When asked about the shortstop position, the Mets’ front office makes it seem as if they would be content with Ruben Tejada as their primary shortstop heading into the 2014 season. However, that may not be the case, and some claim the Mets are still in fact interested in signing free-agent shortstop Stephen Drew.
At the conclusion of the 2013 season, it was noted that upgrading at shortstop was one of the organization’s primary objectives. And while the Mets have made significant upgrades — with the free-agent signings of Curtis Granderson and Bartolo Colon —shortstop is still a weakness.
Tejada, 24, is coming off a terrible season in which he hit .202 in a total of 57 games. Adding injuries into the equation, Tejada suffered a broken leg on September 18, in a game against the San Francisco Giants, chasing a pop-up which resulted in a collision with teammate Andrew Brown. The injury put an early end to Tejada’s disappointing season.
Heading into the 2013 off-season, the Mets’ front office had set their eyes on another shortstop — Jhonny Peralta — who the team thought they could sign to a team-friendly deal, but were clearly wrong with that estimation, as Peralta went on to ink a four-year, $52 million deal with the St. Louis Cardinals. With Spring Training around the corner and the asking price to acquire a shortstop via trade said to be relatively high, Drew remains available in the free-agent market.
Oct 30, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew (right) is congratulated by center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury (2) after hitting a solo home run against the St. Louis Cardinals in the fourth inning during game six of the MLB baseball World Series at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Personally, I am all for the Mets attempting to sign Drew, who is a clear upgrade from the production — or lack of production — Tejada provided for the Mets in 2013.
The way I see it, if the Red Sox wanted Drew back, they would have signed him already. I can see the Red Sox offering Drew a one-year deal since the presence of highly touted prospect Xander Bogaerts means there is no reason for the Red Sox to offer Drew a multi-year deal.
Back in November of 2013, the Red Sox offered Drew a one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer, but Drew declined as both he and agent Scott Boras aimed to capitalize on a free-agent market in which many players received more years and dollars than originally predicted.
However, the market for Drew seems to be extremely thin, and Yankees GM Brian Cashman recently mentioned that his club will not sign Drew.
As it stands right now, the Mets and Red Sox seem to be the most likely destinations for Drew.
I’ll predict that Drew’s options are as follows: return to Boston on a one-year deal — for less than the $14.1 million he was offered earlier in the off-season — or sign a two-year deal worth approximately $20-23 million dollars with the New York Mets.
It remains to be seen if the Mets are willing to offer Drew such a contract, but as we get closer to Spring Training, I can envision the Mets’ front office offering such a deal to lock Drew up. After all, the Red Sox may be hoping for Drew to sign elsewhere in order to receive draft pick compensation. To sum it up, Drew to the Mets may be best for all parties involved.