Yesterday afternoon, after speaking with Mets sources, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York noted that it was being portrayed as a “possibility” but not a “probability” that free agent shortstop Stephen Drew would sign with the Mets.
Oct 30, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew (right) is congratulated by teammates in the dugout 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
Last night, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News said that the Mets were so far holding the line at one year for Drew (Rubin said they were open to two years), and stated that there had been some concern (though nothing specific) regarding Drew’s medicals. Shortly after that, Martino’s claim that there was concern with Drew’s medicals was denied.
This afternoon, Matthew Cerrone of MetsBlog had the following to say regarding the Drew situation as it pertains to the Mets:
"The Mets do not want to lock in to free-agent SS Stephen Drew beyond a one-year deal, I’m hearing from people close to the team, mostly because Asdrubal Cabrera, Yunel Escobar, Jed Lowrie and Hanley Ramirez, among others, are likely to be free agents next winter.My understanding is that, for similar reasons, Drew is looking to sign at least a two- or three-year deal."
It’s approaching midnight on the East Coast, which means that (barring something happening in the next hour or so), another day will pass without Drew signing.
So, what’s going on?
As Cerrone’s source alludes to, the Mets could be averse to giving Drew for more than one year because of next year’s free agent shortstop class. However, there are a few issues with that line of thinking.
For one, Yunel Escobar will only be a free agent after next season if Tampa Bay refuses to pick up his $5 million option, which is close to an impossibility.
The Dodgers are swimming in money, and will probably look to re-sign Hanley Ramirez during the season. If they don’t, it’d be pretty surprising if the Mets were the high bidder for a 31 year old due for an enormous payday.
Asdrubal Cabrera and Jed Lowrie could hit free agency, but both of them will likely be attached to draft pick compensation. If that’s the case, the Mets (who earned a protected pick in 2013 by the skin of their teeth) would likely have to surrender a first round pick in order to sign either of them.
Additionally, the Mets don’t have any legitimate shortstop prospects in the upper levels of the minors, so signing Drew for more than a year wouldn’t block anyone.
Translation? It makes more sense to lock up Drew for two years now than to wait for next offseason to address shortstop.
Shortly after Andy Martino tweeted that the Mets were so far averse to giving Drew more than one year, he tweeted the following:
The key words in Martino’s tweet are that the Mets are “not yet sure” offering two years to Drew is necessary, and that makes total sense. To this point, it’s not clear if any team has even offered Drew a one year deal.
There are many who keep saying that Drew could just go back to Boston. However, reports have been that the Red Sox haven’t made him an offer. If those reports are accurate, there’s no reason for the Mets to offer two years right out of the gate.
Right before the Mets signed Curtis Granderson, there were whispers that they were hesitant to guarantee a fourth year. Right before the Mets signed Bartolo Colon, the team stated that they were likely done adding expensive pieces. Over the last few days, the word has been that the Mets are hesitant to offer more than one year to Drew, but that they may bend and offer two.
Barring the Red Sox offering Drew two years – which is something they have no reason to do – I still envision Drew landing with the Mets on a two year deal.
There’s always a chance that a mystery team emerges, but Drew’s market really appears close to non-existent. Would it be stunning if someone bid against themselves and gave Drew a three year deal? No. At this point, though, it doesn’t seem like something that’s likely to happen.