Who Will Be Traded?

Who will be traded? Sandy may not have much money to spend, but he sure needs to fill a lot of holes. The trade market could be a major tool for the Mets heading into the winter.

Of course, two unsettling things for Mets fans heading into the off-season, are the present situations at the two defensive positions, shortstop and centerfield. Shortstop will remain up-in-the-air for quite some time. At least until Jose has drank deep from the cup of big time free agency. But even if Reyes does go elsewhere for more money, at least there is a suitable back-up in-house already, in Ruben Tejada. Centerfield however, has Mets fans in a quandary. Who is the real Angel Pagan? And which one will be playing major league baseball next year?

There are a significant number of fans on MMO, that have expressed their confidence that Pagan will be the “good Pagan” next year. Others have blogged that his good year was a fluke, and he’ll never be anything more than a fourth outfielder. Some, from both camps, have pointed out that there really is no one else out there. Rick Ankiel? He can play the game, but he suffers a significant drop-off when he hits against lefties, so you would need to platoon with him. But, barring a trade, it’s true, that at the start of the 2012 season, Pagan is the best candidate to be in CF everyday.

With luck Captain Kirk has a speedy recovery and is back on the field by May. That could make him a factor for the Mets by the second half next year. Unfortunately, there are no other centerfielders on the farm that will be ready anytime soon. Raul Reyes has played almost exclusively RF. Lagares exclusively in LF, and FMart is strictly a corner outfielder, and might find himself at first-base next year to preserve his gimpy knees. Unless SA trades for a legitimate big league centerfielder, Pagan must remain to man the position until someone better comes along.

But what about the corner spots, both infield and outfield? Wright and Davis should comprise the infield corners. Bay and Duda the outfield corners. But what about Murphy? The man without a position. He really was horrendous in the outfield the first time around, and the thought that he can learn to be a good defensive corner outfielder is a pipe-dream. If you think it’s ok to have Murphy learning on the job to play the outfield, when he may never be able to, then you are ok with losing baseball. It makes no sense, especially when he seems perfectly comfortable at 3B and can do a good job there. With all of DWright’s problems at third, too bad you can’t consider a move to first, and put Murphy at third, but then you have Davis coming back next year.

One thing becomes apparent, you have four corner positions, and five starters, and someone is going to be traded this winter, you can take that to the bank. Who will it be?

Ike Davis – Not a chance. Even without his injury I would say the Mets intend to keep him at all costs. He’s got big league power, plays great defense, and is perfectly cut-out for playing in NY. It is obvious that he has not even scratched the surface of his abilities yet. With his season lost to injury his value is at a low point now and it would be asinine to trade him.

Lucas Duda – Very doubtful for him to be traded anytime soon. Unless they were getting back a right-fielder in the trade. Duda will not be traded for many of the same reasons as Ike, minus the “excellent fielder” tag. Duda’s scary LH power make him an intriguing prospect, and one to hold onto for a while. In addition, despite his newness to the position, he’s got more experience in RF than all the other four listed here put together.

Jason Bay – Now this would be something else! If Sandy could trade Bay it would be an amazing accomplishment. Talk about addition by subtraction. But with two years and well over $30 million owed to him, Bay will be very tough to unload. Recent suggestions of a Crawford for Bay trade are interesting, but I don’t see the Mets making a trade that will put them on-the-hook for any more money, or years of a bad contract, than they are already committed to.

Even if you did trade Bay, however, and didn’t have to take back a left-fielder like Crawford, the alignment would start to look funny, with Duda and Murphy now manning the outfield corners. That makes for some pretty bad outfield defense over the course of a full year. Unless you did something radical like moving Duda to LF, playing DWright at 1B, Ike moves to RF, and Murphy settles in at 3B? Oh boy I can’t wait till you guys get a hold of this! Just remember this only hot-stove talk! So go easy.

Daniel Murphy – If they can get something in return for Murph, like a future catcher, or package him with a prospect to bring back a middle of the rotation starter, it might make the most sense to just trade Murphy and leave everybody else right where they are. I mean sure you could always use Murphy in a utility role where he plays first, second and third and maybe even a game in the OF once in a while, but that is tough on a player, and he is worth more, as a .300 hitter, in a trade.

David Wright – Wright represents the Mets number one commodity. He is the one single entity that belongs to the Mets, that is worth the most in a trade. This is of course a combination of his stature as a major-leaguer, combined with his present contract status. Both actually make him easier to trade now, rather than being prohibitive. On the surface trading Wright would take one of their top remaining run producers out of the line-up, but also creates a place where Murphy could play, and succeed on defense. What could the Mets get for David Wright?

There have been rumors over the years that the Colorado Rockies have had an interest in acquiring the third baseman. The most recent was a rumor that the Rockies had claimed Wright off revocable waivers in August. Here’s a recent trade suggestion by Jack Butler of Bleacher Report, between the Mets and the Rockies:

Rockies get: 3B David Wright

Mets get: RHP Huston Street, RHP Edgmer Escalona, C Wilin Rosario

We all know about the Mets’ need for a closer. Nobody on the roster has been able to fill that void. Street may not be Mariano Rivera, but he’s converted 29-of-33 save opportunities this season.

Wilin Rosario is one of the best catching prospects in baseball. I love what I’ve seen from him, and he could potentially be the long-term answer at catcher.

Escalona is a promising young pitcher, but I stayed away from their top pitching prospects like Rex Brothers and Tyler Matzek. Because of that, I think this is a very reasonable trade proposal.

Now I don’t necessarily agree with this trade as proposed by Mr. Butler, but I think he is definitely onto something. Take out Escalona, and replace him with one of the top three or four pitchers in their system, like Matzek or Brothers, or even Chad Bettis, Parker Frazier, or Casey Weathers, and the Mets wouldn’t even be asking for top pitcher Drew Pomeranz. The Mets would be filing the hole at closer, adding hopefully a catcher for the future, and a top pitching prospect.

Of course trading Wright does one more thing that seems to be a goal of the front office these days, dumping salary. If the money saved was put into the aquisition of some quality pitching that would be one thing, but would any savings like that be reinvested into the team? Only time will tell.

Watch for some trades this winter, I expect the Mets to be very active at the winter meetings. It’s time to get aggressive Sandy and fix this team. I am not advocating trading David, or Murph, but all possibilities to improve the team have to be considered.