Mets make minor moves

Signed John Lannan baseball card from my collection

Signed John Lannan baseball card from my collection

The New York Mets announced that they signed former Washington Nationals pitcher John Lannan to a minor league contract on Saturday.

Lannan, 29, is expected to compete with Jenrry Mejia for the fifth spot in the starting rotation and allow prospects like Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom more time to develop in the minor leagues.

I like Lannan – he pitches fast and gets ground balls, so he’s basically the anti-Daisuke Matsuzka.

However, Lannan had a bad year in 2013. Two separate trips to the disabled list with a knee injury limited him to just 85.1 innings last year, and he did not enjoy a lot of success with the Phillies when he was able to take the mound.

Sandy Alderson seems to have learned a lesson from his experiences with Shaun Marcum and Chris Young – Lannan has a minor league deal and will have to earn his way onto the major league roster. It seems like a nice low risk, moderate reward signing to me.

The Mets also brought back Omar Quintanilla on a minor league deal, which seems like a signal that Ruben Tejada will open the year as the starting shortstop. With Justin Turner non-tendered, the only other player on the Mets’ roster with shortstop experience is Wilfredo Tovar. Quintanilla is likely to either win the backup role outright so Tovar can get regular playing time in Triple-A, or compete with Tovar for that roster spot.

If someone like Stephen Drew was a realistic option to take the starting job away from Tejada, there’d be no need for Quintanilla – which was probably the reason he was non-tendered earlier this off-season. I really would have liked the Mets to spend the money on Drew since they don’t have any legitimate shortstop prospects in the upper minors, but Alderson can only work with the budget he’s given.

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About Paul

NY Mets enthusiast, toy collector, amateur gardener, Christian. I like to take pictures & write things.

Posted on January 18, 2014, in New York Mets and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Not that I think Stephen Drew is likely to end up playing his home games at CitiField, but I wouldn’t think that signing Quintanilla is necessarily a sign that Tejada is going to start. I would hope that if some opportunity came up that would require eating Q’s contract, it wouldn’t be a problem for the Mets. They’re not THAT destitute, are they?

    Don’t answer that.

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    • Signing Omar Quintanilla doesn’t prevent the Mets from signing Stephen Drew (or anyone else), but it does suggest that are not looking at Ruben Tejada as a backup infielder or minor leaguer the way they were earlier in the off-season.

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  2. Stephen Drew sucks! Sure, its easy to say “he’s better than what the Mets currently have”, but that’s a very low bar. Its shadows and light. You look at Tejada, you look at who else is available as a free agent, and suddenly Stephen Drew looks all world. Well, he’s not. He’s a money-pit. Next year’s free agent crop is a far sight better–Hanley Ramirez, Asdrubal Cabrera, and J.J. Hardy, to name 3. Though I still think your future shortstop is coming via trade.

    Nor do I think the non-tendering or signing the Q is indicative of anything. He’s not worth what he’d get in arbitration–not to anybody–but he’s a valuable guy at a bargain price. When they non-tendered him, I fully expected he’d be back, regardless of any other moves they made. If, God forbid, Sandy did sign Stephen Drew, it seems to me more likely you’d dump Tejada and keep Omar than the other way around. And, anyway, I’m guessing Omar could clear through waivers and Tejada probably still has an option or two. Heck, frankly, I don’t know that it would bother me all that much if Omar were the starter and Tejada rode the pines. 6 of one, half dozen of the other.

    You know what happens if the Mets sign Drew. You know. He spends two-thirds of the year on the DL and, when he does play, he bats .211 with no home runs and 3 RBIs.

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    • Stephen Drew is more or less a league average hitter who plays decent defense. No, he’s not worth getting excited about. And if you have any faith that Ruben Tejada can perform at the level he did in 2011 and 2012, Drew is probably not worth signing.

      But if the goal is to field the best possible team and you have enough money to do it, you obtain the best available players.

      Waiting for next year’s free agent class doesn’t seem all that realistic to me. Hanley Ramirez may not even hit the open market, and he will almost certainly be out of the Mets’ price range if he does. “Sticker shock” will probably apply with Asdrubal Cabrera and J.J. Hardy, too.

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      • Let’s say you have “some” money, but not an unlimited amount. Locking yourself in on an expensive multi-year pact with a mediocre talent like Drew handcuffs you for ANYTHING else you might want to do. No, not even with unlimited funds has it ever been anybody but the Yankees who will go and get the best “available” players–even if they happen to suck–just because they happen to be available. Any other team in baseball has to have a longer term outlook than just the immediate year ahead. I would fully expect the Mets GM to evaluate the situation thusly:

        Does Drew make us a better team in 2014? Yes.
        Does Drew make us a LOT better in 2014? Hmm, not really.
        Is Drew the difference between a pennant and no pennant in 2014? Not even close.
        Is Drew the kind of name or the kind of talent that the price of his contract will be mitigated at the box office? You’re joking, right?
        Does Drew bring us closer to a pennant in 2015? Nope.
        If we upgrade at another positions and fill other holes, is the plus or minus of Stephen Drew in 2015 going to be the difference maker? Not likely.
        If we DON’T upgrade at other positions and fill other holes, is the plus or minus of Drew in 2015 going to be the difference maker? LMAO.
        Given that signing Drew is going to require a multi-year deal, is having that money committed to Drew going to help the Mets get closer to a pennant in 2015 or move us farther away? More likely, the latter.
        Can the money be better spent on players acquired via trade or in next year’s free agent market? Oh, hell, yeah.

        I don’t see any way Drew is a net plus for this organization–even if you or I were the alternative at short–except on the margins and for the short term. Decidedly not worth it, even if you had money to burn. But you never know, right now Drew’s asking price has to be dropping by the hour, because most teams are going to reach the same conclusion that I just did. That the Mets did. Drew just isn’t very good and certainly not worth what he’s asking. He’s basically going to have to decide which is more important to him–the annual salary or the longer term. You (well, the Red Sox, actually) might pay him $15-20 mil for ONE year, or $8-10 per year for two. He’s not getting anything like a 3 year deal at $20 per. Ain’t happenin’. The Sox will only give him a one year deal, though they’ll pay more than the Mets. The Mets would go two years, but only on the cheap. These are Drew’s only choices. Even the Yankees say “pass”. And, when the Yankees say “pass”, you know you suck. They DO have the money and their starting shortstop is 40 years old.

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        • We agree – Stephen Drew is not worth a three-year, $45 million contract. But if Chris Young (who I’m not even completely convinced can hang onto a starting job) is worth $7.5 million, Drew is worth trying to sign if you can get him to take a two year contract worth somewhere between $15-$20 million total.

          And given the lack of interest – and the number of teams that need a shortstop – the Mets should be giving Scott Boras a call if they can actually afford a $95 million payroll this year. (Keep in mind, the average MLB payroll was a bit over $100 million last year, so I’m not exactly asking them to spend like the Yankees or Dodgers.)

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