The Mets could pursue a free agent shortstop this offseason, according to Andy Martino of New York Daily News. Martino, who has spent the last three days schmoozing with the Mets and covering for Kevin Burkhardt, says the upcoming Winter could be the the most important 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, 30, is batting .263/.328/.423 for the Boston Red Sox and in 385 at-bats has 24 doubles, 12 home runs, 51 runs scored and 59 RBIs.
Escobar, 30, is batting .260/.329/.371 for the Tampa Bay Rays and in 453 at-bats he has 23 doubles, nine home runs, 54 runs scored and 53 RBIs.
Either one would be an upgrade over Omar Quintanilla and Tejada, but not that big of an upgrade especially in Citi Field. Neither player has much speed and both have lost a step defensively.
Incidentally, the same Mets executive referred to Tejada as “a very disappointing kid with a poor work ethic,” but another team official said they haven’t given up on him yet.