The New York Mets have been unsuccessful in trying to find an adequate shortstop to replace Jose Reyes for two seasons, but Arizona Diamondbacks’ shortstop-second baseman Chris Owings could be the answer to the Mets’ shortstop woes.
Reyes was a very good shortstop, when he was healthy, for the Mets from 2003 to 2011. He managed to be successful despite hitting only 81 home runs during that time span; he was able to be successful by being a very good average hitter and base runner.
During his stint with the Mets, Reyes’ worst batting average, when he played at least 100 games in a season, was .273 in 2005. This helped him finish with a .292 batting average while he was with the team. When Reyes was able to get on base, he was able to be very efficient on the base paths.
His worst stolen base season when he played at least 100 games was 30 in 2010. This led to him finishing with an impressive stolen base total, 370, during his stint with the team.
Reyes signed with the then-Florida Marlins succeeding the 2011 season. The Mets have been trying to find a good replacement for him, but they have been very unsuccessful.
In 2012, the Mets used Ruben Tejada as their primary shortstop in 114 games. He was only a very good average hitter, batting .289. Tejada only had four stolen bases that season and had 53 runs — Hitting for a .289 average is very good, but it means nothing if he cannot take advantage of it on the base paths.
In 2012, the Mets used Omar Quintanilla as their primary shortstop, 95 games. He was much worse than Tejada. Quintanilla had a .222 batting average and was very ineffective for the Mets. The Mets might have had enough of their poor offensive performances the past two seasons at the shortstop position, according to Michael Silverman of the bostonherald.com:
‘I think it’s more likely if we come up with a ‘high-end’ shortstop or someone we like, it’s more likely to come in a trade,’ (Mets’ general manager Sandy) Alderson to reporters.”
One possibility the Mets have been considering is signing free agent shortstop Stephen Drew, according to Mark Polishuk of MLBtraderumors.com. The problem with Drew is that he will turn 31-years-old in March.
This is a problem because they would probably have to give him a two-year contract. It would be a huge risk for the Mets because he has only played 100 games in a season once since 2010.
Another option the Mets have to get a potential upgrade at the shortstop position is Owings. He is 22 years old and he has shown that he can be a good every day shortstop. Owings was having a very good minor league season, prior to Diamondbacks calling him up in September. In his first Triple A season, 125 games, he smacked 12 home runs, scored 104 times, stole 20 bases and had a .330 batting average.
In limited playing time with the Diamondbacks, 20 games, he had a .291 batting average and stole two bases. Mark Anderson and Mike Gianella of baseballprospectus.com said that Owings can be “an above-average defender overall” and “post a .270-275 average, and the pop to pound 25 doubles and 15 home runs.”
They also mentioned that he could steal 20 bases each year, prior to his September call-up.
Polishuk listed Owings as one of the shortstops that could be traded at some point this offseason. This is probably the case because the Diamondbacks have the efficient Aaron Hill at second base and a young player in Didi Gregorious at shortstop.
It is unknown what the Diamondbacks would want for Owings, but Owings’ potential would make him an upgrade at shortstop over Tejada and Quintanilla.