The D-Backs and now looking to trade SS prospect Didi Gregorius for a big-league-ready starting pitcher to offset the loss of their ace, Patrick Corbin, according to an industry source (ESPN, Mar. 19).
Arizona had two scouts watching Mets minor leaguers at Tradition Field on Tuesday (ESPN, Mar. 19).
The potential swap between the Mets and D-Backs for Gregorius is worth watching because "it has legs," according to a person unaffiliated with the two teams (Rubin, Mar. 19).
It was reported that Arizona preferred to trade SS Chris Owings, who has drawn comparisons to Craig Biggio, while Gregorius is better known for his infield defense.
It reads like Rafael Montero, Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia are going to be Sandy Alderson's best shot at trading for a young shortstop, whether Gregorius, Owings or M's SS Nick Franklin. The D-Backs really like Travis d'Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki, as well. I've heard from people who know that team who say they'd be open to something like Montero and d'Arnaud, or Syndergaard and Plawecki, but that is way too much for one of their infielders, so I wonder if other players can be had from Arizona, as well.
I also can't see Alderson trading Montero, Familia or Mejia to get Franklin, who may end up being only slightly better than Wilmer Flores - especially when the Mets can just cave, give free-agent SS Stephen Drew a two-year, $20 million deal, keep their prospects and be done with this nonsense. Signing Drew would move Tejada to the bench, allow Flores to keep working at shortstop in Triple-A and save prospects for a bigger, better deal in the next year (and still probably leave ammunition to trade for a Franklin or Gregorius if there is still a need).
In regards to Drew, yes, I think two-years and $20 million can get it done, and I have no idea why that is an issue for Alderson. I can only assume Drew's agent, Scott Boras, is still holding out for more. Worst-case, Drew is under contract as a utility guy next year at what is not a roster-crushing rate. I know he's not an All Star, and probably worth less than that deal, but with so few internal options and a reluctance to trade pitching it's the easiest way to end this discussion, solidify the position and regain leverage in the trade market. The Mets would need to part with a third-round pick to sign Drew, but it has never sounded to me like that is a huge hurdle for Alderson.
In the end, I still think Tejada will be the Opening Day shortstop, which you can read more about here, but I don't think his place there will last forever... and maybe not even beyond the first week of the season.