Stephen Drew free agency: Mets unlikely to sign shortstop

Rob Carr

One by one, Drew seems to be losing potential suitors. One wonders if teams are just waiting for his price to drop as low as possible.

New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said Tuesday it is "unlikely" his team will sign free agent shortstop Stephen Drew, reports Anthony DiComo of MLB.com.

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The Mets' have been one of the popular guesses for those trying to project where Drew might end up this offseason. Club management has been been openly critical of current shortstop Ruben Tejada in the past and are one of the few teams that clearly seems to need a shortstop. Tejada is just 24 years old, so the Mets may not be ready to give up on him yet. However, he has also never surpassed a 696 OPS over parts of four years. In 2013, he hit .202/.259/.260.

Drew has struggled to find many suitors on the market this winter, despite shortstop generally being a weak position around baseball. The Mets, Yankees and Red Sox have been among the most oft-mentioned teams in contention, but with the Yankees downplaying interest for Drew as well, there may not be many options left.

Part of the reason Drew lingers on the market may come from the fact he would necessitate the loss of a draft pick. He turned down a qualifying offer from the Red Sox after 2013, meaning any other team to sign him would be required to forfeit a top pick.

For the Mets, however, this may be the preferred time to give up a pick to fill a position of need. Their first-round selection is protected by virtue of falling within the top 10 while they have already given up their second rounder to sign Curtis Granderson. Thus they would lose just a third round pick for signing Drew. Were they to look at free agent shortstops next year there is a likelihood they would have to forfeit a first rounder. Players who might be available then include Hanley Ramirez, J.J. Hardy, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Jed Lowrie.

Drew played 124 games in his first season with the Red Sox in 2013 after missing much of the 2011-12 seasons with a broken ankle. In Boston, he hit .253/.333/.443 with 13 home runs. He has shown a greater willingness to play other positions as the offseason has wore on.

If both New York clubs are indeed out on him, that leaves just the Red Sox, Twins and Athletics as teams who have shown at least some interest in signing Drew.

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