The Mets Should Look To Tighten Up Defense At Shortstop

ruben tejada does it

It sounds like the Mets won’t be adding Stephen Drew to hold down the shortstop position next season. Sandy Alderson also noted that Ruben Tejada could be the Mets’ shortstop when the season starts in 2014. Mets’ Twitter broke out into a panic when this news broke at around 6:15pm on the first night of Winter Meetings.

I’m a bit of a throwback. There are certain positions on the diamond that I feel should be glove-first positions. At the top of that list for me, is shortstop. I would rather have a light hitting shortstop that is a solid defender manning the middle infield. Of course, if you can get a heavy hitting shortstop, you do it. But a shortstop’s true value comes with his glove.

The Mets are in a predicament at shortstop heading into 2014. Do they stand pat, and hope Tejada regains his form from 2012? Or do they bring in some insurance? If Tejada is the starter, then who is the backup? Do they look internally, like they did in 2013, if Tejada starts to falter?

These are very real questions for there is a very real answer.

Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 9.24.46 AM

That answer is Clint Barmes.

Barmes isn’t going to hit, but he is the second-best defensive shortstop that is available this winter, and best defensive shortstop available right now (Yunel Escobar already signed). The problem with Barmes is that he was probably one of the worst offensive shortstops available. Check out the chart below for comparisons.

Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 9.08.11 AM

Barmes would provide the Mets with an insurance policy if Tejada doesn’t return to his 2012 form. Tejada will be penciled into the No. 8 hole in the lineup, which is exactly where Barmes would be hitting. Would you rather get more offensive production, or defensive production from your eight-hitter? Not only could Barmes be an insurance policy for the team, he could win that job out of Spring Training.

As I noted earlier, I would prefer having the solid defense from the shortstop position, and that’s exactly what Barmes would giving the Mets. Adding Barmes would give the Mets one of the strongest up-the-middle defenses in the National League—Barmes at short, and Juan Lagares in center.

The question is, can the Mets afford to dish out about $6 million for a light-hitting shortstop when they have other holes to fill?