a draft pick is common in virtually every free agent signing, so why are MLB teams hesitant to sign Drew? The Red Sox have pretty much bowed out of the Drew “sweepstakes.” Could we be bidding against ourselves? It raises a lot of red flags. Further, if Drew insists on the opt-out clause, a mid season trade, while not prohibitive, adds another layer of complexity. Let’s be honest, we’re not going to the playoffs in 2014, why not give Flores a shot. If it doesn’t work out, there are several free agent SS available in 2015.

    • Herb G

      Loss of a draft pick is common in virtually every free agent signing? Only 8 players associated with draft picks have been signed, while 5 remain unsigned. Moreover, 4 of the 8 were signed by the Yankees, who never gave a shit about draft picks anyway, since they make up their team with free agent signings. There have been over 200 free agents signed without the loss of draft picks, so my conclusion is that it is not quite as common as you seem to believe.

      There really doesn’t seem to be a “Drew Sweepstakes” and we certainly are not bidding against ourselves, since we are not bidding at all. This is a waiting game, not a bidding war, and if Sandy is playing his cards right, Boras and the price will eventually come to him. If not, nothing lost. Regarding the opt out clause, I’m not that concerned. My idea would be to offer him $10 million for 2014, with $6 million payable during the regular season, and a $4 million bonus payable 1 week after the opt out date if he is still a Met. That way he’d be very cheap in a trade and he could be moved in July.

    • RONBO19

      Dude, did you not see Flores in the field last year? The Mets moved on from him as a SS years ago.Ii don’t care how many jumping jacks or push ups he did over the winter, the kid is a terrible fielder period!

  • Joe.02

    I don’t really expect them to give him three years or even two with harsh conditions. I do think two reasonable. I don’t trust Tejeda. The team has too many question marks. Drew to me is less of a question mark than Tejeda. One year deals are hard to come by. Two with control will provide some coverage — they can get something for him if they wish to trade him after one year. The injury issue is noted but he still is likely worth something. I don’t think they should go crazy for him. But, one year or nothing would turn me off.

    [Herb's analysis on the qualifying offer seems reasonable]

    One factor is that net the team didn’t really do much for 2014. This is honesty — Colon covers Harvey and talk about 2015 question marks. Granderson amounts to the big signing. Young is an overpriced question mark. Byrd was a lucky break for 1/10 of the cost. There are other question mark outfielders out there less than 7M. Ike Davis is still here as is Duda. The offseason to me is at least one step from being truly satisfactory since this was THE year to really start doing something.

    Oh, 85 wins seems rather unlikely. That would be nice. But, .500 would be a bit better than you’d expect with the current line-up. To the extent Drew might give you a couple more wins and show the team will do more than make one signing (Granderson) and tread water, give the team some respect, I also trust him more than Tejeda who Sandy already badmouthed. I think they should do it. Respect that they should not go crazy on the guy. But, two years to me is fair.

    • Ken Meoni

      The Mets have not traded their surplus. That’s why this off season isn’t what it could have been. Not too crazy about the players they did pick up via free agency either. If they pick up Drew, that would add to that list. I live in AZ. The ball flies out of the park…….it doesn’t fly out of Citi. There is no way he will have a year like he did in AZ. Not to mention the injuries since. I’d rather wait for Cabrera next year or trade for him this year.

    • Joe.02

      I don’t know how the “fly out of park” issue affects the conversation here — looking at his stats, he had somewhat decent HR numbers for a few years at AZ, but even there he only had over 20 one year, much lower most years.

      I don’t expect him to be some sort of home run hitter. I expect him to a decent SS. That is not high expectations really but with a question mark in many positions, including a SS the general manager himself bad-mouthed, it’s worth it to me to obtain Drew for two years. Other SS options looked intriguing, but standing pat does not.

    • Ken Meoni

      I stand corrected……..you look to Drew for defense. Some people look at his batting. That’s why I talked about his hitting. Some people look at his power as an improvement over T. That is true. But will be less so in Citi. There was a time when T was looked at as a replacement for Reyes. He is a good enough fielder if he gets his head in the game. It really is up to him. I would like to see Flores get a shot somewhere. I don’t know if he can work out at SS.

      But there is a point where we will always agree……..the Mets need to pick up players that will help the team and not old has beens. They pretty much did that this off season. And the GM has pretty much said that is what they wanted to do. When a team doesn’t spend money for multiple years, you need to do so in a way that picks up players that will help for more then a few years. Also, the GM also shot his mouth off about T, before he had someone else to replace him. That does make this more of a mess as you have stated.
      Next year we will have our pitching in place and hopefully, the team will clear up alot of issues as far as position players.

    • Joe.02

      I look to him in general — I think he is a generally average player in both categories and was not aware that too many was looking for major power. This would be ill advised, since even in Arizona, looking at his career, he didn’t hit that many home runs. He had one very good year and a few decent ones in that department.

      Granderson is not an “old has been.” But, we agree that they need to do more in the position department (though you seem not to even appreciate him much). The only thing they really did besides him is Chris Young, an overpriced toss-in sort of player.

      Colon is a placeholder for Harvey and probably trade bait when someone else is ready. I think Drew would work as a placeholder of sorts too since the team is on pace to really be in contention next season, though if they got a bit more offense, they have a shot at a second WC or somewhere around .500, which would be a promising improvement.

  • Eric Kench

    I hope they don’t sign him. I want to see Wilmer Flores compete for the shortstop job.

    • chums41

      Great call Eric! This past winter’s speed and agility training sessions may not turn Flores into Jose Reyes, but could turn him into a serviceable fielding shortstop; one who can flat out hit. While Tejada’s lack of conditioning was this winter’s main focus, reality is that opponents simply adjusted to his soft line drives by moving in their outfielders. 2012 singles became 2013 fly outs. Flores, on the other hand, can rip the ball, is capable of hitting .280-.290, 12-15 HR’s and 30+ doubles. Is anyone else out there sick of seeing the Mets open an inning with an extra base hit, only to see him as another LOB stat?

  • Donald Arner

    At one point,I really wanted to see the Mets sign him.I know he’d be an immediate upgrade over Tejada,but…………..after thinking about it,and knowing that the Mets need more bats,think this guy is NOT the answer.If there are going to be more attractive free agents that play shortstop next year,tell him to take a hike.They aren’t going anywhere this year,so why waste the money on a guy like this?Take the lumps for one more year(which I know they really can’t afford,but IMO would be wise to),and go after a few more FA’s next year.Harvey will be back,Wheeler will be more experienced,and Snydergaard will up in the rotation also.The fans have suffered this long,why be stupid and give into Boras’s tactics??