Two Guys Talking: Stephen Drew (and Wilmer Flores, Didi Gregorius, Ruben Tejeda, etc.)

Jimmy:

Can a guy be injury-prone? What about it, Mike? When looking at Stephen Drew, checking his teeth and gums, does the injury history concern you?

Mike:

Yes. Drew suffered a gruesome ankle injury in 2011 that required surgery.

Jimmy:

You have experience with bum ankles. From what I can gather from my sources, it’s an important body part.

It was a valiant effort, but when Drew tried to play without using his ankles his UZR rating went into the basement.

It was a valiant effort, but when Drew tried to play without using his ankles, his UZR rating went into the basement. No range.

Mike:

More experience than I would like to have. All body parts tend to be important, the particular issue with ankles is that they are difficult-to-impossible to mend.

A major ankle injury to a position player compares to a major knee injury as an elbow injury to shoulder for pitchers. You can come back, but you will never be the same. I didn’t see much of Drew last year but I’m sure he has lost at least a step. That is now permanent. I’d be very wary here.

Jimmy:

He also lost time in 2013 with a bothersome hamstring and a minor concussion. All tolled, his three-year average (2011-13) is 96 games. It’s not a deal-breaker for me, but it’s a negative.

I saw some complex ranking system that projected Stephen Drew as the 23th best SS in 2014. This is a system where mathematics and magic combine to predict the future; that is, basically meaningless. Nonetheless, it tells us a little about where Stephen Drew might be as a major league shortstop. Somewhere in the middle. Or middle-ish I suppose. If healthy.

Yet here we are, and Stephen Drew is the Metsblogosphere’s object of fascination. We see article after article in national media describing Drew and the Mets as “the best fit.”

How do you like him for the Mets?

Mike:

Because of our gaping hole at shortstop Drew’s name has been coming up for six months. Every time I see it I become motivated to think about other possibilities. I fantasized about Troy Tulowitizki. When it became obvious I was kidding myself I lowered my expectations and began thinking about Jhonny Peralta. Of course, it turns out I was still aiming too high. But even once Peralta came off the board I couldn’t get on the Drew bandwagon.

Jimmy:

Well, I’m not going to share my fantasies with you, except that they often involve trains entering tunnels, a large package of gummy worms, a rubber inflatable wading pool, a bag of old galoshes, and the Swedish Olympic synchronized swim team. It’s complicated.

120809034756-olympics-13-update-4-04-horizontal-gallery

Wait, what? I mean to say, the options/dreams that have gotten my attention have centered around trading for up-and-coming prospects, looking at the shortstop-rich DiamondBacks (Chris Owings, Didi Gregorius), as one example. Without getting into the details, I would have been willing to move Dillon Gee in a deal for the right guy. We’ve been celebrating great trades in Mets history, and I guess what I’ve dreamed of is something along the lines of Walt Terrell for Howard Johnson. That type of thinking. In trading a pitcher, I’d be willing to go with a fill-in guy or two until the cavalry arrives. Not punting 2014, but positioning for the future.

Didi Gregorius.

Didi Gregorius.

Mike:

I have no interest in Gregorius. I have zero confidence he is more than a defensive replacement. I’m willing to sacrifice offense in center field with Lagares, we can’t field a team of number eight hitters. And given Citi Field’s spacious dimensions I rather make that sacrifice in the outfield.

As for Owings he would be more interesting to me. Gee for Owings sounds fine to me, but I don’t get it from the Arizona side. If Owings is a starting major league ready shortstop I want Noah Syndergaard back. I don’t see Alderson doing that, it seems as likely as the Swedish swim team fantasy.

Jimmy:

Points taken. To be honest, I didn’t deeply explore any of the specifics — my knowledge of AAA shortstops is embarrassingly low — but I was more suggesting the sort of deal I’d prefer. This is where the crack talent evaluators come in. Where’s Paul DePodesta, anyway? Back to Drew.

Mike:

Drew is nothing more than a complimentary player, the type of guy that Boston could add to help them win, as they had a real core in place. For Boston that worked, but look at their budget. The Mets have now declared themselves the Kansas City Mets. There is a lot of ink and cyberspace used daily wondering whether this team can afford Daniel Murphy. In this bizarro world we now live in, where every nickel spent is treated as a dollar, Drew seems like a luxury to me. We can’t afford him.

Jimmy:

Sigh. I hate this line of thinking, but I grudgingly accept it, I suppose. It feels so … defeated. But again it leads me back to trading for the AA or AAA guy.

A different angle: What if Sandy can flip Ike Davis and moves Daniel Murphy? That would allow him to sign Drew, while clearing space for Wilmer Flores at 2B. Would that be preferable to a Tejeda/Murphy infield duo?

If money is tight, why not give top hitting prospect, Wilmer Flores, an opportunity to break in at 2B?

If money is tight, why not give top hitting prospect, Wilmer Flores, an opportunity to break in at 2B?

Mike:

Murphy is projected to make $5 million. The fact that the Mets aren’t pinching themselves every day that Murphy is a bargain leads me to believe that Stephen Drew would be an extravagance. Murphy or no Murphy, a team as financially strapped as the Kansas City Mets cannot be blowing a significant amount of their payroll on the mediocre Drew. If the payroll is heading north of $120 million any time soon, without any voodoo economics, I could think about the guy.

Jimmy:

Money aside, I don’t see any value in signing Drew to a one-year deal. That’s crazy. I’m not a fan who is obsessed with the 82nd overall pick that we’d lose by signing Drew, but why lose it for 2014 only, the season without Matt Harvey? Sign a guy for five years and lose a pick, that’s a different equation. The one-year thing is also why I’ve never been crazy about the Chris Young signing, though I understand the value of stopgaps. Essentially, I think almost everything we do should build toward 2015. I would be happy with a two-year deal for Stephen Drew. He’s a solid player, a professional, and he’d make the Mets better. If we can afford it.

Mike:

The one-year deals are a signal to fans that our financial mess has no end in sight. The team does not want to tie up payroll in Drew because if he becomes injured or bombs, 2015 is sunk. We will be crapped out. Ditto for Young. Yes, it leaves you needing to fill your holes again, but the money is back, and you can go back to the casino and roll again.

That is where we are at. We are not trying to build “sustained success.” We are trying to keep our annual commitments down every year and hope that one year Sandy rolls really well.

Jimmy:

The world is a dark, dark place . . .

I suddenly feel cold all over . . .

As if a Dementor was sucking the soul right out of me . . .

large_Dementor-Sucks-Out-Harrys-Soul-1187985390h5o0hfld

 

Mike:

Sorry, I sometimes have that effect on people.

Jimmy:

Hey! It’s not crazy to think that Ruben Tejeda, newly chastined, could return to 2012 form. A decent-enough shortstop for a second division club. Does that do it for you?

Mike:

I’m not excited about Tejada, but fans of small market teams have to accept some things. And I would get my favorite walk-up song back.

At least once I wrote that a team could win with Tejada, but not because of him. I feel the same way about Stephen Drew, who was in the right place at the right time last year. When it comes to Stephen Drew I am in favor of Sandy Alderson doing what he does best.

Nothing.

 

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28 comments

  1. RAff says:

    I think trading pitching is the “whack-a-mole” solution – The problem just pops up in another place. I guess if the Mets were convinced that Syndy was headed North with the big club, straight out of Spring training, with Monty right on his heels- then, possibly. Even then- they’d be awfully thin in Starting Pitching and potential young bullpen arms.

    • Michael Geus says:

      If this is how they feel, then all this talk about “all these pitching prospects” is more hot air.

      I’m no prospect maven, but I’m inclined to believe it is.

      I agree, I think we need Gee, for the same reason we had to give a fat old man two years. All these years later, all this losing, and our minor league system is still nowhere.

      Those quotes from J.P. were not an accident. They spent three years claiming they needed to rebuild the farm. Now that they have failed the quotes are starting that it is all one big crapshoot.

      Where were those quotes before? What changed?

      What changed is they can’t blame Omar anymore.

    • Patrick Boegel says:

      I hear what you are saying, but at some point you have to move some pieces around the chess board.

      Waiting for the magic day when all the stars align like the Royals, Pirates, A’s, Padres and such do (all with very varying degrees of success) is a great plan when it works.

      I often cringe when looking back at trades and trying to use them as a road map only because there is so much different today than say during the 1980s, in terms of financially where the game is, knowledge and perhaps “too much” knowledge of prospects and their prospective “tools”.

      Still, when looking at how Cashen built (and also systematically crippled his team via a couple of bizarre trades) you get a sense of reasoned methodology versus stasis.

      One would hardly call the Mets pitching staff rock solid even after the 1984 season. But the had tons of talent, had the conviction if not disagreements to use it, and then made hay with it.

      Howard Johnson, Gary Carter, Bob Ojeda – all very key components of the 1986 Championship team were acquired through Mets pitching depth. Johnson for the aforementioned Terrell, Floyd Youmans being an important cog (despite mind numbing control problems in the minors among other things), and Calvin without Hobbes for Ojeda. There were others in that last deal as well, but that was the main piece. And when you look at that all, following their first good season in nearly a decade, they traded a pitcher for a bat with a troublesome glove, and moved more depth in pitching to get an all-star backstop. Things worked well for the Mets in 1985 to be sure, but despite Dwights CY Young season and Darlings very successful sophomore season, they were mixing, matching and cobbling together pitchers to fill in behind Ed Lynch. Berenyi who pitched well in 1984 was supposed to be a big factor got injured in April. Their depth certainly allowed them to mix and match well, but alas to get over the top in 1986 they found themselves trading for a pitcher a year after trading pitching to sure up their position players.

      All of those digital letters typed, in short, I don’t want the Mets to make trades just for the sake of trades. Still to me, it always seems the best teams manage to build their components via their development and ability to make trades vs. the glamorous big ticket free agent bills.

      • I think Gee is replaceable. He’s solid, a pro, but if he can help bring a position player, I’d be for it. I think it’s just as likely he slides back as he slides (slightly) forward. Mets have Montero who is ready, period. They have Meija (I know, I know), and Syndergaard in the wings. DeGrom, Torres. Harvey comes back next year. They could sign a Harang in a pinch.

        I have no problem trading Dillon Gee. None.

        • Michael Geus says:

          I think Sandy might just agree with this. I do. I think the issue with Gee is he won’t bring enough back to help. I see those home/road splits and can’t imagine another GM giving up much for the guy. If we think he is easily replaceable why would anyone else want him?

          I can’t blame Sandy for not being able to work magic, like trading Terrell for Johnson, or Hearn for Cone. But we have punted for years and years. We should have so much organizational depth that we can trade multiple prospects for established players. We should be able to make a balanced deal for both teams (not just the Mets.)

          I don’t see that depth.

          Why is it so scary for fans that we trade Noah Syndergaard? He is one prospect. If our system is so fantastic no one prospect should be a deal breaker, we should find comfort in the numbers.

          My conclusion to the fear is our overall system is weak.

          • Michael Geus says:

            Randall Delgado is the number five starter for Arizona. I consider that a push with Gee, and they have him already.

            I don’t know why they would want Gee. But yes, if Sandy is sitting on a Owings for Gee deal I don’t get it.

            And I understand you are not limiting the discussion to Arizona but I’m not sure how many other teams have excess at shortstop and a big need for a back end starter. Maybe I am missing a match, that is certainly possible.

            This is why I always considered the Tejada comments odd. Alderson all but guaranteed a new shortstop in October. Was he putting all his eggs in one basket (Peralta?)

        • Patrick Boegel says:

          Absolutely agree, have to be willing to make moves to fill holes.

          I have to wonder if the Mets over value their assets or they are simply utterly not creative in their thinking.

      • Michael Geus says:

        I agree with you. I think we are not trading prospects for the same reason we are not trading Ike Davis. Nobody wants our guys.

        I think all talk starts with Syndergaard and ends with Montero. And I have said before that I would trade Syndergaard for established major league talent. That is a minority point of view (not saying you personally disagree Patrick.) I don’t think Alderson will trade Noah. And other than those two what is there to trade?

        When I look at national lists our prospects are nowhere to be found. Why would a competing GM trade us anything good for a guy like Cory Mazzoni? Jake deGrom? Every team has guys like this already in their system. A bunch of them. A guy like that might get you a rental at the All-Star break. You might need both.

        I wait, hopefully, for Sandy to prove me wrong.

        • Hold on there, partner.

          Too broad a brush. While it is true that at this point, the pitching depth is mostly hopeful thinking, you simply can’t lump Syndergaard in with all the other guys. By everything I’ve read, he is a special prospect and a potential ace. They don’t come along very often. DeGrom and Mazzoni are a couple of notches below.

          I’m saying that holding on to Syndergaard is a unique situation — you shouldn’t trade guys like that, because teams will never have “more of those types” in the pipeline. He appears to be a rare talent, so the way Sandy treats him is not indicative of anything other than Syndergaard’s own value.

          That said, sure, we’re not seeing the pitching yet. In fairness to Sandy, three years is not enough time to build a farm system — especially with these guys (no urgency), who draft HS players and move them slowly through the 7 stages of grief.

          I was never a three-plan; it was a five-year plan. They lied. Or were inept. Or both. You can’t do that job in three years, not without spending.

          Other than Syndergaard, I did not see another arm in AA last year who looked promising. With Montero, I personally have some hope, but I think his trade value is contingent upon his success at the major league level. He might become our 8th-inning setup man, you never know. Holding him back seems criminal at this point, but, sigh, I get tired of tilting at windmills.

          There appear to be a few interesting arms below AA, and this 4th year of the rebuild will be important for guys like Ynoa (I’m dubious), Matz (interested), Fulmer (hopeful), Whalen and Flexen (too young, too far away). I guess you could add Lara and Tapia to that list as well.

          If 2-3 of those guys are real, then you’ve got depth.

        • Patrick Boegel says:

          I’d absolutely trade anyone in the right deal. I just have parameters.

          For a guy like Syndergaard, given his hype, I would want a position player age 26 and below, all-star caliber. That is my low bar for that.

          I’ve always said going back to the dreaded Kazmir trade, it is NOT that they traded him, it is that they traded him for a converted outfielder who was clearly not a good pitcher nor on the verge of being a good pitcher.

          Trading AJ Burnett for Al Leiter, makes sense, filling in a hole while giving up the promise of a prospect, same with three top 100 BA prospects for Mike Piazza. Burnett went on to a decent career. All the prospects traded for Piazza? Preston Wilson had some decent success.

          Never just give them away, but always look for a good value. The Leiter deal would have been wise regardless of outcome. There is always risk but that was a good risk.

          It’s like John Smoltz for Doyle Alexander. Smoltz was a 22nd round pick with horrendous control problems and no secondary pitch when he was dealt. That the Braves had better player development and it worked for Smoltz to go on to a near hall of famer career, well…at the time of the deal Smoltz was not even a marginal prospect.

          • Agree on Kazmir, felt the same way, and always loved the Doyle Alexander trade, fascinating.

            One other huge, huge factor in considering Syndergaard for the KC Mets: He’s cheap, and will be for years to come. Trade him for a Tulo or other All-Star caliber position player, that’s a huge annual cost. Over five years, possibly a $90 million difference.

            I mean, we’re in a situation where we are worried about Murphy’s $5.8 million, the potential cost of Drew. We’ve completely ignored the bullpen. I just don’t see how a team in the Mets position trades a Syndergaard, whereas it makes sense — within a year, probably — to unload either Gee or Niese before they need to be paid. Tampa Bay traditionally moves their pitchers while there’s still a cheap year or two, in order to obtain maximum value in return. Wait too long and a team is trading for, say, only one year of Jonathon Niese before he hits free agency.

            If we’re poor (and current payroll project to be bottom 1/3 of MLB), keep the best prospects & move the vets.

          • Michael Geus says:

            I understand why we might not be able to trade Noah for a high priced veteran. But we shouldn’t trade him for Profar, a huge prospect himself, for instance? Not that the guy is on the block.

            If we are deep in pitching isn’t that type of challenge trade logical? We have no hitting prospects.

            And if Syndergaard is really all that and a bag of chips couldn’t he bring back a big prize?

            Nobody is suggesting giving him away.

          • Michael Geus says:

            I happen to love the idea of trading Niese to address another need. Hey, I love the idea of doing it with Gee, I just do not share your confidence that it could get done. I would be happy to be wrong on that.

            Nothing personal Dillon.

          • Patrick Boegel says:

            I’d be reluctant to trade a top pitching prospect for a top hitting prospect unless I had many royal flushes in hand. When dealing a top pitching prospect, I want proven talent, not if talent. That’s just the way I see it.

  2. Raff says:

    All that considered- if the Mets scouted their own young pitching talent and conclude they are “major league ready” and represent immediate pitching depth- then why go out and spend $10 million per year on a pitcher in the open Market? Don’t get me wrong- I have no basis for determining whether the young pitchers the Met’s possess are indeed ‘top prospects”- I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt that they are. But they are not Pitching Depth.

  3. Eraff says:

    The Prospect Pool is at a Critical Point—many of them Graduating to the Make/Break Levels of the System and some of them on and near the MLB “shuttle”.

    I believe it’s good that they are preserving their assets. The truly upsetting thing is that they’ve added Just One Sign and Stay Guy—Grandy. I expected that they’d sign 2 players as “Cornerstones for Our Next Championship”…..

    Silly Me—they have Stricken the C Word from any and all discussions.

    We have a true mediocre team—That’s a step ahead!!!….. They have the same payroll as last year with a $25 million dollar Revenue Boost Guaranteed via MLB’s TV Largesse……. The Wilpon Mets Management—The worst Overpriced Pigs in Baseball.

  4. Raff says:

    Great point, Patrick- After all, you probably understand your own top talent better than you understand someone else’s. Also, when you trade your Prosepect(s) for proven talent- The Proven Talent comes with a heavy price tag. That’s why teams with low payrolls don’t often trade high-end prospects for proven talent.

    • Michael Geus says:

      The very reason to trade a prospect might be that you understand the guy. You might understand he is not as good as others think.

  5. RAFF says:

    yeah- OK – That’s the whole logic behind the Ike Davis Trade Project- That being: Nobody know he stinks and he’s expensive, but us… shhhh… shhhhh… Don’t let them know that we know that they know that we know that he STINKS and he’s EXPENSIVE… C’mon…

  6. RAFF says:

    I said trade PROJECT, not prospect… Yes- Ike Davis is a well known commodity. Agreed. Well known, by his own team, to not be worth $3mm+ So much so that they dumped him in to the minor leagues… He’s not tradable. Not unless the Mets Eat Dollars and give another prospect along with him in a trade for some other player. Honestly— I don’t know why we’re all so involved in talking about trading this guy. He’s a known commodity. a $3mm plus guy who is running a revolving door between the minors and majors for a team that has won 74 games for 2 seasons running. What about this is so hard to understand?

    • Michael Geus says:

      I said he should have been non-tendered on this site. Repeatedly. I don’t understand what Ike has to do with my point of view that teams should have further insight into their unproven prospects than their competitors.

      Is this an error, are these comments meant for some other blog?

  7. RAFF says:

    I think I agreed with your point of view, earlier when I stated: “After all, you probably understand your own top talent better than you understand someone else’s” Maybe you didn’t read my post. Additionally: I also agree with you that the Mets should have Non-Tendered Ike… As stated- He’s untradeable, and they don’t believe he’s a player… As such, he’s a “Known Commodity” – What is our disagreement?

  8. Patrick Boegel says:

    I’d add one small wrinkle. I think Ike is a damaged commodity. The Mets do NOT want to non-tender him, because he is the type of player who comes back to haunt you. It is almost as if they know they screwed him up but refuse to acknowledge that, they’d rather send whispers that maybe he parties too much through the press.

    As such, they want to over value him and try to get something back.

    I simply see no value in trading Ike Davis, I don’t think they will get back what they desire, and the fallback option of Lucas Duda is appalling.

    At this point, I’d live with the consequences of one more year with Davis. Best case he rebounds and puts the past behind him. Worst case he is damaged beyond repair and you release him.

    • I suspect this is an accurate assessment of where we are. Then Sandy has to deal with Duda, since it’s been obvious for three years that they are duplicates. It’s one or the other, not both. The funny thing is that Allan Dykstra, age 57, will be down in AAA raking in Vegas, the embodiment of everything that Sandy wants a hitter to be — yet he’s not in the conversation (after 3 full seasons of AA ball). The dumbest scenario would be for this to be decided through a “competition” in meaningless Florida games in February, early March.

      • Michael Geus says:

        Unless I misunderstand the CBA this will now have to occur unless they find a team to take him or they want to pay Ike the total salary awarded in arbitration. And then if he has a decent spring they still can’t cut him without paying that total salary.

        Hey,it might make March more interesting.

        Meaningful games in March!

        One month at a time, folks.

  9. […] week I concluded a post with a joke about how little Sandy Alderson does. This was during a discussion about Stephen Drew […]

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