It’s been more than two weeks since agent Scott Boras approached the New York Mets regarding free agent shortstop Stephen Drew, opening the door for Drew to sign with the Mets.Yet, there is still no resolution as Drew remains unsigned and the rumor mill continues to link him to the Mets.
Are the Mets serious about signing him, or is Boras just trying to drum up business for his client?
The Mets have gone out of their way to publicly state that they’re fine entering the 2014 season with Ruben Tejada as their starting shortstop, and their reasoning isn’t crazy. Tejada is young, and while he’s coming off a horrible season, he was a more than serviceable player in 2012 and may still have to learn what he takes to be that kind of player on a consistent basis.
It’s somewhat wishful thinking, but it is possible that Tejada can rebound this season, although it’s risky to commit to him after how he performed last season as the Mets don’t have a backup plan. In that sense, the Mets’ interest in Drew should be genuine, as they can’t afford to have their starting shortstop have an abysmal season if they’re going to be competitive in 2014.
Of course, Drew isn’t the be-all and end-all of shortstops, which is why he’s having so much trouble getting a contract. It’s almost to the point where Drew needs the Mets more than the Mets need him. In that sense, the Mets may be feigning their interest in Drew as a favor to Boras to help entice offers from other teams, although how the Mets would benefit from that scenario is uncertain.
Many have compared the Mets and Drew to the team’s pursuit of Michael Bourne last offseason. The Mets did have genuine interest in Bourne, but they were hesitant to part with their first-round draft pick and unwilling to spend the money necessary to sign him. The Mets have already spent a lot of money this offseason and are likely hesitant to spend more of it to get Drew, which points to the Mets’ interest in him not being serious.
Ultimately, the Mets will have interest in Drew if the price is right. But with Boras as his agent, it’s unlikely the price will drop to a place that the Mets are comfortable. GM Sandy Alderson is the master of the slow play, and he could possibly best Boras at a game of chicken. But for now, we have to take the Mets at their word, which is that they’re comfortable with Tejada at shortstop and not all that interested in signing Drew.