Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said his team will not sign free agent shortstop Stephen Drew, according to Peter Gammons.
The Red Sox and Mets are still the only teams with reported interest for Drew.
But Gammons talks about a potential “pillow contract” which means a one-year deal to go back to Boston and try to increase his value for another go at free agency next offseason.
Original Post 12/30
Marc Carig of Newsday writes that the Mets remain in contact with Scott Boras about free agent Stephen Drew, but as the new year approaches they seem prepared to begin the 2014 season with Ruben Tejada as their starter at shortstop.
A source with knowledge of the talks, likens the situation as taking the same form as the Michael Bourn negotiations last offseason, when the Mets temporarily jumped in sensing a lower price, but ultimately lost out to the Cleveland Indians.
In my opinion, this is just a matter of doing the math.
First, the Mets are still about $10-15 million dollars below last year’s payroll, a payroll they promised to increase. Currently, at around $82 million, the Mets are in the bottom ten among all major league teams in payroll ranking.
Second, I never thought it possible for the Mets to be able to fill all the items on their agenda even if they were to spend the $50 million that was coming off the books.
Initially Alderson said he was looking for two corner outfielders, two rotation starters, a shortstop, a veteran backup catcher and two bullpen arms, while resolving the first base situation. But things came to a screeching halt soon after they signed Chris Young, Curtis Granderson and finally Bartolo Colon. Those three represented $87.25 million in total dollars and $31.25 toward the 2014 payroll budget.
All of a sudden Tejada isn’t looking so bad, the bullpen has ample internal solutions, and Anthony Recker seems a fine backup.
Personally, I think they blew it by not pursuing the shortstop first – before laying out what they did on Chris Young.
With the Mets so close to their spending threshold, we now have Sandy Alderson singing Tejada’s praises after the Winter Meetings, and then Special Assistant J.P. Ricciardi doing likewise last week.
They are obviously bracing fans for the inevitable, and mostly because before the offseason got underway they had very few good things to say about their likely Opening Day shortstop – Ruben Tejada.
Boras will ultimately get Drew his multi-year deal, and while mum’s the word in Flushing, that’s not the case in Boston where they openly say Drew would be welcomed back. The Yankees are also very interested.
Drew may represent an upgrade to Tejada right now, although not by much. If you want to compare Drew’s contract season to Tejada’s first bad season at 23, it looks like a big upgrade. But at this point, at least to me, the upside is all with Tejada at 24 rather than Drew at 31.
At about $13-14 million per year, it’s quite a gamble for the Mets to take on a player who’s missed over 70 games per season in the last three years.
I’m not saying Tejada is a superior choice, but I’d rather save my money and look for a better upgrade via a trade or even waiting for next season when Harvey comes back and the shortstop market may be better.
The worst thing that could happen by passing on Drew, is that Tejada rebounds with an above average season and the Mets didn’t fork over $40-45 million that they could have used somewhere else.