Xander Bogaerts might be available, but at what cost?
Sandy Alderson told reporters that he is continuing to monitor the market for shortstops although nothing is imminent for now.
“We have several options internally and maybe not all of them are perfect,” Alderson said. “There aren’t a lot of free agent shortstops out there that check all the boxes. There aren’t that many trade possibilities, frankly, that check all the boxes.”
Alexei Ramirez now appears to be a lot less available than what was initially reported, and White Sox GM Rick Hahn said he’s not pursuing a trade.
The Mets can’t afford to take on the contract of Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus, and they don’t have the bat the Rangers want anyway.
Adam Rubin of ESPN NY speculated that the Mets could just wait until January to see if free agent shortstops like Jed Lowrie and Stephen Drew can be had at a lower price, and that makes a lot of sense.
But in the end, I still believe that Wilmer Flores will be our Opening Day shortstop. I’d put the odds at 75/25.
The bottom line is the Mets do not have the money for some of the big name shortstops, and are unwilling to part with any of their young pitching for shortstops who may not even offer more offensively than what they already have in Flores.
November 16 – Steamer Projections for Shortstop Market
Lets look at the free agent market first because it is very weak and probably not even an option at this point. All the projections shown here are from Steamer Projections. They are all prorated for a 600 at-bat season.
- Jed Lowrie: 32 2B 12 HR, 61 RBI, 88 K, .261/.327/.396, -7.7 FLD, 2.1 WAR
- Asdrubal Cabrera: 29 2B, 15 HR, 61 RBI, 108 K, .251/.316/.397, -13.0 FLD, 1.4 WAR
- Stephen Drew: 26 2B, 13 HR, 57 RBI, 144 K, .218/.294/.352, -2.9 FLD, 0.9 WAR
I don’t see any of these players as options for the Mets, but if I had to choose one it would be Lowrie, he seems like the best all around choice. Cabrera is not a SS anymore and Drew doesn’t put the ball in play enough. Only thing making Drew attractive is he is the best defender of the bunch and might come cheap after a dreadful year.
Now lets take a look at the in-house options we have at SS
- Wilmer Flores: 28 2B, 16 HR, 66 RBI, 79 K, -1.2 FLD, .255/.296/.401, 2.4 WAR
- Matt Reynolds: 22 2B, 7 HR, 49 RBI, 105 K, 0.0 FLD, .238/.290/.330, 1.1 WAR
- Ruben Tejada: 26 2B, 5 HR, 45 RBI, 87 K, -0.4 FLD, .246/.318/.323, 1.5 WAR
Flores is the most likely to happen and he really is the best option despite his defensive issues (which I think are overblown). Take Reynolds’ numbers with a grain of salt because it is tough to project someone with no MLB experience. The ship has obviously sailed but I included him on here to show he could be a useful backup.
Lastly lets look at the vast options the Mets have on the trade market.
- Brad Miller: 24 2B, 14 HR, 68 RBI, 112K, 0.0 FLD, .252/.314/.395, 3.2 WAR
- Chris Taylor: 27 2B, 5 HR, 62 RBI, 117 K, 1.8 FLD, .261/.323/.354, 2.9 WAR
- Alexei Ramirez: 29 2B, 11 HR, 64 RBI, 72 K, 0.8 FLD, .265/.300/.379, 2.2 WAR
- Starlin Castro: 33 2B, 12 HR, 63 RBI, 96 K, -4.6 FLD, .274/.320/.409, 2.2 WAR
- Didi Gregorius: 23 2B, 10 HR, 55 RBI, 84 K, 0.5 FLD, .250/.311/.370, 1.8 WAR
- Xander Bogaerts: 22 2B, 12 HR, 53 RBI, 93 K, 0.3 FLD, .260/.323/.409, 1.8 WAR
I think its very surprising to see Miller at the top with the highest WAR but he had big Minor League slugging numbers and a good 2nd half last year. Taylor is definitely the best fielder of the group, has some speed and walks a good amount. Ramirez is probably the safest bet of them all given his consistency and strong defense, but his low walk totals and age scare me. Castro still has the most potential out of everyone, but will also cost the most in a trade. Didi is good defensively and has the prototypical body for a shortstop, but no one knows if he is going to ever hit at the MLB level.
Projections aren’t an end-all, but its cool to get a basis to work with from some smart baseball people. However, these projections didn’t really change my mind on what I think the Mets should do. I like Flores and think he will be a productive player, but pairing him and Murphy up the middle seems like a bad idea for our pitchers.
When it comes down to cost/risk/potential for me Chris Taylor is the best fit for the Mets. Is he the sexy name like Castro or Ramirez? No, but I think his combination of good defense, speed, and on-base skills make him the best option among free agents. Now the question is what would he cost? How about a package of Jon Niese and Ruben Tejada (Miller stinks against lefties) for Taylor and Charlie Furbush?