Traditional Trade Partners: Teams no longer in the playoff hunt looking to trade more expensive and older players for young/cheap alternatives or prospects. Currently there are 7 teams I’d lump into this group: Minnesota, Seattle, Philadelphia, Houston, Chicago (NL), San Diego and Colorado. I’m just going to take a moment to outline some of the potential players the Mets might look to trade for on these teams.
Minnesota Twins: Matt Capps makes the most obvious sense as the bullpen is a bit of a mystery but the Mets and twins could legitimately discuss options including OF, Josh Willingham or C, Joe Mauer. These discussions being realistic is another matter.
- Matt Capps – $4.5 Mil ($6 Mil 2013 Option): Is Capps a stronger closing option than Frank Francisco? Probably… but that doesn’t mean he’s a lights out closer who won’t cause you indigestion. Capps is a solidly built closer who can close the door on the opposition but make no mistake… he’s a rental. Also… getting him would be a dramatic slap in the face of Francisco who would be demoted to setup and then expected to come back in 2013 smiling.
- Francisco Liriano – $5.5 Mil: Liriano looked so… good this Spring. He’s looked so… bad this regular season. I don’t think the Mets would trade much for Liriano but then again… I don’t think the Twins would expect much for the impending free agent. A change of scenery might do him some good.
- Joe Mauer – $23 Mil (Signed Through 2018): This would have been unthinkable before but there is some logic to the twins not only trading Mauer but to taking on a bad contract to do it. Here’s the scenario: Met’s offer 1-2 Big prospects (Harvey, Familia, Mejia…) and Jason Bay’s contract. They get back a star catcher who costs too much money and will be with the team until he is 36+ years old. It’s not necessarily a GREAT idea for either team… but it might be something to think about with the team not having a star hitting catching prospect.
- Josh Willingham – $7 Mil (Signed Through 2014): The Twins WILL find a taker for Josh Willingham and he will be a prized target for a number of teams. Josh’s $7 Mil contract is manageable and the Mets don’t have a good solution for an everyday righty hitter (besides David Wright). I don’t think the Mets would need to give up a Big prospect but they would need to part with multiple prospects of the next tier.
Seattle Mariners: The Mariners don’t have much that teams will want but of what they do have: League, Milwood and Vargas make at least a little sense for the Mets.
- Brandon League – $5 Mil: Like Capps he’s not a good enough closer to warrant a parade down Broadway and while the Mets could entertain bringing him back, it’s just fuel to the fire of Frankie Franks not being loved by New York fans and media.
- Kevin Milwood – $1 Mil: Hey… he’s cheap… he throws innings… there are worse things in this world.
- Jason Vargas – $4.85 Mil (Arb Eligible 2013): Remember when he was 24 and the Mets gave him a 2 game audition? Yeah… that 1.839 WHIP didn’t exactly show much promise, did it? Then, two seasons later he emerged as a legit innings eater with a much more respectable 1.331 WHIP. No… I don’t like Vargas much, but he would be an option for a cheaper rotation filler. Given my choice I take the older and less expensive Kevin Milwood.
Philadelphia Phillies: Hamels? Lee? Papelbon? I don’t think so…
- Cole Hamels – $15 Mil: Would the Phillies trade Hamels to the Mets even for a rental? Would they could they for say… Jeffry Marte and a few other decent prospects? Would they could they for even a little more than that? Could the Mets offer that much for a rental player? I do not think so… Sam I am.
- Cliff Lee – $27.5 Mil (Through 2015): Here is the issue with Cliff Lee. He’s still good, but he’s 33 and he’s assumed to decline. Not to mention that Lee is likely command a reasonable haul of prospects for the prospect poor Phillies. I think these Aces are outside of the Met’s scope of affordability.
- Jonathan Papelbon – $12.5 Mil (Through 2015 or 2016): No thanks… too much $$ for a closer.
Houston Astros: Houston and the Mets have a bit more to talk about. Brett Myers is a legitimate thought to replace Frank Francisco as closer and Carlos Lee is a legitimate option to replace Jason Bay (if only the theory of what he might have been) for 2012.
- Brett Myers – $11 Mil ($10 Mil Vesting Option): It’s still a lot for a closer, but I happen to think that Myers is an okay value and that Houston and the Mets might be able to work out something that was both reasonable for the money/prospects of the equation. It’s someone I’d keep an eye on.
- Wandy Rodriguez – $10 Mil ($13 Mil 2013): I’m not a big fan of Wandy and the Met need for a lefty is diminished by Johan being healthy this year. I would avoid Wandy because $13 Mil in 2013 seems like too much to spend for a player of this caliber and I’d prefer having that money for free agents.
- Carlos Lee – $18.5 Mil: You know what? If the Mets could navigate the No Trade Clause and bring him in to play left field and take some starts at first… it’s not that bad of an idea. The person who would be most adversely affected would be Scott Hairston who would be demoted back to bench player. I think it should be explored.
Chicago Cubs: The Cubs are going to talk to the Mets. The Mets are going to talk to the Cubs. Garza WILL be discussed. I can only guess at the terms. Beyond Garza… I’d explore a Bay for Soriano swap if the Cubs are looking to save some money.
- Matt Garza – $9.5 Mil (Arb Eligible 2013): Garza is going to be one of those prized targets. Would you trade Jeurys Familia for Matt Garza? I would. Would the Cubs want more? Probably. I don’t know how much more but of the Big names in the Met farm system: Wheeler, Flores, Harvey, Mejia, Den Dekker and Familia… I’m only willing to talk Familia.
- Alfonso Soriano – $19 Mil (Signed Through 2014): Hey Cubs, we’ll take a year of Soriano’s contract off your hands. Bay for Soriano straight up? That is the ONLY way I talk to them about it.
- Huston Street – $7 Mil ($7.5 Mil Through 2014): Yes, I’d love Street. I would offer legit second tier prospects and try to get this to happen. Sorry Collin McHugh… but I’m more than willing to move you to get my hands on a reasonably priced young closer.
- Carlos Quentin – $7 Mil: Sure… this is a guy to explore. The Mets cannot dump a contract off when they get him and his health is a concern but it’s a guy the Padres CAN trade and a guy the Mets WOULD want. I would imagine Jordany Valdespin would be an intriguing name for San Diego.
Colorado Rockies: Michael Cuddyer? Probably not…
- Michael Cuddyer – $10 Mil (Signed Through 2014): The money is more than okay for a guy like Cuddyer who can play multiple positions and is a reliable source of production. The question is, who would the Rockies want in exchange for a player who doesn’t hurt them beyond 2012? The answer is likely pitching prospects who I don’t want to trade for Michael Cuddyer.
Let’s review this shall we?
- Huston Street*
- Matt Capps
- Brandon League
- Matt Garza*
- Cole Hamels
- Kevin Milwood
- Cliff Lee
- Wandy Rodriguez
- Jason Vargas
Righty OF Bats:
- Carlos Quentin*
- Alfonso Soriano
- Josh Willingham
- Michael Cuddyer
- Carlos Lee
- Joe Mauer (Yeah Right!)