The Arizona Diamondbacks are making Didi Gregorius, and not fellow shortstop Chris Owings, available in trade discussions with other teams, an industry source told ESPN New York.
The D-backs seek an MLB-ready starting pitcher in return, hoping to offset the loss of intended Opening Day starter Patrick Corbin with a UCL tear.
A trio of Arizona scouts, including special assistant Todd Greene, watched a Mets intrasquad game involving Double-A and Triple-A players Tuesday on a back field at the Port St. Lucie complex. Noah Syndergaard, Logan Verrett and Jacob deGrom, who all may be in Triple-A Las Vegas’ rotation to open the season, pitched in that game. Syndergaard almost certainly is off-limits in Mets discussions, writes Adam Rubin.
We speculated on this Monday, which you can read below.
With Didi Gregorius losing Arizona’s shortstop battle to star prospect Chris Owings, he suddenly becomes an intriguing trade target for the New York Mets. While some Mets fans aren’t high on Gregorius, he would solidify the Mets weakness at shortstop. Gregorius is an extremely talented player, and he has the ability to become a solid major league starter.
Coming up through the minor league leagues, Gregorius was a top rated prospect. Baseball America ranked him the 80th best prospect in baseball last season, and he was rated #63 overall by MLB.com. While he never had impressive minor league statistics, scouts have always raved about his athleticism and defensive skills.
With Gregorius’ standout defensive skills, his fielding was impressive for the Diamondbacks last season. He showed above average range, and he showcased a very strong throwing arm. Solid defense up the middle is crucial for the Mets, so this factor alone makes him a valuable piece.
While some criticize him for his hitting, these concerns are overblown. Even though he hit just .252 with seven home runs and a .332 on-base last year, these numbers should not be held against him so harshly. 2013 was Gregorius’ first full season in the majors, and he was just 23 years old. As he gains more experience and strength, his numbers will likely improve. Also, production among shortstops around the league is extremely low, so he does not need to post incredible numbers in order to be a productive player at his position.
While his late season slump at the end of the season is worrisome, there is no denying his talent. He has better skills across the board than incumbent Ruben Tejada, so he would be a significant upgrade this season. Since Gregorius is a young and inexpensive player, he is also a piece that the Mets can potentially build around as well, and he won’t cost nearly as much as Owings would have or Nick Franklin as well.