For the 2014 Mets to get better two things are clear: they need to upgrade at shortstop and they need to add some pop to the lineup. Preferably the upgrade can lead off and the pop will come from the outfield. Scanning the list of available outfielders and possible shortstops there is potential for one very interesting trade. The Mets can fill two major needs with one trade by getting the two Jose’s: Jose Reyes and Jose Bautista from the Toronto Blue Jays.
The trade would be something in the form of: the Mets get Reyes (.296 BA, 10 HR, .780 OPS) and Bautista (.259 BA, 28 HR, .856 OPS) from the Blue Jays for Jonathon Niese, Daniel Murphy, Ruben Tejada and the Blue Jays pick from a list of middle level Mets’ outfield prospects. (Ideally the Mets can do this without giving up Matt den Dekker or Juan Lagares as they could turn into the Mets’ next Carlos Gomez.)
Why would the Mets do this? They fill two of their biggest needs with one trade. Reyes (who we know is capable of excelling in NYC) can bat leadoff and play short stop. Bautista gives the Mets some badly needed pop in the outfield and the middle of their lineup. Bautista’s days of 50 home runs are gone but he can still hit 25 – 35 home runs which would lead the Mets. He makes everybody better.
Why would Toronto do this? This is the trickier question. They do save some salary that they can spend in other places. They do get younger. They could probably justify this to their fan base by pointing out Reyes and Bautista each spent considerable amount of time on the DL last year and neither of them will be younger this year. Niese is a solid pitcher who will upgrade their staff. Tejada has shown flashes of potential, perhaps outside of the glare of NYC he will live up to it. Murphy is primed to have a break out year and maybe even compete for a batting title.
Why shouldn’t the Mets do this? If the Mets don’t have to give up Montero, den Dekker or Lagares there isn’t a lot of down side to this. Yes, the Mets will be taking on salary but the Mets are a major market team they should be able to take on salary. Plus the Mets will be free of some huge contracts: Santana, Bay and Francisco. It’s time the Mets spent some money wisely. Of course there’s that risk of Murphy becoming the big number three bat Mets fans have been waiting for him to become but to get something you have to give up something.
Why shouldn’t the Blue Jays do this? They are giving up two players who have in the past had MVP caliber years for a bunch of younger players who have talent and potential but none of them have even sniffed a spot on the all star team. They would be gambling that in the right environment any one or two of these three could become an all star.
Could this trade actually happen? In the world of “pie in the sky” trades this certainly is doable. A good trade helps both teams this trade could do that. There are a lot of permutations a trade like this can take. The Mets might have to offer Montero instead of Niese. The Jays might prefer Eric Young to Murphy since Young can also play second and bat lead off. Still, the Mets and Blue Jays have done the trade dance before. Would the Mets want to bring back Reyes? It’s not unprecedented to bring back popular ex-Mets. They brought back Tom Seaver, Lee Mazzilli and Bobby Bonilla. No reason why they can’t bring Reyes back he’s still one of the best shortstops around. Is it a gamble? Of course it’s a gamble but sometimes you have to gamble to win. Just ask the Red Sox.