Executives I have spoken with say the Mets have indicated they will not add significantly to their 2014 payroll. Thus, while Drew’s asking price has fallen, it will probably never sink to a level these Mets are willing to spend.
Drew remains a free agent and his agent, Scott Boras, has said his client might even wait until June — when a team would no longer lose a draft pick for signing him. Or perhaps a team will have a desperate need and budge before that. Well, the Mets’ situation looks desperate and there seems no budging.
Seattle with Franklin and Brad Miller and the Diamondbacks with Didi Gregorius and Chris Owings have shortstop battles ongoing. Thus, both will have depth to trade, and the Mets talked to both at the Winter Meetings. But there has been no strong talks recently.
Executives say both teams are asking for big returns because shortstops are hard to find and all in the discussion have options so they can be sent to the minors for depth or for trade at a later date when needs become more obvious.
The Mariners are viewed as more likely to deal in spring, since they have must-win pressure in 2014 (after signing Robinson Cano for $240 million), plus they already have incurred pitching injuries to Hisashi Iwakuma and Taijuan Walker, though their general manager, Jack Zduriencik, told me he expects both starters back in April.
Zduriencik said Miller versus Franklin is a fair fight, but the outside perception is Miller’s defense gives him an edge. In fact, there are questions whether the switch-hitting Franklin, mainly a shortstop in the minors, has the range to continue at the position. Seattle has had a scout at every Mets spring game (former Mets GM Joe McIlvaine) while the Diamondbacks have not. And Zduriencik did say, “We have a surplus at a desired position and that has generated a lot of interest.”
Meanwhile, Ruben Tejada was a late scratch yesterday and the incumbent Mets shortstop felt some tightness in his left hamstring. He alerted trainers immediately rather than risk injury.
“That’s why I said something, because I don’t want to miss two or three weeks if I pulled something,” said Tejada. Though he insisted he could have played, Terry Collins held him out.
“If I ran him out there with the knowledge that he had a tight hamstring and he blew it out, it’s just inexcusable this time of year.”
Although this is something minor for Tejada, I wonder if it gives the front office pause to reconsider an upgrade at short?