From Left Field: Mets Should Look To Red Sox As Trade Partners In Offseason

An article by posted on July 31, 2014 0 Comments
Yoenis Cespedes at the 2013 Home Run Derby at Citi Field (Photo by Jim Mancari)

Yoenis Cespedes at the 2013 Home Run Derby at Citi Field (Photo by Jim Mancari)

So another July 31 trade deadline has passed, and while the Mets maybe weren’t so active right now, some of the deals that occurred could actually affect the Amazin’s this offseason.

The Boston Red Sox completely overhauled their pitching staff by trading Jon Lester and John Lackey, as well as Felix Doubront and Andrew Miller.

In exchange, the Sox received two prominent outfielders: Yoenis Cespedes and Allen Craig. In looking at the team’s pitching however, it leaves must to be desired.

That’s where the Mets come into play.

It’s no secret that the Mets need a bat, and now the Red Sox could use a few arms, which the Mets have. So I wonder if these teams will be talking this offseason.

Starting with the Red Sox, let’s take a look at how their outfield would shape up next season. Shane Victorino is still under contract. Jackie Bradley Jr. – though he’s struggled with the bat at times – provides excellent defense in center field. Brock Holt has hit well in a limited sample, and Daniel Nava could be a solid option as a fourth or fifth outfielder. And don’t forget that the team has a big-time outfield prospect in Mookie Betts.

Naturally, one of the corner spots would be filled by either Cespedes or Craig. So let’s hypothetically say that next year’s outfield in Boston will consist of Cespedes or Craig in left, Bradley Jr./Holt in center and Victorino in right.

Since David Ortiz and Mike Napoli will still be around, that limits Craig to solely an outfield role, rather than playing first base or DH – though he could fill in at times in those spots but likely not regularly to warrant keeping him, given the team’s pitching holes.

If I were the Mets, I would inquire this offseason to see if Cespedes or Craig will be available via trade. Certainly, Cespedes would be the huge bat the Mets need for the middle of the order, but a guy like Craig coming off a tough year could be a smart gamble, especially given his versatility.

Cespedes has one year at $10.5 million remaining on his contract after this season. That’s a bargain considering his offensive production, not mention his ability to gun down runners at any base.

Craig meanwhile has three years left on his contract with a $13 million club option for 2018.

I’m not crazy about the idea of giving up a Noah Syndergaard or Jacob deGrom type prospect for A) a guy like Cespedes who only has one year left on his deal or B) a lesser player like Craig who has too many years left.

But if the Mets could negotiate an extension with Cespedes as part of a trade, now we’re talking.

And as far as Craig, a package of lesser prospects along with maybe Dillon Gee or Jon Niese could get a deal done. Even a straight-up deal for one of the veteran pitchers may work.

Cespedes to me is the impact bat the Mets are seeking. Craig I feel is more of a stopgap player, and the team already has too many of those.

So let’s see if Sandy Alderson gives the Red Sox a call this offseason.

Let me post this to the audience: Would you rather see the team try to acquire Cespedes knowing it would take Syndergaard or deGrom (and other prospects potentially too), or would you settle for Craig for a package centered around Gee or Niese, rather than the young electric arms?

Certainly a tough call.

About the Author ()

Jim Mancari hails from Massapequa, N.Y. He earned a Master's degree in journalism from Hofstra University. He is a devout Mets fan and takes pride in his team, despite their lack of success over the last few years. Like all Mets fans, Jim has plenty of hope. He also writes as the sports reporter for the Brooklyn Tablet newspaper and the senior editor of metroBASEBALL Magazine. Be sure to visit http://www.jimmancari.com/