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Earlier this month, Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com reported that the Oakland Athletics are currently in a state of uncertainty. Due to their uncertain future regarding a possible relocation to San Jose, the team is considering holding a fire sale that would allow them to field cheap young talent until Major League Baseball gives them an answer regarding their potential move.
Rosenthal said that the A’s are open to any trade offers for anyone on the roster, with the exception of their young second basemen Jemile Weeks. This includes two of their young starting pitchers Gio Gonzalez, a lefty, and Trevor Cahill, a righty, both of whom could fetch a significant return with the Free Agent starting pitching market as thin as it is.
The team’s reasoning, Rosenthal says, is that even if MLB does permit a move, construction of a new ballpark would take at least three years – which would mean Gonzalez would be eligible to become a free agent before the park opened.
Cahill, on the other hand, could be traded now in order to maximize his value and net the A’s prospects who would be able to christen the new park.
What does this mean for the Mets, you might ask?
This off-season, it is becoming increasingly evident that the Mets are in a state of financial disarray. The team has all but conceded from the Jose Reyes sweepstakes and even Chris Capuano seems to have priced himself out of the Mets range.
The Mets will have limited resources to spend on free agents to fill in holes in the bullpen, at second base and other positions. While the bullpen figures to be the area GM Sandy Alderson will devote most of his time and energy towards, the need for a front-end starting pitcher cannot be overlooked.
Gonzalez could be someone worth checking into. The left-hander has a 3.17 ERA over his last two seasons and has pitched 65 games over that span – averaging 8.2 strikeouts per nine innings and giving up less than a home run per game.
The hurler averaged 201 innings over the two seasons and could provide the Mets with a top of the rotation presence they desperately need.
What is also intriguing, and quite perfect for the Mets current financial situation, is Gonzalez’s arbitration eligibility. While Gonzalez is set to increase his salary, there is little doubt the Mets would prefer to either hammer out a figure or talk a long-term contract with Gonzalez rather than spending frivolously on someone from the Free Agent market.
If the Mets are serious about not “punting” the 2012 season, they will need to be creative with the limited resources they have – which means that trading could be the best option to improve the team moving forward.
Undoubtedly, Gonzalez would cost the Mets a decent amount of solid prospects. Fans on MMO have stressed that trading away parts of the farm system that the Mets have begun cultivating would be a mistake given the current state of the franchise. Names thrown around were trading the likes of Bobby Parnell, Nick Evans or others in an effort to get Gonzalez, while in reality it would likely cost the Mets much more.
While steep, the Mets would acquire a young arm that could be a solid rock in the rotation for years to come. Gonzalez would still be around when the likes of Zach Wheeler, Matt Harvey and others ascend to the majors and suddenly two or three years down the line, the Mets could have one of the best young rotations in the majors.
While the cost might seem steep now, the future could benefit from a strong arm anchoring the staff as the prospects begin to come up. Rebuilding is not just bringing up prospects, the Mets would be wise to have a forward thinking idea such as bringing in Gonzalez.