The New York Mets have pulled off the first blockbuster trade of the MLB offseason by trading for Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz. However, the Mets paid a big price including prized prospects for a 36-year-old second baseman with a massive contract. I break down why this trade could come back to haunt the Mets and why Brodie Van Wagenen’s impact in this deal.
Yo? Yo? Where are you Yo? This has been the question on a lot of Mets fans minds as the team’s star slugger has fallen off the map since he went on the disabled list on May 13th. True, there is no question this lineup sorely misses the slugger’s big bat in the lineup as the injury coincides with the beginning of the Mets plummet down the standings. Despite the need in their lineup, New York has said that Cespedes isn’t close to returning as the star left fielder is back on the disabled list with a lower body injury. With the wear and tear on Cespedes in left field along with a chronic heel problem there could be a solution on the horizon that will hopefully keep the Mets slugger on the field.
According to the New York Daily News Cespedes has been taking ground balls at first base during his rehab in Port St. Lucie and the organization has hinted it is looking to move the slugger to first base to eliminate the wear and tear playing in the outfield. Physically speaking this makes a lot of sense for a player that has only played in 118 games over the past two seasons and at the age of 32 already has a chronic heel problem coupled with multiple lower body injuries. Let’s not forget the Mets have already tried to do this with Jay Bruce, but in training camp the Bruce reportedly balked at the move to first.
Unlike Bruce it has been reported that Cespedes is open to the change to first and given that the Mets don’t have an immediate solution at first base the timing is perfect. Dominic Smith has been a massive disappointment since his call up as a highly touted prospect. As of July 12th he has one RBI this season. Just one.
Many fans have been clamoring for the team’s second rated prospect on MLB Pipeline Peter Alonso to be called up to Flushing, but despite a fast start Alonso has cooled off considerably. Even if he finishes strong, multiple reports are that the Mets have no interest in calling him up this year.
Let’s not forget that Cespedes is going to have to play. He’s still owed over $58 Million over the final two years of his contract after this season. Plus, it would benefit the Mets because of the log jam of outfielders. Brandon Nimmo has played like an All Star this season but even though he has the flexibility to play center, he’s better suited for a corner spot. Not to mention Michael Conforto who the Mets hope will regain his former All Star form and Jay Bruce who is still under contract for an additional two years. With all these outfielders on the roster and the need for the team to find a true center fielder in the offseason, moving Cespedes helps alleviate the corner outfield spots.
At this point Cespedes is a below average outfield defender and is a pure slugger. With first base open the Mets could move him there to try to get him to play over 130 games next season. He may be the most valuable player to their lineup in baseball because without him, the Mets offense has been putrid and statistically one of the worst in baseball. This also allows the Mets to continue to develop Alonso in the minors until he is ready to take over or grow his trade value if the Mets need a chip in a future trade.
The next month will undoubtedly be used to decide the roster makeup of the New York Mets going forward, but the final months of the season should be used to develop Yoenis Cespedes into the 2019 first baseman. A move that not only give the team flexibility in the outfield while filling a need at first base, but most importantly a move that will hopefully allow Cespedes to stay on the field.
2018 has not be the Mets year. As the New York Mets continue to fall out of contention it is clear that they will not be in contention this year and should be sellers in order to replenish their depleted farm system. However, in my most recent podcast (click here) I discussed why New York shouldn’t trade their ace Jacob deGrom and they would not get a full return if they also moved on from Noah Syndergaard at the deadline. While these names would surely get the biggest hauls at the deadline, the Mets have other pieces they can move for future prospects.
Asdrubal Cabrera: 2B
Cabrera has been one of the few Mets that has lived up to expectations this season. At 32, Cabrera is playing at an All Star level being top five in both home runs and RBIs among second baseman this season. Despite being a free agent at the end of the 2018 season, his value comes from his offense and versatility. Despite the woeful order around him, Cabrera is on pace for one of his best offensive seasons ever and unlike previous years has not had any nagging injuries hampering him this season.
The contract and injury history may decrease Cabrera’s value, but he adds versatility to a contender with his flexibility to not only play second. Cabrera has played third base and second for the Mets and could easily fit into either of those roles. He could even play shortstop, but at this age he is better off at the other two positions but gives a team the ability to plug him into three infield positions adding value as both a starter or utility man for a team with World Series aspirations.
Todd Frazier: 3B
Cabrera undoubtedly has more value than Frazier at this point but don’t be surprised if the Mets end up shopping their third baseman as well. This team would probably be looking to shop Jay Bruce at this deadline if he wasn’t hurt and producing. More likely Frazier will be a salary dump with the Mets on the hook for 2019 after the $ 17 Million dollar deal this past offseason.
Money has always been an issue with the Mets and a salary dump could open up the hot corner in the upcoming offseason. The team could look to give Wilmer Flores a full-time role at third in the second half to see if he can be penciled in for their starting third baseman in 2019. Could the Mets keep Frazier because he is under contract and they don’t have a prospect pushing the hot corner position? It certainly isn’t out of the realm of possibility but the team could look at this chance to dump salary.
Despite being on the Disabled list this season, Frazier has nearly matched his home run and RBI totals from last season at the midway point in the season. He may not have starting value like Cabrera, Frazier could be an appealing bench or role player for a playoff contender.
Zack Wheeler: Pitcher
While deGrom and Syndergaard have been the big names getting the attention at the deadline the Mets could potentially trade another starting pitcher for prospects and that is Zack Wheeler. Despite not having the pedigree of the later two, there are a few reasons why the Mets could deal Wheeler. According to New York Times writer James Wagner teams have been reportedly calling the Mets about Wheeler in trade discussion.
This could be the perfect time to deal Wheeler for multiple reasons. First, it’s a weak starters market at the deadline and the Mets could get more for Wheeler then they bargained for. Second, Wheeler is peaking at the right time with his fastball in the upper 90s and a 3.38 ERA over his last eight starts. Third, he has had a long injury history missing two full seasons with the Mets and is 28 years old. Finally, he will be a free agent after 2019 and as noted both in this article and the previous podcast the Mets probably won’t be looking to break the bank for a career 23-29 starter as of July first.
With an expiring contract approaching and a long injury history, of the Mets can get prospects for Wheeler this is the time to do it. The team could look to deal him in the offseason, but personally I would be wary of Wheeler’s injury history and if he misses any time later in the season that will only diminish his value.
Some may be wondering with not Steven Matz? If there are offers the Mets should listen but here’s why I don’t see the Mets moving on from him. First, he’s a year younger then Wheeler. Second, his contract has him under the Mets control until 2022. Third, he’s a lefty in a rotation that has struggled to find a great left handed starter since Johan Santana. Finally, despite both having injury problems Matz hasn’t had the serious arm injuries like Wheeler where Wheeler has missed two full seasons with the Mets.
Jose Bautista: OF
Like Frazier, Bautista won’t bring back a haul of prospects but the Mets need bodies in their minor league organization and would be smart to take advantage of Bautista’s recent play. After picking up the 37-year-old off the scrap heap from the Atlanta Braves, Bautista has taken advantage of playing time with the Mets hitting .266 with three home runs and 13 RBIs since joining the club.
It’s clear that his skillset has diminished but he could be a valuable fourth outfielder for a postseason contender at a low asking price. Bautista could give a team a right-handed bat off the bench against lefties or be a spot starting outfielder if necessary. Contractually it would be easy to move Bautista and the Mets would take a mid to low range prospect in return. Not to mention the Mets might consider bringing up a certain Heisman Winner to play the outfield in August. Stranger things have happened to the Mets this season.
If the Mets traded Familia the first reaction from the fanbase would probably be it’s about time! After an All Star campaign in 2016, Familia has not been the same closer and will hit the free agency market after the season at 28 years old. Sounding like a broken record again the Mets are stingy for the money and will not want to pay the high price tag for a closer that has been regressing over the past two years.
Still, with the premium on relievers especially for the postseason Familia could be a valuable piece for the Mets to move especially with the unlikelihood he will be back in Queens for 2019. Even if he won’t be the closer, Familia could become a seventh or eighth inning role player for a playoff team moving forward. Despite four blown saves this season, Familia still has 14 saves and a ERA just over three. It’s hard to find power back-end of the bullpen relievers on the market and the Mets could look to make a swap similar to what they did with the Red Sox when they dealt Addison Reed last season.
Despite their past decade of futility good times could be ahead for the Metropolitans. Every World Series in club history had a flame throwing ace on the staff. In 69 it was Seaver, in 86 it was Doc, but in the present it is Matt Harvey. Harvey burst onto the scene last season, but their were still questions to whether he was one of the best young guns in the game. Considered that question emphatically answered. This season Harvey is 4 and 0 in his first five starts with a terrific 1.54 ERA. In thirty-five innings of work the 24-year-old has struck out an impressive 39 batters. What makes him so good? A confidence and composure well beyond his years and an astounding repertoire with a fastball in the high nineties, a knee buckling high eighties slider, and both an above average curveball and change-up. While many Met fans still believe that Zach Wheeler will be the next ace in flushing, that ace might already be here. While I still think Wheeler will be astounding when he eventually reaches the show, it will be hard to have the success that Harvey has already achieved. In fact in might be an act to tough to follow and if Wheeler should stumble that could raise the question why can’t you be more like Harvey? Despite trading their ace and CY Young Award winner R.A. Dickey this offseason, Harvey could be a 20 game winner this season and possible bring back to back CY Youngs to the big apple. Being a Met fan there hasn’t been too much to cheer for this past decade. While it was hard to lose both Dickey and Santana this offseason the possibility of a Harvey Wheeler one two punch at the top of the rotation could put the Mets in contention much sooner than the flushing faithful think. One thing is for certain this Generation K the Mets are developing could bring the glory and respect back to an organization that has gone through the ringer. I know one thing, I’m counting the days until Harvey takes the mound again.
Well it’s that time of year again. Before we know it pitchers and catchers will report for spring training and baseball season will finally kick into high gear. While most of these camps will focus on the present, in Port St. Lucie the eyes will be looking toward the future. For 2013 the highlight for the New York Mets won’t be the play on the field, but the hosting of the MLB All-star game at Citi Field. It’s been a rough offseason for Mets fans as the franchise traded away the reigning N.L. Cy Young award winner and has done nothing to address an outfield situation that is almost
bleaker then a Stephen King novel. While 2013 will probably be a lost season for the Metropolitans and their fans the prospects of competing in 2014 is a reason for optimism. After trading R.A. Dicky to Toronto the Mets now have two of the top prospects in baseball. Travis D’arnaud is ranked #6 and Zack Wheeler # 8 on MLB.com’s top 100 prospects list. Not to be outdone the other key piece in the deal, Noah Syndergaard a right-handed pitcher, is ranked 29th on the top 100 list as well. D’arnnaud was the key in the Dickey trade, and as the best catching prospect in baseball he could give the Mets their best backstop since Gary Carter. Well all Mets fans know about Matt Harvey and the impact he had last season, Zack Wheeler could be an even better pitcher. The right hander was traded to the club during the Carlos Beltran trade and has been compared to Justin Verlander with a 98 MPH fastball and a devastating curveball. Not to be
outdone Syndergaard while young, can throw in the upper 90s and if he can develop his secondary pitchers could an integral part of the rotation in flushing. You can view all of the Mets top prospects and see their scouting report videos by clicking here. While the future looks bright for the Mets, especially with the possible rotation of Wheeler, Harvey, Niese, and Syndergaard in the near future, the Mets have once again swung and missed in the offseason. While signing Shaun Marcum will add a solid arm to the rotation the Mets waited until this week to try to fix their disastrous bullpen for a season ago. Feliciano to a minor league deal and Brandon Lyon will give them a possible solution at closer the Mets could have vastly improved earlier in the offseason. Overall I give the Mets a B+ with the Dickey trade and these solid last-minute signings, but they kinda missed something important. Um guys you do realize you need three players to play the outfield right?? Whoops while the Mets were busy creating their new alternate uniforms this offseason they kinda forgot that you need people to catch the ball in the outfield. Kirk Nieuwenhuis is a good outfielder they have, but they let Scott Hairston go and now have Lucas Duda and Mike Baxter penciled in as outfielders. They aren’t starting outfielders, although they are an improvement over Jason Bay. Bottom line if you want to know how the Met’s season is going to be then click on this link. Overall though I am getting excited for the Mets future and I can see these team competing in the next few seasons. The only problem is it’s going to be a llllooooonnnnngggg 2013. However, if the Mets prospects are as good as advertised than not only will the Mets make it back to the playoffs, but a World Series could be heading to Citi Field.