Last winter, in the offseason of 2014, the New York Mets pressing need was a shortstop. In 2015, the same need exists. This season, the Mets platooned Ruben Tejada and Wilmer Flores at shortstop. Both players had adequate seasons, but left much to be desired at the end of the day. Tejada has been with the big league club for seven years now, and has shown consistent defense and gives the Mets a singles hitter. Wilmer Flores played better defense than expected at shortstop, but is better suited for second base or third base. Flores has power that will project better as a second baseman. With the expected departure of Daniel Murphy and the continued development of Dilson Herrera, Flores should have second base to himself. The infielder, who was nearly traded this July, will only see his value will grow this offseason as he can provide depth at the shortstop position, while assuming the second base role.
Having a versatile player like Flores will allow the Mets to part ways with Ruben Tejada and use that money towards an everyday shortstop. Flores and AAA shortstop, Matt Reynolds, will provide enough depth behind the new shortstop. Alexei Ramirez has had a solid career as a member of the Chicago White Sox. At the age of 34, Ramirez’s 2016 option was not picked up by the White Sox. Ramirez is now a free agent and should be at the top of the Mets front office’s wish list.
At the plate, Ramirez provides a consistent 10-15 home runs. As evidenced in the postseason, the Mets lack team speed. From the ages of 30-33, Ramirez put up 68 stolen bases. The combination of speed and power will certainly catch Sandy Alderson’s eyes. Last offseason the Mets kicked the tires on Ramirez, but he was coming off a career season. The price was deemed too rich for the Mets GM. This season, Ramirez should come at a more affordable contract. Ramirez averaged $8,125,000 in his last contract. Ramirez should command a three-year contract worth $28-30 million.
The Mets have some depth at shortstop in the system, but no one is ready to contribute to the big league roster in 2016. Locking up Ramirez for three years will pave the path for one of the young shortstops to grow into a major league role. Defensively, Ramirez provides another upgrade over the platoon of Flores and Tejada. Ramirez possesses a plus arm and phenomenal range laterally. Solidifying the middle infield defense will help the pitching staff and settle any potential extended innings. In the back of the lineup, Ramirez would provide the danger of a power threat unlike years past for this team. The lineup will become deeper, which is the formula the Royals used to win the World Series. With a very thin shortstop market this offseason, Ramirez should be at the top of the list for the New York Mets when they look to upgrade at that position.