ESPN New York’s Mark Simon weighed in on a few shortstops that he believes the Mets will target this offseason. Here are some of his insights on that front. It’s part of more comprehensive post titled “A Mets Free Agent Shopping Guide”. Check it out…
It’s our educated guess that Stephen Drew tops the Mets’ list among available shortstops in free agency. He’s above-average offensively (.777 OPS with the Red Sox) whose 10 percent walk rate over the last three seasons will suit the Mets and is an average (maybe a hair below average) defender and baserunner. What will make him affordable and also a bit risky is his injury history (he missed about half the season in 2011 and 2012).
Escobar’s best seasons at shortstop rate slightly better than Drew’s — primarily because of his defense. The question marks with him are in issues regarding his lack of hustle and his wearing eye black with text that included a homophobic slur. Escobar has an option for $5 million in each of the next two years, so the Rays may not let him reach the free-agent market.
Peralta may come discounted because of his recent 50-game PED suspension. He has the best offensive numbers of anyone available at shortstop: his average season from 2005 to 2013 is a .332 on-base percentage with 17 home runs. The knock on his game is his defense, but his numbers are better than you think. He’s rated almost exactly average on defense there over the last three seasons.
Original Post 10/1
When Mike Francesa asked Sandy Alderson if he felt comfortable with Ruben Tejada at shortstop next season, he didn’t hesitate to convey his dissatisfaction with the shortstop position as whole.
“Well I think the problem is that you can’t go into the season with three or four below average positions… You can’t go into the season with a bunch of positions that are below average.”
“Can we go into the season with what we had last year? Well we got by with Quintanilla and Tejada and so forth, but that’s not what we’re trying to do next season so it’s definitely an area we have to look at.”
A couple of weeks ago, TexasGusCC submitted a Fan Shot which did a nice job of examining the shortstop market this offseason.
He dispels the prevailing theory that the Rangers would be trading one of either Elvis Andrus or Jurickson Profar this offseason, and instead proposed that second baseman Ian Kinsler is the player the Rangers would prefer to trade.
As far as what other shortstops will be available in trade or on the free agent market, he writes:
One name to surely be available is Asdrubal Cabrera. Cabrera is 27, and will be a free agent after 2014. The Indians have the #1 prospect at SS in Francisco Lindor according to Jonathan Mayo. While Cabrera’s numbers haven’t been very good in almost two years, he represents a middle of the order type hitter, or at least a #2 guy.
Another name will be Dee Gordon. Gordon will be 26 early in the 2014 season, and he has not shown the Dodgers that he can be a viable SS option. His lone offensive asset is speed, but as we know with many speedsters (i.e.: Joey Gathright), you can’t steal first. Defensively, Gordon has shown the range to play SS but his fielding percentage has gone the wrong way since he came up in 2011.
Lastly, a SS that was available this past July was Alexei Ramirez. Ramirez has shown himself to be a 15/15 offensive player and is 29. His defense rates as plus, and the White Sox have no pitching depth.
With regard to free agents, Stephen Drew, Jhonny Peralta, and Yunel Escobar are the most attractive names. Drew has his injury history, but represents solid bat potential as a double digit steals and a home run bat and a solid batting average. Peralta has had an up and down career, with steady reliable fielding but has shown flashes of power with sometimes very low average. However, his Biogenesis association will keep his market lower than normal.
Escobar has a very good glove and with the Braves from 2007 – middle 2010 was a good offensive performer. Since being traded to the Blue Jays during the 2010 season, his offensive numbers have tumbled. All three are similar in age, but Escobar has a $5MM team option. The Rays have Hak-Ju Lee ready at SS to step in, so keeping Escobar may not be an option.
If the Mets decide to go the trade route, expect to see Alexei Ramirez as a primary target because the two teams match-up well. If they opt to go the free agent route, it’s still hard to say. Escobar had a reputation as being difficult to deal with when he was traded; wonder if that changed. Drew gets hurt quite often. Peralta is not too exciting, but is solid and reliable.
Among all the potential suitors Gus mentions, none of them are perfect. If I had to choose one, I’d lean toward free agent Stephen Drew. I think he can be had in a cost-effective way, he won’t cost the Mets a pick, and of course we wouldn’t have to give up any players to sign him.