Last week, Andy Martino of New York Daily News, reported that the Mets could pursue a free agent shortstop this offseason and added that this upcoming offseason could be the the most important one for the Mets in several years.
In talking with a Mets front office person, he learned that the Mets are very open to spending on a free agent shortstop this offseason.
It had been my assumption that the Mets would either name Ruben Tejada the shortstop next year, or fill the position via trade, as they nearly did last winter in trying to swap Tejada for Cliff Pennington as part of a Justin Upton trade with Arizona (Daniel Murphy also would have become a Diamondback in that deal).
But when when I ran that formulation by a front office source, I was surprised to hear an openness to signing a free agent (I thought they’d only look to sign outfielders and starting pitchers). Stephen Drew will be available, and Yunel Escobar could be, if Tampa Bay declines his $5 million option. It is premature to speculate too heavily on specific names, but when I mentioned those ones to the source, he didn’t shoot them down.
Drew is batting .247/.330/.431 this season with a very respectable .760 OPS for a shortstop. At 26.1% his strikeout rate is kind of high, but at least he offsets with a 11.1% walk rate. Defensively he should be fine and his 4.4 UZR/150 and 3.0 UZR this season are near to his career averages.
Dave Cameron at FanGraphs, believes Drew will probably not receive a Qualifying Offer from the Red Sox. That would make him even more desirable to the Mets front office as they would not have to sacrifice a draft pick to sign him.
“Drew has turned out to be one of the best signings of the winter,” Cameron writes.
“He’s provided quality production from a position where it isn’t so easy to find anymore. There’s a good chance Drew’s going to end the year with +3 WAR, and despite the fact that it seems like he’s been around forever, he’s only headed into his age-31 season.”
“He’s earned a raise over what he got as a free agent last winter, but is there really a mutli-year deal out there for Drew that is more attractive than $14 million for 2014? I doubt it, especially once you factor in the draft pick compensation.”
Plus with top prospect Xander Bogaerts already arrived there’s little chance that the Red Sox would want to get stuck paying $14 million for Drew to be a backup or part-time DH.
I like Drew, but he’s somewhat overrated. Will he be an upgrade over Tejada or Quintanilla?
Absolutely, but not that big of an upgrade considering the switch in ballparks.
I doubt he’ll produce +3 WAR going forward, but if he can touch 2.0 and the price is right, I’ll bite.