Rumors around baseball indicate that free agent shortstop Jhonny Peralta has a standing offer from a team worth $52 million over four years. Peralta was one of the top offseason targets of the New York Mets, and the Mets even met with him at the GM Meetings and may have been in position to move quickly and sign him early in the offseason. But unless the mystery team with an offer to Peralta ends up being the Mets, this rumor indicates that he is out of the Mets’ price range and they will be unable to sign him.
The Mets were hoping to sign Peralta to a two or three year deal, and they might have been willing to climb as high as $45 million. However, a four-year commitment is longer than the Mets will be willing to give to an aging player that plays a key defensive position. Peralta may actually still be holding out for a possible 5th year or possibly an increase to $15 per year on his contract, but even if he doesn’t get it, he’s already priced himself out of the Mets’ range.
With Peralta all but off the board, the Mets are in a precarious position at shortstop. The Mets don’t want to hand the job back to Ruben Tejada, and outside of the light-hitting but defensively brilliant Wilfredo Tovar the Mets don’t have any shortstop prospects that are close to the big leagues. That means they’re going to have to go outside the organization to find a shortstop for 2014.
Outside of Peralta, there aren’t a lot of enticing free agents other than the overpriced Stephen Drew. Unless the Mets want to overpay to get Troy Tulowitzki in a trade with the Colorado Rockies, general manager Sandy Alderson is going to need to find a creative way to get the Mets a shortstop because it doesn’t look like they’ll be getting Peralta.