Sep 10, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy (2) singles in the second inning against the New York Yankees at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Brett Gardner Extension An Example That You Can't "Wait" For Free Agent Classes

A familiar refrain used by those who don’t want the Mets to sign Stephen Drew is that the club should simply “wait for next year’s free agent class.”  The problem with that idea is that some or all of the shortstops who are eligible for free agency after this season may not get there.

Take today’s Brett Gardner extension as an example of what may happen to some or all of the high impact shortstops whose free agency is pending.

While he isn’t a shortstop, Gardner is a player some Mets fans talked about signing next offseason.  I wasn’t in favor of signing Gardner, but what the Yankees did by locking him up before free agency is something other teams will likely look to do with their key pending free agents.

Presently, Asdrubal Cabrera, J.J. Hardy, Jed Lowrie, and Hanley Ramirez are all slated to hit free agency after the 2014 campaign.

All four of those players would be an upgrade for the Mets, but there’s no guarantee that any of them will be on the market next winter.

The Dodgers have a bottomless pit of money and have spoken of their desire to retain Ramirez, and the Orioles and Hardy are interested in working out an extension.

The futures of Cabrera and Lowrie are less certain, but it wouldn’t be surprising if they were dealt during the season and signed extensions with a potential acquiring team.

It’s always fun to project who may be available and what might happen in future offseasons, but the availability of players can never be relied on.

The Mets shouldn’t sign Stephen Drew because they’re afraid the shortstop market will be barren next year.  At the same time, shying away from him while banking on players who may not be available would be just as foolish.


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Tags: Brett Gardner New York Mets Stephen Drew

  • Rich S

    Spot on, Danny. The other argument is waiting until next off-season to make a trade. The problem with that is it’ll likely cost an important chip (such as one of the pitching prospects). I wouldn’t be so willing to start trading them if there are other options.

  • donobrien

    Excellent article, Danny. My feelings exactly. These 2015 upgrades at SS may melt away like the winter snows. A similar situation is when some talk about trading Murphy, as if we can replace a top Five second baseman, and get “prospects”, and plug in Flores. By the way, like your Grandfather, I grew up a Brooklyn Dodger fan. [born in 1934]. I’ve been a Mets fan from day one. Here’s hoping the question marks on the team turn positive and we have an interesting year.

  • Kabeetz

    I don’t have a problem in this particular instance if it is an issue of opportunity cost (how much better would drew really be vs a rebounding Tejada argument). The issue is if its a purely a 2014 payroll cap decision, which it most likely is. If the Mets won’t spend to improve the fielders they won’t become contenders at any point in time.

  • Ken Meoni

    It’s simple, be the team that trades for Cabrera.