Admittedly, I don't want to do this. Seeing Tejada at SS puts a sour taste in my mouth after last season, and seeing Omar Quintanilla manning the position really makes me want to puke. But with news coming out that signing Stephen Drew is unlikely -- whether true or just a negotiation tactic -- I figured I'd try to view the anti-Drew sentiment from our front office's perspective. And truthfully, as much as I hate to say so, there is actually a pretty good case against the signing of Stephen Drew.
1) Regression and over-reliance on 1 year of data. There was a big gap between Stephen Drew and Ruben Tejada last season. By Fangraphs' WAR, Drew was worth +3.4 wins versus Tejada's -0.3. That's a pretty significant gap. In 2012, however, Tejada was worth +1.8 wins versus Drew's -0.3, due to missed time and ineffectiveness when he did play. In 2011, Tejada was worth +1.6 wins versus Drew's +1.7 in roughly the same amount of plate appearances.
Both players are likely headed towards a form of regression in 2014. in Drew's case, that's regressing down; in Tejada's case, it's regressing up, because it's hard to be as bad as he was last season. If we look at the two top projection systems out there (in my opinion) -- Steamer and ZiPS -- this is what they think of Drew and Tejada in 2014:
Steamer, Drew: .232/.314/.378, +1.8 WAR
Steamer, Tejada: .260/.317/.339, +1.6 WAR
ZiPS, Drew: .239/.312/.393, +1.6 WAR
ZiPS, Tejada: .255/.309/.326, +1.5 WAR
In both cases, the difference in projected value is basically negligible; ZiPS and Steamer think Tejada and Drew will be the same player in 2014. I personally think the gap is bigger, probably around 1 win or slightly more, which is in line with what Fangraphs' Fan project (+3 wins for Drew, +1.8 for Tejada). That brings us to the next point....
2) Marginal value of wins. If we put ZiPS and Steamer aside and assume the gap is actually closer to +1 win or slightly more in favor of Drew, we have to consider what the addition of 1 win does for the Mets. Here are a handful of projected win-loss records from some notable sources:
Clay Davenport: http://claydavenport.../PROJHOME.shtml
These people and systems see the Mets as something around a 75 to 77 win ballclub right now. That means 1 win makes the team a 76 win team instead of 75, or a 78 win team instead of 76, depending on where your starting point is. But the point is, the addition of 1 win doesn't make much of a difference given where the Mets are. If the Mets were projected to be over .500 over by a few games, then you enter a placement on the win curve where every added win could be huge, increasing the cost value of that win to your team. In short, adding 1 win to a projected 85-win team is much more valuable than adding 1 win to a projected 75-win team. In the Mets' case, is adding 1 win in 2014 worth taking on an additional $10 million or more in salary, for the next two to three seasons?
The concept of marginal value of wins is pretty simple to understand, and I'm sure most readers on here are very familiar with it, but if you wanted to read a little more about it, go here.
3) Draft pick compensation. The cost of signing Drew isn't just monetary. The Mets already gave up their 2nd round pick to sign Curtis Granderson. If they sign Drew, not only will he likely get an 8-figure deal over multiple years, but he'd also cost the Mets their 3rd rounder. Let's remember the Mets are still a rebuilding team that really shouldn't be in the business of handing away valuable draft picks and the bonus pool money that is attached to those picks, especially when you are only making what looks like a 1 win upgrade to a mediocre roster, or no upgrade, if we are to believe Steamer and ZiPS.
Do I still want Stephen Drew? I do. Maybe that's irrational based on everything I just said. But I made this post as an experiment to see it from the front office's perspective. In that light, I think there are a few pretty good reasons that work against signing Drew. I'm no antsier than anybody else is to see Tejada starting at SS for the 2014 Mets, believe me. But not signing Stephen Drew actually does makes sense given the situation the Mets are in, as much as I hate to say it.