I can’t decide on Drew

Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer

I’m totally torn on Stephen Drew. I keep flip-flopping on how I feel about him joining the Mets.

The debate going on at Citi Field, as is always the case, is about Drew’s overall value.

The way I understand it, Sandy Alderson and his staff believe Drew can add one to three wins to the team’s year-end total based on his expected production, compared to what they currently have in camp. At the same time, Drew is reportedly asking for at least $10 million a year, a three-year commitment and an opt-out clause after just one season (Rubin, Feb. 9).

Stephen Drew 4 (AP)This money would certainly be worth it to get from 88 to 91 wins, because that might mean the difference between going home or playing in October. Realistically, though, in the absence of Matt Harvey, among other holes, Drew is more likely the difference between, say, 78 and 81 wins this coming season. To do that, he would need to have very good season, after which he’ll most likely execute his opt-out and seek a better deal some place else. Is that really worth it to the Mets?

It’s not just about spending dollars, though. Drew would also mean fielding a more complete roster in 2014 – and that improved perception may help to further inspire fans and players about the overall direction of the franchise. Basically, he’s become a symbol of ownership’s effort to field the best possible product… or not.

At the same time, Drew would also cost a third-round draft pick, plus limit draft spending, while possibly throwing off Ruben Tejada‘s development. Tejada was worth roughly one to two extra wins during each 2011 and 2012. So, for significantly less money and commitment, and with more upside, he could be better than Drew, assuming Tejada is in shape, focused and ready to step up in camp.

In the end, the market is telling me Drew just isn’t that good. It’s not like every team has a good shortstop. There are a plenty of teams for whom Drew would be an upgrade. Demand at his position is high. And yet, it seems no one is willing to give him what he wants. And, if no one else is going to do it, why should the Mets?




395 comments
thehat
thehat

Tejada career OPS is .642.  His career minor league OPS was .675.   His best ML season ever fell short of .700 OPS and he's never actually made it through a whole ML season without "feeling tired" or being so crappy he was sent back down to the minors....114 is the most games he played up here.  


In the meantime Drew's career OPS is .765.  He's only missed significant time due to 1 injury....a horrific broken ankle that took out 1/2 of 2011 and 2012.    Last year was his first year back from that injury and he put up the .780 OPS that had been his norm prior to the injury.   Meanwhile Tejada posted a .520 OPS...... 


They aren't anywhere close as players.  There's .100 points in OPS difference between these guys.  Its the difference between Lucas Duda and David Wright.  Should they dump Wright since Duda is "almost" as good and 15 mil cheaper?   I think too many people are looking at Drew's ankle injury seasons and thinking that's the norm for him while at the same time thinking that Tejada's normal season is his 2012....yet the body of work in either case is completely the opposite.   Tejada at his best is still below average production at SS if you look at the league numbers.  He's a backup.  Drew is a starting ML SS and well above average in offense and defense.


In 2015 guys like Hardy and Hanely are going to get a ton more money, years, and a higher draft pick than Drew will ultimately get now.   Lowrie is a complete butcher at SS.  Might as well just let Flores stand in cement at SS if you're only concerned about offense.  Cabrera hasn't been as good offensively or defensively as Drew. 


SS is a black hole for the Mets for at least 2 1/2 more seasons.  If they could afford to spend 20 mil on a 40 year old Colon and 8 mil on a guy who hit .200 last year, getting Drew for ~10 mil over 2-3 seasons isn't a bad deal and more "value" than any of the guys they could realistically  sign in 2015.   Get it done.  There's enough question marks on this team as it stands.   

xplr
xplr

The market on Drew is almost totally based on his ridiculous salary demands. Look at it this way: I think we can all agree that Peralta is a much more attractive prospect than Drew. Yet, the Cards signed Peralta to about 13mm/year and they took a lot of heat for it. Meanwhile, Drew wants virtually the same amount per year, albeit for 1 less year. This is nuts, and it's totally understandable why he's still unsigned. If drew would accept 8-9MM, I'm sure he'd have several offers by now. 

Michael Eccleston
Michael Eccleston

Please don't overpay this guy.. His upgrade over Tejada is power and its going to be much tougher to hit home runs at citi than it was at fenway..

Pat Brady
Pat Brady

Not a huge Drew fan but I disagree with the idea that Tejada has more upside. I think Tejada's upside is to be a Drew type shortstop minus the power. I say that as a person who likes Tejada too. I think he's got great instincts for the game and the position but he's very limited. He's not fast, doesn't have power and only average range. He might be a .280 hitter with no power but Drew might be a .250 hitter with only slightly better power numbers. He hit 13 in Boston but only 12 combined in 2011-12 (5 and 7). 

joebloe
joebloe

Just don't sign him, Tejada can be the same player for MUCH less money. Stephen Drew was a role player at best for Boston, and if asked to do more than that he'll just be a huge dissapointment. Only on a one year deal should he be considered.

strake
strake

Hmmmm a huge defensive upgrade, more pop and by all accounts more leadership skills than Tejada. How is this a hard decision?

Andy
Andy

Screw this.  Resign Kaz Matsui.

Bud Britton
Bud Britton

I just don't get it. At the beginning of free agency we wanted to sign him for one year, not a day more. Now that he he is asking for essentially a one year contract we feel slighted and want him for three, WTF!?!?!?! Let's move on and offer the moon and the stars for someone like Lowrey mid-season. We collected all this pitching to do exactly that after all...

Bob Lederer
Bob Lederer

$10,000,000 + for Drew, who statistically isn't much better than Tejada? For a +1 WAR. I don't buy most of the new statistics, but if +1 is worth $10 million/year, my god. The Yankees just gave over $20 mil/year for a pitcher they say has the potential to be a #3 starter. What??? 


The answer to the Stephen Drew situation is really very simple and inexpensive. Hire a personal coach for Tejada for $100,000 whose sole job is motivating him.


And let Boras go sell his wares somewhere else.

Adam Dubbs
Adam Dubbs

I don't know about anyone else but I just don't buy this "how many wins is a guy worth garbage". Getting a little too overkill on the Math/Science/Stats, trying to calculate a season before it starts.

So Drew is worth 3 wins...if that puts the Mets at 81 wins where are the other 78 wins coming from?? How many wins is Wright worth? It's rediculous to base decisions on this. Can it calculate how much better having a MAJOR LEAGUE SS makes everyone else. How it can boost morale of the clubhouse and the fan base? Not to mention how it can effect team chemistry? What no periodic table of elements formula for that yet??

There is also the fact that MOST of the Met players will have the ability of asking,

"Hey Stephen, what's the playoffs like"?

pundit18
pundit18

This is easy. Every year you want to put the best team on the field that you can, provided it won't make future years worse. How will Drew on a 2-year deal make future Mets teams worse? Losing a 3rd-round draft pick? A relatively small amount of cash? Holding back Tejada's development? All of those combined are not worth the extra 4-5 wins over the next 2 years you probably get from Drew. Sign him

Zac Tindall
Zac Tindall

How does signing drew not help? If we signed him that makes tejada a potential ss 2b back up orrrrr if tejada produces in the spring and Murphy does and Ike and duda stink it up we move tejada to 2b and Murphy to 1b it gives us options and a chance to be better

green24
green24

We should not be concerned about Tejada. He is not a long-term answer and he is not the short-term answer either. Amed Rosario is the only potential SS of the future in the system, imo, and he is the age of an American high school senior. 


I would have loved to trade for Chris Owings, but that seems unlikely at this point. If it comes down to Drew vs. Tejada, which appears to be the case, give me Drew 11 times out of 10.

grandymets
grandymets

I like the Mets because unlike the Yankees, they don't buy a World Series, but build from within their organization. I think getting Stephen Drew is a terrible idea. He wants 3yrs/ $30M, having Tejada is the best option. Even though, Tejada had a rocky start last year, jk, rocky year, it's time for him to step it up. He went to fitness camp and now he is coming to Spring Training in great shape hopefully. I say let the kid play, so we can have some more payroll flexibility. In addition, there are a great number of shortstops next year anyway. 

Brandon Lee
Brandon Lee

I'd honestly rather hold off until 2015 for a SS and just deal with Tejada for one year. Next year's free agent class is so good. There is about five guys I would seriously consider:  Asdrubal Cabrera, Yunel Escobar, J.J. Hardy, Jed Lowrie, and Hanley Ramirez. All of these guys (besides maybe Escobar) are better than Drew. I'd rather save the money and take a big run at Hanley or Lowrie. 

Muhammad Qureshi
Muhammad Qureshi

Damn, he was terrible, my fault. I must've taken Darlings comments out of context when I heard him say he doesnt know why teams dont want him after the series that he had. Anyhow, Tejada was great filling in for Reyes his first full year, but the league figured him out and with his back against the wall, he may have proved he doesn't deserve a shot for the long run the following year.

cver
cver

I hear you, Matthew, but I think it's more about moving the team in the right direction with a series of moves and not just going half-assed.  For those that have read what I've been writing, you know that I greatly prefer getting back Reyes by cutting our liability injurywise with Niese and offering him.  No way, I'm giving Drew anything that would keep us on our team in year 3.  If Boras has 2-year offers that he prefers (if any?) or a 3-year one, go ahead and take it, I say.   And then, he wants the opt-out.  Fine - offer him a 2 year contract with a player option for the second year and structure it as 9 mil for the first year, 11 for the second and a 2 million dollar buyout, if the player wants to leave.  That way, either way he is guaranteed 11 million for the first year and it evens out to 10 mil per season, if he stays and he has his "opt out".  Both sides save some face, as he would have the option of a 11 mil 1 year contract and the Mets have the possibility, although not the control, for 2 years at 10 mil per.  Another possibility is for the club to have an option too and pay maybe 3 mil on the buyout, which would be 12 mil for one season, if the Mets want to cut their losses.

Chapter 7
Chapter 7

Since no one is beating down Drew's door, maybe Sandy is playing this perfectly. 2 year deal. No opt out. He gets to start here.

lindro88
lindro88

"If no one else is willing to, why should the Mets". Great analysis.

Bryan McEntee
Bryan McEntee

Nice intelligent well analyzed article. Please give us more of this type of post and less of "I root for the underdog" type posts

Muhammad Qureshi
Muhammad Qureshi

From what I remember, Drew had a good playoffs and is an average hitter and solid defensive player. So if he's asking for however many years with an opt-out after the 1st, all that means is he'll play his ass off for a new contract and will play like he did in the playoffs all year. Therefore its a good sign. Ultimately, what do the Mets have to lose other than a 3rd rounder who probably will not even pan out.

Tarheel11
Tarheel11

@ifti99  Go compare the two of them. Their numbers are virtually identical on a per season basis. It's scary how similar. And Peralta one year older. Peralta's problem is the PED suspension. That's what the heat was for, not the contract in itself. All the players were moaning about the PED usage and then signing big contract. 

Drew is unsigned for a couple of reasons. For one, the Mets need him but can't afford him. 

The big market teams don't have a need this year, it's next year. And the smaller market teams that want him don't want to give up a first round pick. And they shouldn't. They are rebuilding clubs

John Iaquinta
John Iaquinta

@ifti99 Agreed.  I thought his $9.5M deal with Boston last year was outrageous.  Now he wants a higher annual salary and longer committment?  Get lost.

Michael McDermott
Michael McDermott

@Pat Brady Kind of unfair to list Drew's HR totals from 2011-2012... he hit 5 HRs in 2011 and 7 HRs in 2012 because he broke his ankle midway thru 2011 (and then missed half of 2012 also). I agree about Tejada, in his best year, he will be Drew without the speed or power. Even in his bad years Drew has posted better numbers than Tejada's career highs.

Starz31
Starz31

@strake  Because he's not that much better than Tejada and will cost at least $20  million more guaranteed.

Don't get me wrong, he is better than Tejada...he's just not worth what he's seeking and it's not worth it for a team already struggling financially.   

He's also certainly not a "huge" defensive upgrade. At best, he's a few errors better, but they are very comparable defensively with Tejada having youth and more range (i.e. less likely to decline). It's all about value. 

xplr
xplr

@Andy  How's Buddy Harrelson doing?

mikerolli
mikerolli

Betty white better with the bat

Hank Lee
Hank Lee

@Bud Britton  You aren't getting it. He wants more than one year, and the option to opt out. This means we only get him for one year if he does well, but if he sucks we have to pay him for 2-3 years. This is why the Mets are holding out. They are fine with the years (1, 2 or 3) as long as there is no opt out, which makes the deal bad business for the Mets, it's lose/lose.

Starz31
Starz31

@Bob Lederer  The Yankees always overpay so let's not compare them to reality.

But you're exactly right regarding Drew. Everything equal, he's a better player than Tejada and a good fit for the team. But he's not worth $10 million more than Tejada. 

Starz31
Starz31

@Adam Dubbs  "Hey Stephen, what's it like to lose your starting job from the defending World Series champions?"

Evaluating wins above replacement is a useful, and accurate, way to analyze player values. Of course off the field factors are valuable (although some would argue they aren't and I don't agree with them) but it's really simple math. Everything equal, Drew is a  better player than Tejada. But for his price, he's only marginally better and not a better value.  He's an average SS that we're comparing to another average SS who is younger but had a below average year last year. 

I'd rather give Tejada a chance to rebound back to 2012 for $10 million less than Drew. It won't be the breaking point of our season so it shouldn't be a problem. 

Michael Fichera
Michael Fichera

@Zac Tindall  It helps, thats not the question. The question is why do this if you can get slightly less from Tejada for significantly less than the cost of drew.

Starz31
Starz31

@grandymets  For $10 million less a year, I think it's smart business to let Tejada play and try to rebound back to his 2012 year. Drew is just not worth it. 

Starz31
Starz31

@Brandon Lee  Exactly. Drew vs. Tejada for 2014 really isn't going to make that much of a difference. In fact, Drew would be way out of place in our lineup since he'd be asked to do much more than he's capable of doing. He was the #8 hitter in Boston. 

baseballnblues
baseballnblues

@Muhammad Qureshi Ok fine...but how is that any different than the player we have now who is fighting for his baseball life and is a lot cheaper? If you look at numbers, which I am not always crazy about, Drew only has a bit more pop in his bat. That's about it. He's not worth $10 million per year. Also, he stunk it up in the postseason my man.

Starz31
Starz31

@RobM_Schmidt @cmerolle @jFerrigno34  They are not comparable. Colon is a much better value at that price than Drew is. There's a reason the Red Sox don't want him to be their starting SS. 

mikerolli
mikerolli

Tickets prices sky High we just goin in to camp with out a good bat at short stop what it sounds like - sad very sad

Adam Dubbs
Adam Dubbs

Tejada is a minor league shortstop - utility infielder at best. Drew is a STARTING major league shortstop.  You dont need any fancy anylizing or evaluating or a scientific calculator to know that Drew makes a better team Point Blank Period.

Also, it seems you've been well trianed by ownership to not WANT our team to spend money.  Unless your full name is Starz 31 Wilpon what do you care what they spend.  It's not going to be more than a 2 year deal anyway so it will not prohibit us from acquiring talent in future off seasons.

Your words, "Drew is a better player than Tejada". That's where you need to take a step back and stop because if your a true Mets fan the conversation is over.

davklotz
davklotz

Because slightly more is better unless we can improve more greatly at a different position.

Brandon Lee
Brandon Lee

@Starz31 Yup. He's not a lead-off hitter, he wouldn't hit number two, because that's Murphs spot, and doesn't have enough power to hit five or six. So you'd pay $10M a year for a average defensive SS and a number seven hitter? I think Tejada can do that. 

Michael McDermott
Michael McDermott

@Starz31 @cmerolle@jFerrigno34The reason is the Red Sox have a VERY highly valued prospect ready to take over SS. We have Tejada, who we have to hope doesn't completely implode and get sent to the minors for the 2nd year in a row.