Tigers GM Says No On Drew, Mets Sticking With Tejada

An article by posted on March 17, 2014

Stephen Drew

March 17 

Disputing a report from Jim Bowden of ESPN, Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski told the Detroit News’ Lynn Henning that he will not pursue free agent shortstop Stephen Drew.

The Tigers will instead go with internal candidates to replace shortstop Jose Iglesias who is likely out for the season.

Detroit might still pursue a trade for a new shortstop, but they will not pursue Drew and forfeit their No. 23 pick in the upcoming  draft.

Meanwhile the Mets say that a new shortstop to replace Ruben Tejada will not be entering the scene anytime soon.

Nothing happening with Stephen Drew, the team has not had recent trade talks with the Mariners, and discussions with other potential trade partners have been equally muted.

Despite another bad day in the field and at the plate on Sunday by Tejada, the Mets seem resigned to at least starting the season with him at shortstop. “He’ll be fine,” a Mets official said.

There is sentiment within the front office to stick with Tejada because the available players — Drew included — likely would have minimal impact on a lineup riddled with holes.

The Mets aren’t excited about parting with top young pitching talent for a minimal upgrade to the lineup they say.

“The focus [by fans] is on what Tejada did last year, and it’s understandable — this is a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately game,” the Mets official said. “But how do you know we won’t get the Tejada from two years ago?”

Tejada booted a grounder for an error in yesterday’s 10-4 win over the Cardinals and went hitless in four at-bats, dropping his Grapefruit League average to .091.

March 16 

Jim Bowden of ESPN and Peter Gammons of MLB Network report that the Detroit Tigers are now ready to engage Stephen Drew to fill their now vacant shortstop position.

With the news that Jose Iglesias could now miss significant time and perhaps the rest of the season with shin splints, the Tigers are now looking at Drew.

This was something Scott Boras was hoping for, that an injury would bring teams in on his client.

March 15 12:00 PM

Scott Boras told Anthony Rieber of Newsday that he has engaged in discussions with the Mets. ”I have certainly had dialogue with them,” Boras told Rieber on Friday. “The message has always been that they have interest in Stephen but they wanted to see how things went in spring training.”

“I think the earnestness of a franchise and their desire to win is always appraised by their conduct in pursuing the available talent,.”

He blasted the compensation system and said there are teams desperate for a shortstop with his client still unsigned. When asked whether he was speaking of the Mets, Boras said:

“I’m not speaking about anyone specifically. I’m just speaking generally about the reason that these players are coveted, the reason that these players are so valuable, the reason they sign late, is teams get to look in spring training and the obvious weaknesses of clubs is revealed. The fans of the respective teams really get to look inside what can really help their team and the fact that this talent is available. And there are those teams that this talent is available without the detriment of losing a first-round pick. It’s rare that you have that opportunity.”

Dan Martin of the New York Post says that at least one person close to Stephen Drew believes the free agent shortstop will end up elsewhere and not with the Mets. He points out that Boras only acknowledged there is communication between the two sides. But Drew continues to look for a multi-year deal, something the Mets haven’t been interested in offering.

Additionally, manager Terry Collins issued his strongest defense of Ruben Tejada this spring and took him aside to tell him he’s the team’s shortstop.

“It meant a lot because he’s your manager,” Tejada said. “(He said) ‘Don’t think too much. Last year was  last year, it’s history.’ Helped me concentrate on this year and keep it going forward and keep working every day.”

Former Met Edgardo Alfonzo worked with Tejada before Friday’s game. “He’s a veteran guy,” Tejada said. “He knows the game better than me and tried to help me.”

Tejada went 1-for-3 against the Marlins and is now 2-for-18 during spring training. He was also fine in the field.

With 15 days left until Opening Day it looks like the Mets are digging in. But looks can sometimes be deceiving.

March 14

Stephen Drew says that if he were signed tomorrow, he would be ready to play and he wouldn’t miss a step. In an interview with the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo, Drew hints at his frustration with his plight since rejecting the Red Sox’ qualifying offer for $14.1 million.

“I wish I had a crystal ball so I could read these things into the future,” said Drew.

“It’s crazy being in the league for eight years and being in this situation. I know I hit a slump in the World Series and you never want to get into a slump in the World Series. But I thought I played good defense when it counted. I thought I helped save runs. I thought it was my best defensive year.”

Drew trains at St. Thomas University with fellow major league free agent Kendrys Morales and coach Alex Ochoa, who joined the Scott Boras Corporation last season and manages the Boras training facility.

“Of course I’d rather be in a major league camp,” Drew said. “You have a short window to play baseball. I feel I’m in my best years right now. I’ve never been healthier and I think my game has evolved. I wish I was playing baseball, but I’ll be patient until something comes along.”

When asked if he expects to play this season, Drew responded, “Yes, I do.”

“I have too much talent and the ability to help a team to think I’m not going to play baseball this year. I don’t know where that’s going to be, to be honest with you…I drove in more runs than I had in any year of my career.”

Drew, who made $9.5 million with the Red Sox last season is still looking for a multi-year deal. His agent has said they are prepared to wait as long as June rather than accepting a lesser deal now and be in the same position next offseason.

Boras knocked the compensation system, blaming it for the fact that Drew and Morales are still unsigned:

“The system they’ve been dealt has basically prevented them from free agency. They want to make sure about their next step, whatever that will be. It means either signing a long-term contract now — and we’re still taking offers on those — or a number of other prospects that could occur after the season starts or in June, after the draft happens.”

He went on to compare the free agency of Drew and Morales to being in jail, and that the integrity of the game is at hand.

Boras and integrity in the same sentence? Wait, what?

(Photo: Boston Herald)

mmo

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