It is December 29th, and the intrigue surrounding the shortstop position for the New York Mets is palatable.
OK, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but nevertheless the situation with Ruben Tejada (the incumbent) and Stephen Drew (the big free agent target at that position) bears watching as the market for shortstops starts to become clearer.
The Mets recently came out publicly and said they are perfectly happy to proceed with the young Tejada as their starting shortstop next season. This morning, Marc Carig of Newsday wrote the same thing, but also reported that the Mets are still keeping tabs on Drew as a free agent target:
The Mets remain in contact with Scott Boras, the agent for shortstop Stephen Drew, according to a person with knowledge of the talks. But the source likened the situation to the Mets’ pursuit of outfielder Michael Bourn late last winter. Bourn ultimately landed with the Indians, but not before the Mets made a serious run at signing him, mostly because he had lowered his asking price as the season drew near.
This matters beyond the situation for the Mets. As Carig also points out, there are shortstops who might be made available by their current teams in a trade (Asdrubal Cabrera of the Cleveland Indians and Didi Gregorius of the Arizona Diamondbacks). Those teams will likely wait to see where Drew lands before getting too serious about trade talks.
Between the Mets and Drew, we are still waiting for the first couple dominoes to fall before the rest of the off-season shapes up in terms of the shortstop position for teams who have a need in that area.