David Lennon of Newsday dishes out on the state of the Mets shortstop position.
The last time the Mets considered signing an elite shortstop was 2011, and it was their homegrown free agent, Jose Reyes. We use the term “considered” loosely, however, because Sandy Alderson never made an offer and Reyes jumped to Miami for a six-year, $106-million deal.
That was two offseasons ago even though it still feels like it was yesterday. The problem for Alderson is that the position still remains a black hole and it follows that it will be a top priority for him this Winter.
The Mets say they have the money to spend, but so do 29 other teams who are flush with $50 million dollars from the new National TV deal.
Alderson is scheduled to arrive either late Monday or early Tuesday, writes Lennon, and when he does, the Mets expect to sit down with Scott Boras to get a sense of what the agent is thinking for two of his more coveted clients, shortstop Stephen Drew and outfielder Shin-Soo Choo.
Lennon, who is very skeptical that the Mets will sign Drew, says that there’s a good chance the Mets won’t like what they hear.
“Conservative estimates have Drew perhaps landing a three-year deal in the $36-million range, but Boras scoffed at those numbers recently. And if that’s low, the Mets will seek other options, such as Jhonny Peralta, or maybe make a trade.”
Ruben Tejada isn’t exactly out of the picture. Lennon contends that the Mets could move him to second base if they were to obtain another shortstop, which would bump Daniel Murphy out of the picture. Murphy could get $6 million in arbitration this Winter and there’s a chance he’ll get traded to offset any new spending.
I’d be very disappointed if getting a player like a Drew or Peralta means shifting Tejada to second and trading away Murphy. In essence the move in it’s entirety becomes a wash and may even be a downgrade.
Price will continue to be the big sticking point for this front office, and while publicly they said everyone is in play except for Robinson Cano, privately they’ve leaked that they won’t pursue any $100 million players.
“We’re going to get players,” assistant GM John Ricco said. “It’s just a matter of which ones.”
A team source told Lennon that this offseason won’t be about potentially grabbing one marquee name to boost ticket sales. Instead the Mets will make incremental upgrades here and there and hope that it’s enough to turn the tide in Flushing.
I’m feeling more and more like this shortstop search is leading to Peralta, who I think would be a fine addition. Looking at the current free agent market, I envision the Mets signing the shortstop and trading for the outfielder.
By the way, a Toronto beat writer said this weekend, that the Blue Jays front office “wishes they had 24 more players like Jose Reyes – players who want to win.”