Pitchers and catchers report to spring training in a little over a week now so it's a great time to look at the New York Mets' top three shortstop options for the upcoming 2014 season.
That means without incumbent Ruben Tejada as a possibility. It's time for the Mets to move on from the disappointing, underachieving Tejada. It's time to officially say goodbye to him.
Don't let the door hit you on the way out.
Let's take a look at New York's top three options at the shortstop position as we await pitchers and catchers reporting to Port St. Lucie, Fla., on Feb. 15.
Trade for Oakland A's Shortstop Jed Lowrie
The 29-year-old Lowrie had a breakout season for the A's in 2013, batting .290 with 15 home runs and 75 RBI. He is due to be a free agent after this upcoming season and general manager Billy Beane has been known to deal players before they reach free agency.
See Gio Gonzalez.
This gives the Mets a chance to make a deal while the opportunity presents itself. Oakland loves young pitching and New York has plenty of that on the farm (as long as the Mets hold on to Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero). And the Mets need offense.
A match made in heaven?
Lowrie is not the greatest fielding shortstop in baseball—his .962 fielding percentage will attest. However, he can also play second and third base and is a switch-hitter to boot.
The Mets need an injection of power in the worst way and should look into acquiring Lowrie. They can sign him to a two- or three-year contract in a sign-and-trade and New York would be set at shortstop for the next few years.
It would be a smart move.
Trade for Arizona Diamondbacks Shortstop Didi Gregorius
Just 23 years old, the Amsterdam native may be available due to the emergence of top prospect Chris Owings.
Gregorius hit .252 in his rookie campaign with seven HRs and 28 RBI in 103 games for the Diamondbacks last year. He still needs to improve defensively (.971 fielding percentage), but his Range Factor/Range as SS ranked fifth in the National League last season (4.31).
The Mets have the young pitching to dangle in a trade with Arizona and Gregorius will not be arbitration eligible until 2016.
It's something New York should seriously consider.
Sign Free Agent Shortstop Stephen Drew
This is the most likely scenario to occur. The 30-year-old shortstop is still available in free agency. With spring training is drawing closer, Drew needs a home.
It's time to finally sign him.
Time is running out for Drew to ink a contract before spring training commences. The Mets should be able to sign Drew to a one-year contract (which they prefer) in the $9-10 million range.
As presently constituted, New York's payroll is around $87 million so the Mets can certainly afford him.
New York's payroll should be at least $100 million anyway—this is the Big Apple after all.
The eight-year veteran hit .253 with 13 HRs and 67 RBI for the world champion Red Sox last season and played stellar defense as well. His .984 fielding percentage ranked second in the AL. He would instantly upgrade New York offensively and defensively.
Drew is still in his prime, but his Achilles' heel is staying healthy. He missed 38 games for Boston in 2013 due to various injuries and last played in 150 or more games in 2010 with Arizona (151 games).
That's why a one-year contract makes sense at this time. Drew is more than likely holding out for a multi-year offer, but he needs to make a decision.
The longer Drew waits, the better it is for the Mets.
All statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.
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