"He's a young player...a lot of young players who get to play at the big league level early in their career, a lot of them don't realize how hard it is to play every day. A lot of them don't realize what it takes to play every day. I think in Ruben's case, he got a lot early in his career and I think he's starting to realize that he has to work a lot harder than he has in the past, and he has. To his credit, he really has. But as a young player, they get to the big leagues, some things happen for them and they forget how tough it is to stay there. I think he's at that stage in his career. I think next year he's going to be a better player than he was this previous year.”Many Mets fans will read this and panic, but I think this is a situation where they need to read between the lines. Ricciardi 100% believes everything he has said here, and to a point I do also. I do believe Tejada is better than the player we saw in 2013 and I do believe the Mets are genuinely prepared to enter 2014 with him as their starting shortstop if they have to, but I still don't believe that is a certainty.
Ricciardi also had this to say about the shortstop market in general:
“Sometimes there's just supply and demand and I think right now there's just not a lot of demand for shortstops...Sometimes there's a lot of opportunities for free agents, but sometimes the market is a little bit of a stonewall. I think in this case there's a lot of shortstops that are already in place.”This is the portion of the interview that I believe fans should really pay attention to. He is on the radio in Boston discussing the market for a position of interest for both the Mets and the Red Sox. I don't believe Stephen Drew is the ideal fit for the Mets going forward, but I don't feel that anything Ricciardi said in this interview indicates that the Mets are out on him.
It is total speculation, but I don't think Ricciardi takes this interview if the Mets were out on Drew. I think this is a direct effort to downplay the team's interest and with any luck, further reduce his value in the market. If the Red Sox are preparing to make a one-year, take it or leave it offer to Drew as has been rumored, that may leave the door open for the Mets to sweep in with a modest two-year offer that will upgrade the shortstop position immediately, while maintaining payroll flexibility long term. Sandy Alderson 101 if we've ever seen it.
The market for Stephen Drew is still developing, and as it continues to trend downward I believe there is increasing opportunity for the Mets. The Mets are coy in their pursuit, but you would be foolish to think they're not pursuing.