Which shortstops are available this offseason for the Mets?

Whether Ruben Tejada fans like it or not, the man has played his way out of the starting role next season. There are few internal options but many external options that the Mets could explore. Here are the starting shortstops from each organization (FA= free agent after the season T= only eligible through trade NPA= Not Physically Available):

Arizona Diamondbacks: Didi Gregorius (T)
Gregorius has played OK this year, but the Diamondbacks have another good young shortstop named Chris Owings that could replace him. The Mets might want to swoop in and take one of them for themselves.

Atlanta Braves: Andrelton Simmons (NPA)
The Braves are not going to let go a player who has single-handedly won the Braves 5.5 games from his defense (thanks baseball-reference) and hit almost 20 homers.

Baltimore Orioles: JJ Hardy (T)
This could be a good option if we played at Yankees stadium. Absolutely nothing against Hardy’s talent, especially his defense, but he hits homeruns at a very friendly park. Last time I checked, Citi field isn’t a small park.

Boston Red Sox: Stephen Drew (FA)
Many consider Drew to be the frontrunner of the Mets shortstop whereabouts next season, but I’ve never honestly seen the value in what exactly Drew does. He doesn’t hit a ton of doubles, he as a low batting average, plays average defense, and doesn’t steal bases. I’m not saying he’s a bad player but everything I’ve listed the Mets need from a shortstop.

Chicago Cubs: Starlin Castro (T)
Although it would seem like a great idea on the surface to trade for a former hit king, it would blow up in the face of the Mets if he becomes one. The Mets philosophy this season was to hustle as hard as one can, never give up on a game, and always pay attention to the game (after Father’s Day). He has been nothing but a spoiled brat when with the Cub, thinking he needs to be on a good team. Honestly he just needs to grow up. Don’t let him do that by being a clubhouse cancer here.

Chicago White Sox: Alexi Ramirez (T)
Ramirez actually seems to be the best fit for the Mets. Ramirez stole a ton of bases, played great defense, and didn’t strike out very often this season. He does have a bit of a problem in drawing walks and his power was sponsored by Harry Houdini this season. He could be a great fit in the Big Apple considering it won’t take much to get him.

Cincinnati Reds: Zack Cozart (T)
The Reds have a soft-spot for the defensive partner to Brandon Philips and he actually has some pop. The Mets really shouldn’t even consider Cozart unless he hits like Carlos Beltran in the postseason.

Cleveland Indians: Asdrubal Cabrera (T)
This is one of the few on this list that could actually be a great match considering the Indians carry one of the best shortstop prospects and Cabrera definitely needs a change of scenery. Looking at his surface numbers his batting average has vanished. But if one looks deeper they can see his double rate jump this season and his Babip took a hit, and when he realizes that he doesn’t need to drive 20+ homers he’ll be a perfect fit.

Colorado Rockies: Troy Tulowitzki (T)
This man has been debated along with Carlos Gonzalez if one could be traded, but if the Mets are smart they will trade for Cargo instead. Gonzalez actually hit about 60 points higher away this season in his batting average than at home whereas Tulowitzki hit about 70 points lower away than at home.

Detroit Tigers: Jose Iglesias (T)/ Johnny Peralta (FA)
Either one of these choices would be great upgrades due to their terrific defense and overall positive offense contributions. Obviously it would be easier to land Peralta due to his eligibility to be on the free agent market.

Houston Astros: Jonathan Villar (T)
The Astros will trade pretty much anyone but they are very conservitive on their top prospects. However, Villar won’t have much time to play there with Carlos Correa sprinting through the minors and he should be considered for utility.

Kansas City Royals: Alcides Escobar (NPA/T)
The Royals have a crush on him, as well as the long-term contract that they have with him. He could be tradable due to the Royals having three of their top ten prospects as shortstops.

Los Angeles Angels: Erick Aybar (T)
This is an option that could work due to the expected rebuilding process by the Angels and the need for a doubles machine at short for the Mets.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Hanley Ramirez (NPA)
They won’t move Ramirez for Noah Syndergaard.

Miami Marlins: Adeiny Hechavarria (T)
Don’t make me throw up Mr. Alderson.

Milwaukee Brewers: Jean Segura (NPA)
Unless Alderson makes a ridiculously stupid offer, Segura is untouchable.

Minnesota Twins: Pedro Florimon (T)
This could be a good option if he could hit for a higher average-we’ll see. Don’t count him out this offseason.

New York Yankees: Derek Jeter (NPA)
Do I even need to explain this?

Oakland Athletics: Jed Lowrie (T)
He would be theoretically possible to land by the Mets, but the A’s just don’t have any other options to replace him with so it seems unlikely.

Philadelphia Phillies: Jimmy Rollins (NPA)
There is absolutely no way that Rollins will be in a Met uniform.

Pittsburgh Pirates: Clint Barmes (FA)
This could actually be interesting if he finds his Colorado numbers. He will unfortunately be considered by the Mets, mostly due to the vacuum cleaner we call his glove.

San Diego Padres: Evereth Cabrera (T)
If the Mets really want a speedster that probably just took PED’s, than go right ahead… but please don’t.

San Francisco Giants: Brandon Crawford (T)
He is all defense and his range has actually gone down. This would be a mistake.

Seattle Mariners: Brad Miller (T)
Miller is considered important by the Mariners and is almost untouchable. The Mets shouldn’t make an unnecessary trade for him.

St. Louis Cardinals: Pete Kozma (T)
It’s strange how the team with the best farm system in baseball can’t find a good shortstop prospect to replace the struggling Kozma. If he can’t hit with the best in the business, he certainly won’t hit here.

Tampa Bay Rays: Yunel Escobar (FA)
Signing Escobar would be an enormous mistake due to the incredible amount of range Wright already covers. Extra supplemental defense is unnecessary.

Texas Rangers: Elvis Andrus (T)
This is one of the few on this list that would be beneficial for both teams, the Mets need a shortstop and the Rangers need to lose one. Unfortunately, for the first time in Rangers history they will be looking for offense over the offseason and the Mets only have pitching to trade.

Toronto Blue Jays: Jose Reyes (T)
Now this would be very interesting if the Mets actually gave the Blue Jays that big box of chocolates. It would also be strange to switch roles in blockbuster deals in consecutive years. Even though lots of Mets fans have a bad taste in their mouth after Reyes leaving for a bunt single, but with our current lineup he could actually fit right in perfectly.

Washington Nationals: Ian Desmond (NPA)
As stated above, the Nationals cling to this guy as they probably should. Only a crazy deal like Noah Syndergaard and Montero would land him.

There are almost an unlimited amount of external options that the Mets could explore and it will be a very busy offseason for many different reasons. Shortstop could be the toughest to shoe to fill.

10 comments for “Which shortstops are available this offseason for the Mets?

  1. Chris F
    September 24, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    Interesting list and thoughtful assessment. Thanks for putting this all in one place…very cool to see them all lined up. I see AZ and the Angels as possible partners, and maybe the Rangers. They need hitting for sure, but they need pitching too. Peralta will be easier to get, but he scares me because of being a doper, and Iglesias will be hard to pry away is my guess. Dont hold your breath for Reyes as much of a welcomed sight in Flushing as he would be. His contract is heavily backloaded (still more than 85M$) and SA clearly was worried about shelling out that much for an aging “leg-man”. Im not as pessimistic on Drew as you are, but I do get it.

  2. September 24, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    Options from your list that I like:

    Jose Reyes (If Toronto eats half the salary and accepts a deal headlined with Montero)

    Erick Aybar (If the price doesn’t include a Top 10 prospect)

    Asdrubal Cabrera (Makes a ton of sense if Cleveland is willing to accept not getting Syndergaard in the deal)

    Stephen Drew (It’s a meh move and you’d be overpaying for a solid #8 hitter)

  3. NormE
    September 24, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    Good job, Julian.
    According to your list, it looks as if Drew, Peralta, Barmes and Escobar are the FAs available. Not overwhelming, but if the money is right it might make sense to consider one of them as a short-term alternative to Q or T. The trade route has more appealing choices. Since I believe that the Mets don’t have enough trade chips to bring in both a top SS and a big hitting OFer, it would seem that my preference would be to pull off a trade first for one spot and then go the FA route for the other. I’m also assuming that money won’t be available (based on the Wilpons debt load and Alderson’s conservative spending habits) for two big ticket FAs.

    PS- I’m not sure I’d be happy with Escobar under any circumstances. Talented, maybe, but just not my type of ball player.

  4. Kevin
    September 24, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    I mean a Lowrie trade could also involve Tejada who would serve as the A’s shortstop until Addison Russell is ready.

    My preferred order would be:
    1) Peralta
    2) Ramirez
    3) Lowrie
    4) Owings
    5) Drew

    I think Peralta’s bat would fit nicely into this lineup that needs some more punch. I like Ramirez’s ability to hit leadoff and steal some bases but the discussed walk issues doesn’t sound like a Sandy move. I think Lowrie does everything Drew can do but slightly better. Owings just seems like a real solid ballplayer, very similar to Flores but he can field. Owings for Flores swap.

  5. DaMetsman in Washington State
    September 24, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    If Alderson & Co. want to go out and grab two boppers for the two OF corners or just one plus a stud at 1B, why not give the SS job to Wilfredo Tovar, who by all reports was ready to play defense at an MLB level a couple of years ago. Problem is.. the Mets have a host of platoon options at 1B with Davis, Duda and Dykstra (or Murphy) from the left side and Satin, Flores, Lutz, Campbell and Brown from the right side. Any combination would probably put up respectable numbers and play adequate to decent defense. No doubt that the best move in the OF would be to acquire Carlos Gonzales or Shin Soo Choo. Both are left-handed hitters and fielders and would be better off in LF than RF. However, what to do with EY Jr, who has only two positions—LF or 2B?
    Here’s a nice lineup that can compete: Young 2B/Murphy 1B/Wright 3B/Gonzales LF/Beltran RF/d’Arnaud C/Den Dekker-Lagares CF/Tovar SS with a bench of Recker and/or Centeno, Turner, Brown and Baxter (good role players and spot starters). Clever disbursement of Davis, Duda, Satin and Tejada can bring in some prospects and clear spots on the 40-man roster.

  6. Name
    September 24, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    I only see 1 glaring mistake and that is Yunel Escobar has 2 options on him for the next 2 years at a reasonable cost and I see no reason that the Rays won’t pick it up so therefore he is actually a trade target.

    I do disagree with some of your classifications of NPA, though that’s all personal opinion.

  7. Metsense
    September 24, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    Shortstop is a priority. I would try the free agent route first and only consider Peralta and Drew. Jhonny Peralta is coming off the last 3 years averaging a 3.7 PED enhanced WAR. Almost 32 YOA coming with a salary of $7M. Stephen Drew has averaged a 1.5 WAR the past 3 years and will be 31 YOA coming off a 9.5M salary. Peralta, although older, may be the better value and the better player.
    If that doesn’t work out I would consider a trade for a SS.
    Alexi Ramirez is 32 YOA and is tied up until 2015 (2016 option) at $10M per year. Avg 2.9 WAR over past three years. Eric Aybar is 30 YOA at 8.5M until 2016. Avg 3.0 WAR annually over the past three years. Good value and younger then Ramirez. Gregorious or Owings from Arizona but who would Arizona want? Also is it fool hardy to rely on a rookie shortstop and catcher? It is the cheapest route. I hope Sandy does one of these five moves for the 2014 season.

  8. Jim OMalley
    September 25, 2013 at 7:38 am

    Drew and Ellsbury coming down from Boston town.

    • NormE
      September 25, 2013 at 8:23 am

      Drew and Ellsbury coming down from Boston town.
      Both aimin’ to gain greater renown.
      Gonna hitch a ride on I-95,
      Lookin’ to join the Big Apple jive.
      Is Alderson pullin’ one out of his hat?
      Or is Cashen gonna be the big fat cat?

      • NormE
        September 25, 2013 at 8:25 am

        oops! I meant Cashman. Sorry.

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