Things are starting to get interesting on the shortstop market, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, and he’s right, they certainly are..
Jose Iglesias is expected to be out several months due to shin splints and giving the Mets some real competition as they look to replace Ruben Tejada who now suffers from a confidence gap – as if he didn’t already have enough to overcome.
Among shortstop options, you know all the names. Stephen Drew is the one complete player offering both above average offense and excellent defense. With Chris Owings now staying put, the Diamondbacks have Didi Gregorius, an acrobatic gloveman. And finally you have Seattle’s young infielder Nick Franklin who is a better suited second baseman than shortstop. Heyman says the latter is the better fit for the Mets. and sizes up the team as follows:
The Mets are throwing out a net for a shortstop while continuing to monitor Tejada, who’s said by all to be at a low point in terms of confidence. They have Mets legend Edgardo Alfonzo working on him in that area, trying to undo what’s been done. Mets GM Sandy Alderson was irked to have read an early unnamed quote from an alleged Mets official questioning Tejada’s shape. In any case, there’s plenty to question now. He hasn’t been so hot in reality, as he is 3 for 25 with surprisingly suspect defense.
The Mets are going to start giving more chances to youngster Wilmer Flores, a big kid (6-foot-3) who may be better suited for any of the other infield positions but looked good in an early tryout game. However, a trade or signing seems like a likelihood, if not a necessity, at this point.
The Mets had some early conversations with Drew, suggesting they could possibly pay him about what he made last year ($9.5 million) without making an official offer. Drew is said to have once sought a two-year deal with an opt-out, with the opt-out being the hangup for the Mets.
Several executives around the league say they see Drew as the Mets’ best answer. “Why haven’t the Mets signed Drew yet?” is the perhaps the most common question heard from competing GMs.
A multiyear deal would actually make sense for Drew with the Mets since they have no surefire shortstop coming, and they look like a serious team in 2015, once Matt Harvey comes back and Zack Wheeler and Noah Syndergaard mature on the mound. They will very likely need a shortstop next year, and the free-agent market isn’t exactly stocked with them, with J.J. Hardy and Jed Lowrie being the best alternatives.
Depending on whose version of events you choose to believe, the Mets have talked to both the Diamondbacks and the Mariners about their available shortstop, but nothing substantive.
One thing is certain and that is In any case, Noah Syndergaard is off the table and especially for Arizona who want a big-league-ready starting pitcher to offset the loss of their ace, Patrick Corbin. That leaves Rafael Montero, Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia as the best available arms the Mets could dangle to land a shortstop. But is either one alone enough?
Familia is a reliever these days, Mejia has to prove he’s healthy, Rafael Montero is untested and neither classify as big-league ready starting pitching. At least not yet.
Alderson is in a tough spot albeit one that he clearly put himself in by misjudging the shortstop market, pummeling his only internal option, and waiting until 12 days before the season opener to do something about it. Add it all up and what you get is Ruben Tejada as the Opening Day shortstop.
(Photo: Anthony L. Causi)