As the season approaches its third month, the Mets still don't have a clear answer at shortstop, with Ruben Tejada struggling so much at the plate that he's left himself open to threat of Wilmer Flores taking his starting job.
Yet for all that trouble, the Mets never made a serious bid to lure 31-year-old free agent Stephen Drew.
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After weeks of speculation about where he would land, Drew Tuesday accepted a one-year deal with his old team, the Red Sox. He signed for $10 million -- or the prorated amount of the $14-million qualifying offer he spurned from the Red Sox to become a free agent.
General manager Sandy Alderson said the Mets weren't prepared to make a commitment of that size to Drew, who hit .253 with 13 homers and 67 RBIs with the world champion Red Sox.
"I think the short answer is no," Alderson said. "I don't think I ever said we didn't have interest in Drew. But under all of the circumstances, we decided not to pursue it."
Draft pick compensation also loomed large. By rule, every team aside from Boston would have been forced to part with a draft pick for signing Drew. In the case of the Mets, acquiring the shortstop would have cost a third-round draft pick.
"That may be one factor that distinguishes the Red Sox from everybody else in baseball," Alderson said.
According to sources, the Mets discussed signing Drew, though only if he were willing to lower his asking price. Those talks never progressed to a serious stage, even with the emergence of a clear deficiency at shortstop.
Tejada is hitting just .185. While Flores is considered the best internal alternative, scouts have long criticized his lack of range defensively. The Mets called up Flores to push Tejada for playing time. But Tejada responded with a hot streak that forced Flores to the bench.
"We're trying to do the best we can to make sure he gets some at-bats, to make sure he gets playing time," Terry Collins said. "It's not easy."