January 6, 2014

Only Offering Drew One Year Is Stupid

As noted by Rob Patterson here on Effing Mets, the team front office seems disinclined to tender free agent shortstop Stephen Drew a contract offer of more than one year. While I'll cede that this may all be part of a waiting game on the Mets side, I think that the idea of being unwilling to offer Drew a longer contract is ridiculous. To expand on the Andy Martino tweet that Rob had posted earlier, from the New York Daily News yesterday:
That official said that Drew’s agent, Scott Boras, has called the Mets about Drew far more often than the Mets have called Boras. The team sees Drew as an upgrade over Ruben Tejada, of course, but not necessarily worth the price.
Drew declined Boston’s $14.1 million qualifying offer... so the assumption among some major league executives is that he will seek a two or three-year-deal worth about that much annually. The Red Sox and Mets are the only clubs known to be engaged with Drew, though it is possible that Boras is speaking with other teams...the Mets realize that they might be used to create the perception of a hotter market for Drew.
If the Mets are just a pawn in this game (and potentially self-aware of that fact), than I understand them going no further with Drew. If they are serious about upgrading the shortstop position, than continuing to lob one year offers at Stephen Drew and Scott Boras is not only a waste of time, but also just not very smart. Ruben Tejada showed serious signs of regression last season, and was dealt the punishment of a pretty long stint in Las Vegas. Omar Quintanilla was never a suitable replacement to start at the Major League level, and I'm running out of confidence that Tejada turns it around. This offseason, after the importance of remaking the outfield, upgrading shortstop and first base were paramount. As we get closer and closer to seeing Ike Davis or Lucas Duda back at first base last season, missing out on an opportunity to get Drew to plug the gap at short would be a huge misstep, especially if it was over only offering one year.

Having already declined the one year, $14 million from Boston, what deal are the Mets hoping he will sign? One year, $15 million? And then, if you get him for that and he does perform extremely well, all you've done is price yourself out of bringing him back. I'd lump a second year for Drew into the same category as the one for Colon: it gives you more leverage and a better chip in a trade at the deadline if you decide to move away from him. If the team is well below .500 and you're only trading a half season of Drew, your return is extremely smaller than it would be with the additional year tacked on. The Mets contract offers at one year, again assuming that it isn't just a holding pattern, are misguided on a few levels.

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