Stephen Drew Rumors
Here's the latest from Jon Morosi of FOX Sports:
- The Tigers' recent trade for Andrew Romine suggests that they will not pursue Stephen Drew even though he's the best free agent available at shortstop. As owner Mike Ilitch ages, he may involve himself less with team business, and the team may be less likely to splurge when an opportunity arises. And the loss of a first-round draft pick is a high price to pay.
- As Opening Day approaches, the Angels still haven't signed Mike Trout to an extension. Players and teams sometimes treat Opening Day as a deadline for extension discussions. That doesn't mean the Angels won't sign Trout, Morosi notes, but as of now, a signing does not appear to be on the immediate horizon.
- With Aroldis Chapman out and with Jonathan Broxton and Sean Marshall returning from injury, the Reds have at least a temporary vacancy at closer. One trade option to fill it could be the Diamondbacks' J.J. Putz, who has closing experience and who worked with current Reds manager Bryan Price when both were with the Mariners.
Free agent shortstop Stephen Drew would be willing to negotiate a one-year contract with the Tigers, reports John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press. The belief, according to Lowe, is that Drew would be interested in landing a deal at approximately the same value as the qualifying offer ($14.1MM), but wants to wait to sign until after Opening Day to prevent the possibility of another QO next year.
Of course, speculation about the possibiity of Detroit signing Drew began immediately after the report indicating that incumbent shortstop Jose Iglesias would likely miss most of the season. But Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski has said he intends to rely on internal options, and the club just dealt for Andrew Romine to provide another option or platoon piece. It remains to be seen whether the Tigers would be inclined to sacrifice a pick for Drew if they could limit their commitment to one year, but that possiility certainly is an intriguing option for a talented club that has suffered several important recent injuries.
It's already been a busy day for shortstop news as we've heard that the Diamondbacks are looking to trade Didi Gregorius for pitching, the Cardinals are shopping Pete Kozma, and the Tigers have been asking teams about available shortstops, even scouting such options as Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney. Here are some more shortstop-related rumors...
- The Tigers aren't likely "to make a serious push" for Kozma, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports opines (Twitter link), because they have a similar player in Danny Worth.
- There haven't been any reports linking the Tigers to the Mariners' Nick Franklin, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports. Franklin is perhaps better suited as a second baseman and may not have the glove to handle short, Heyman suggests.
- One scout suggested that Adeiny Hechavarria might be the sort of defensive specialist that Detroit would want at short. A Marlins source, however, tells Heyman that the Fish have yet to be contacted about Hechavarria.
- Several executives around baseball believe that signing Drew would be the best solution to the Mets' shortstop problem, Heyman reports. A multiyear deal for Drew would give the Mets an answer at short for 2015, when the team could look to contend once Matt Harvey is healthy.
- The Mets would be interested in Drew on a one-year, $9MM contract or possibly a two-year, $20MM deal, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports. There haven't been any signs that Scott Boras, Drew's agent, would settle for either price.
- Also from Martino, the view on current Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada from opposing scouts is that he's "a solid player, who appears spooked by the pressures of playing in the New York market, and hearing criticism from his own front office." One scout believes that Tejada “could be OK, but he needs to get out of New York. [He's] a classic change-of-scenery guy.”
- A source not connected to either the Mets or Diamondbacks tells Adam Rubin of ESPN New York (Twitter link) that the rumor of Gregorius going to New York "has legs" and is a situation to watch.
The Tigers' best way to address their shortstop issue is to try an internal option, like Danny Worth, then reevaluate the matter if Worth struggles, MLive.com's James Schmehl writes. At that point, if Stephen Drew is still a free agent, the Tigers could call agent Scott Boras. Schmehl also doesn't think the Tigers should pay a high price for the Diamondbacks' Chris Owings when the injured Jose Iglesias remains their shortstop of the future. Drew was the top option in an MLBTR readers poll earlier today, as over 37% of voters felt that the Tigers will ultimately just sign the veteran shortstop to replace Iglesias.
Here are more notes from around the AL Central...
- The Phillies and Cubs were among the many teams who had scouts watching the Tigers' minor leaguers in action on Wednesday, MLB.com's Jason Beck reports. Earlier today, we heard that the Tigers were scouting Darwin Barney and Nate Schierholtz of the Cubs to address their holes at short and left field, respectively.
- Shaun Marcum would like to stay in the Indians organization even if he doesn't make their rotation, MLB.com's Jordan Bastian tweets. Marcum can opt out of his deal if he does not make the team out of spring training. Marcum was supposed to compete for the Indians' fifth starter job, but he has fallen behind as he has continued to recover from thoracic outlet syndrome and is unlikely to be ready for the start of the season.
- The Pirates have reportedly been shopping outfielder Jose Tabata, but the Twins are probably not among the interested teams, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets.
- The Twins' final roster decisions are being complicated by both a number of out-of-options players and the fact that several players competing for jobs simply haven't performed well at Spring Training, MLB.com's Andrew Simon reports. "Nobody's really stepped up to try to earn the spots, and that's a bad feeling when you're looking at giving spots away," Twins assistant GM Mark Antony told reporters, including Simon.
MLBTR's Charlie Wilmoth also contributed to this post
For the Tigers, signing free agent shortstop Stephen Drew would make "a great deal of sense," Dayn Perry of CBS Sports writes. Jose Iglesias looks likely to miss much of the season with a leg injury. The Tigers are lucky, in a sense, that a player as good as Drew is still out there to pursue. And though they would have to sacrifice the No. 23 overall pick in the draft to sign Drew, they need to focus on their goal of winning the 2014 World Series, Perry suggests. If Iglesias were to return at midseason, the Tigers could potentially move Drew to third base if Nick Castellanos isn't performing well there. Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski, however, has recently indicated that he is not interested in signing Drew. Here's more from the American League.
- The Blue Jays are building their 25-man roster with the purpose of keeping out-of-options players in the organization, MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm reports. Brett Cecil, Jeremy Jeffress, Luis Perez, Esmil Rogers, Sergio Santos, Todd Redmond and Moises Sierra are all out of options. Recent cuts Chad Jenkins and Neil Wagner might have received more consideration if the Blue Jays hadn't had the ability to send them to the minors.
- Orioles executive Dan Duquette has done a nice job finding talent on the fringes, writes MLB.com's Richard Justice. That includes pitcher Miguel Gonzalez, who the Orioles signed from the Mexican League as a 27-year-old, and outfielder Nate McLouth, who the O's acquired after he was released by the Pirates and who played a key role down the stretch in 2012.
GM Dave Dombrowski says the Tigers will not pursue free agent shortstop Stephen Drew, the Detroit News' Lynn Henning reports. Dombrowski says the Tigers will go with "internal candidates" to replace the injured Jose Iglesias at shortstop, perhaps including Danny Worth, Eugenio Suarez or Hernan Perez.
Henning takes that to mean that the Tigers might still have interest in pursuing trades as a way of finding a new shortstop, but they will not pursue Drew. The Tigers have the No. 23 pick in the upcoming draft, and Henning suggests they do not want to give that up in order to sign Drew. They also do not want to sign Drew to a long-term deal when Iglesias still figures to be their long-term answer at shortstop.
It emerged this weekend that Iglesias' shin injury would cause him to miss most of the 2014 season. That news has led to increased speculation that the Tigers would sign Drew, who previously had not been able to find much of a market after rejecting a qualifying offer from the Red Sox.
Kendrys Morales and Stephen Drew both share the same agent (Scott Boras), the same predicament (unsigned free agents with draft pick compensation attached), and the same frustration over their situation, writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. "Nothing I can do," Morales told Cafardo. "I don’t understand, but I’m just waiting for something." Morales and Drew work out together for five hours each day, six days a week. "We don’t talk too much about what we’re going through," said Drew, who turns 31 today. "We talk about other things mostly, but he’s been a good guy to work out with and go through this with." Cafardo opines that the pair reside in baseball prison, adding that Morales makes sense for the Mariners, Brewers, and Pirates, while the Mets remain the best fit for Drew. Also from his Sunday Baseball Notes column:
- According to Cafardo, there are scouts and front office people who feel the best fit for Drew is actually New York's other team: the Yankees.
- The Yankees are a little cautious about dealing catcher Francisco Cervelli since they believe he's the best option to start if something should happen to Brian McCann.
- Manny Ramirez is eyeing another MLB comeback and is working out in Miami with Miguel Tejada, but the 12-time All-Star has an image problem to overcome. "He's poison," one National League GM told Cafardo. “I know he's changed his life around and his personality has changed, but I doubt anyone would take the risk, especially with a 42-year-old player. I think a lot of teams would pardon one PED offense, but two? I doubt it, but crazier things have happened. Never take away the fact he was one of the greatest right-handed hitters ever."
- In a separate article, Cafardo reports, with the renaissance of Grady Sizemore and the very good camps of Bryce Brentz and Corey Brown, the Red Sox's outfield depth could lead to a trade. Mike Carp is the leading candidate to be dealt because of his ability to also play the infield corners. The Tigers, Brewers, and Pirates have reportedly shown interest in the 27-year-old.
Scott Boras says he has "had dialogue" with the Mets regarding Stephen Drew, Newsday's Anthony Rieber reports. Boras also seemed to criticize the Mets, however, for their lack of interest in signing Drew. "The bigger issue is the credibility of the teams that are deficient," said Boras. "They have known weaknesses. ... When these players are available and clubs that have weaknesses are not pursuing them, a question of the integrity of what the goals of the organization are come to mind." The Mets still plan to go into the 2014 season with Ruben Tejada as their starting shortstop. Here are more notes from New York.
- One source close to Drew indicates he is unlikely to sign with the Mets, Dan Martin of the New York Post writes. Drew still wants a multiyear deal, and the Mets reportedly don't want to give him one.
- The Mets also haven't had significant talks with the Mariners about middle infielder Nick Franklin, Mike Puma of the New York Post tweets. The Mets had previously been connected to Franklin, who became expendable when the Mariners acquired Robinson Cano.
- The last day to release a player with a non-guaranteed Major League contract and pay just one-sixth of his salary was Wednesday, ESPN New York's Adam Rubin notes (on Twitter). In that context, it may be at least somewhat notable that Ike Davis is still with the Mets. Davis suffered through a disappointing season in 2013 and now has a calf injury. Davis has frequently been connected to other teams in trade rumors and is set to make just $3.5MM in 2014, however, so it seems unlikely the Mets would release him. They could, however, still do so and only pay one-fourth of his salary if they make the decision by March 26.
Though Ervin Santana and Nelson Cruz have both caved and agreed to one-year deals after their free agent markets were significantly weighed down by their rejection of qualifying offers, Kendrys Morales and Stephen Drew have no such plans to do, agent Scott Boras tells ESPN's Jerry Crasnick. Instead, the two plan to continue working out while awaiting multi-year deals, and could hold out until after the June amateur draft to do so (after which the draft compensation will no longer apply).
Boras feels that the qualifying offer system has "basically prevented them from free agency," opining that the system has instead placed both players "in jail." He offers criticism both of the system and of those who feel that his clients simply made a poor decision by not accepting a qualifying offer. Says Boras:
"Everybody talks about these players turning down these (one-year) qualifying offers like they're village idiots. The reason is, they don't want to be in the same position again next year. If I'm a good player, I'm going to take the prospect of free agency. If I'm one of these players, I'm not on the train to free agency -- I'm on the ferris wheel of multiple qualifying offers. It is circular. There is no escape hatch to the system."
Whether or not one agrees with Boras' assessment of the system, there's certainly truth to the fact that players coming off strong seasons don't want to sign a one-year deal and find themselves in the same situation a year later. Players want security and stability both for themselves and their families; the prospect of either being separated from your family for a year or continually moving your family around the country does not appeal to many.
From my view, it's rather telling that Jhonny Peralta, who is nearly 11 months older than Drew and coming off a season in which he served a 50-game suspension for PEDs, was able to secure a four-year, $53MM contract while Drew remains unemployed. There's something to be said about contending teams with significant payrolls simply not feeling a need to add a shortstop, but one would imagine that Drew's market would improve significantly were the qualifying offer not attached. That's not to say he'd have received as large a guarantee as Peralta, but a reasonable three-year deal seems like it should have been attainable. A one-year deal, even at a higher rate than the average annual value he might receive on a three- or four-year deal, doesn't seem practical for a 30-year-old shortstop coming off a solid season.
While much has been made of the Yankees' lack of infield depth in 2014, Joel Sherman of the New York Post points out that the depth beyond this coming season is even more concerning. Of the team's starting infielders, only Mark Teixeira is under contract after 2014, and they have little in the way of MLB-ready replacements within the organization. As such, Sherman reports that when scouting other clubs, the Yankees aren't looking for platoon partners for Kelly Johnson or Brian Roberts; they're looking for a "500 at-bat" type of player who could start in 2015. Rival scouts are focusing on the Yankees' catchers, and a deal centered around Francisco Cervelli and Gordon Beckham "is not impossible," writes Sherman. He adds that Mason Williams could be a trade chip with the Yankees' outfield now locked in for the foreseeable future.
Here are some more links pertaining to the AL East...
- Asked by MLB.com's Paul Hagen about the possibility of being traded, Cervelli replied: "I don't know. I've been here forever. I don't have that answer, because I feel right now like this is my house. But if somebody wants me to go over there, I've got to make the adjustment, you know?" Cervelli added that his dream has always been to be a starting catcher, but he accepts his role as a backup to Brian McCann. Manager Joe Girardi told Hagen that he feels Cervelli could be a starter for another organization, praising Cervelli's development offensively and defensively.
- Hagen also writes that Michael Pineda has made a good impression with the Yankees this spring, but manager Joe Girardi suggested that he'd be on an innings limit if he won the fifth starter's job. "Let's just say, hypothetically, he was a starter at some point," Girardi said to Hagen. "You're going to have to adjust. Because you're not getting 200 innings from him." Pineda shrugged off Girardi's comments when asked about them, stating that he knows it's Girardi's choice to make, and he's simply preparing himself to be ready to pitch every fifth day.
- Stephen Drew tells Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe that doesn't know where he's going to be playing in 2014, but he's confident that a club will sign him and that he can help the team win. Drew is working out with fellow free agent Kendrys Morales at the Scott Boras Training Institute in Miami and says he feels he is coming off his best defensive season in the Majors. He'd love to return to Boston, but acknowledges that he can see why the team wants to give Xander Bogaerts a long look at shortstop. Drew doesn't say it directly, but he hints at his displeasure with the qualifying offer/compensatory draft pick system.
- Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com hears from scouts outside the Orioles organization that Baltimore is on the hunt for a backup catcher. The club has yet to commit to choosing solely betwee Steve Clevenger and Johnny Monell for that distinction. Kubatko writes that manager Buck Showalter feels the decision will ultimately come down to defense.