The Mets are happy with Ruben Tejada as their starting shortstop, special assistant J.P. Ricciardi tells WEEI's Rob Bradford and John McDonald (yes, that John McDonald). "I think in Ruben’s case, he got a lot early in his career and I think he’s starting to realize that he has to work a lot harder than he has in the past, and he has," Ricciardi says. "I think next year he’s going to be a better player than he was this previous year."
Stephen Drew remains a free agent and would provide an immediate upgrade at shortstop. While Ricciardi doesn't go into details about Drew in particular, he makes clear that the shortstop market is not what the Mets would like it to be. "I think in this case there’s a lot of shortstops that are already in place," says Ricciardi.
Last week, Mets GM Sandy Alderson said the Mets were also exploring trade possibilities at the position, but that there was a greater chance than there was at the beginning of the offseason that Tejada would open 2014 as the team's starting shortstop.
While it doesn't necessarily sound like the Mets will be big players for Drew, who rejected a qualifying offer from the Red Sox, Ricciardi notes that, in general, he thinks the issue of draft pick forfeiture is only a minor consideration. The Mets' first-round pick in 2014, No. 10 overall, is protected, but the team already gave up its second-round pick to sign Curtis Granderson. "One of the things that is happening in baseball right now, that I scratch my head with [is that] young players are so overvalued right now, and I think falls in with the draft picks, too," Ricciardi says. "No one builds through the draft. You add through the draft." Ricciardi says that, to him, proven big-league players are more valuable.