Free Agent Targets: Shortstops

The MLBPA compiled a full list of players who filed for free agency this offseason. Out of those, there are several possibilities that stood out to me as players I would consider signing if I were the GM of the Mets (assuming I had a moderate amount of money to spend). Mind you, I’m not saying the Mets should sign ALL of these players – that would be impossible. But this would be the pool of players from which I would choose.

We’ll break them down by position. In the last post, I looked at outfielders. In this post, I’ll take a look at…


The Mets have several holes to fill, but the position that has the most room for improvement is shortstop. Mets shortstops had a combined -0.1 WAR last year. They were bad in the field and even worse at the plate. 23 year-old Ruben Tejada took a big step back in his development this year, and it’s clear the Mets don’t have confidence in him to be the everyday shortstop in 2014.

There are two major free agents this offseason who would be a significant upgrade at short. Most every team who needs a shortstop has interest in them, including the Mets.

Stephen Drew, 31 – Drew is good fielder with a decent left-handed bat. Playing mostly in hitter-friendly parks, he averaged a .264/.329/.435 slash with 15 homers over a 162-game average. He truly showed off his glove this postseason, covered a lot of ground, and made sure-handed plays with strong, accurate throws. He hardly hit a lick until he homered in the clinching game of the World Series, but his defense was extremely valuable to the Red Sox en route their World Championship. Now Drew is ready to settle in somewhere with a long-term deal – perhaps 3 or 4 years in length. He’s expected to go for about $10 million per year.

Jhonny Peralta, 31 – Peralta is similar to Drew in many ways, particularly at the dish. He has a career .268/.330/.425 slash line and averages 18 home runs over 162 games. A right handed hitter, Peralta has displayed power while playing his home games in less hitter-friendly parks. He’s had 4 years in which he’s hit 20 homers or more, most recently in 2011 with the Tigers. This year, he was having an outstanding season (.303/.358/.457 and 11 HRs in 448 plate appearances), before he was suspended for the last 50 games of the season for his association with the Biogenesis clinic. Because of that black mark, his price may be discounted, as some teams will be reluctant to sign him. How much of his performance was enhanced by less-than-natural means? We don’t know, but the fact that he played so well after his name was publicly linked to Biogenesis is a good sign. His glove isn’t as highly regarded as Drew’s, but he did have a 3.5 UZR last year, and a UZR over 10 in 2011 and 2012.

Coming up next: Free agent first basemen

Paul is a freelance writer, blogger, and broadcast technology professional residing in Denver. A New Jersey native, he is a long-suffering Mets fan, a recently-happy Giants fan, and bewildered Islanders fan. He's also a fair-weather Avalanche and Rockies supporter. In his spare time, he enjoys the three Gs: Golf, Guitars, and Games.
  1. Jujo November 10, 2013 at 2:42 pm
    The Mets should go fast after Peralta. 2 years $20 mil. Stay away from Drew-he is good but won;t be worth the time or money. Peralta can hit for power, Drew will only walk and hit .240 for the Mets. If they can;t get Peralta, sign Furcal cheap 1 year to help Tejada. I think other higher profile SS will become available by trade deadline.
    • DaveSchneck November 10, 2013 at 8:08 pm
      Agreed. He makes the most sense. If his price gets ridiculous, Alexi Ramirez of the White Sox could be a reasonable fall back. I would love to see them land a SS upgrade early in order to focus on the #4 hitter and pitching depth.
  2. TexasGusCC November 10, 2013 at 7:41 pm
    Games played for Drew the last five years: 86, 79, 40, 39, and this past year was 124. How can you not mention that? Pro-rating his numbers over 162 is hysterical because he has missed time every year! Still, they suck.
  3. Dan B November 10, 2013 at 10:37 pm
    I hate when people say Tejada took a step back in 2013. He was never a top minor league prospect. He had a good first half of 2012 but returned to his (lack of) potential in the last half of 2012. In 2013 he was what he is. The problem was the Mets let 80 games and his cheap salary cloud their judgement. The time to replace him was last offseason. Now teams and FAs know they are desperate. The Mets seem to put themselves in a place of weakness rather then trading from a place of strength.
    • argonbunnies November 11, 2013 at 3:33 am
      Agreed. I said almost the exact same thing in the Tony Fernandez thread.

      I still remember when the Mets’ record began to nose-dive in 2012 and reporters asked Collins for signs of hope for the future, and Terry said, “It starts with the shortstop.” Having this keen judge of talent as our minor league overseer for the previous few years might explain some things…

  4. argonbunnies November 11, 2013 at 3:16 am
    Peralta utterly fails the eye test at SS. I wonder what he’s done to make the metrics like him? Is unusual positioning letting him reach balls that other shortstops don’t?