Most of the media coverage is on the Mets and Stephen Drew. This makes sense as Drew plays shortstop and the only team with a major need at short are the Mets. Now, the Mets could still sign Drew and I’ve no doubt that he’d be a better player than Ruben Tejada, but his impact on the lineup isn’t earth shattering.
If Drew came to the Mets he’d be playing shortstop and, likely, leading off. He’d give the Mets a much better hitter than Tejada and probably buy the Mets 2-5 wins on the season. That’s really nice… but it isn’t worth the kind of money that Drew still wants.
Conversely, the Mets could still add a player to the middle of their lineup who would add protection to Curtis Granderson and David Wright while taking pressure off of Ike Davis or Lucas Duda. His name is Nelson Cruz and his market has been pretty silent.
Before the offseason I wrote about Cruz and I was not in favor of signing him. The Mets could not add Cruz as their “big-ticket” outfielder and expect him to flourish in queens like he did in Texas. That’s still true. Granderson’s power will take a hit but he should still be most of the hitter he was. Cruz in Citi Field is more of a twenty home run hitter. That production is still a whole lot better than Juan Lagares’ will be. You can also bat Lagares fifth in the Met lineup.
How much will he cost? At least a third round pick.
The Mets are showing reluctance to give up that pick for Drew and I can totally understand that. Drew’s not the difference between winning and losing in 2014. Cruz might be.
If the Mets can afford to sign Nelson Cruz for under three (guaranteed) years they should. Frankly, they should sign both Drew and Cruz.