With hopes of any postseason chances dwindling as the season rolls down, Mets fans justifiably start to think of improvements for next season. While it’s unlikely the Mets will do anything before the non-waiver deadline this season, there is a very good chance a trade will be made to upgrade the roster in the offseason. The availability of quality free agent position players will be scarce, so a trade is the most viable route for the Mets front office if they want to maximize the potential of an upgrade. The names that have been popping up lately throughout the halls of Mets Nation have been Rockies’ stars Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez. Ideally, talents like that should be unavailable or unattainable, but the Rockies desperation for quality starting pitching and their continued presence at the bottom of the standings has started rumblings from Denver to New York. Well, after recent occurrences, the Mets should muffle any rumblings quick.
Within a span of 48 hours this past week, the Rockies announced that both Tulowitzki and Gonzalez will miss the remainder of the season due to injuries. Tulowitzki will undergo hip surgery today, and Gonzalez will shut it down completely as a result of knee tendonitis which has worsened as the season progressed. Undoubtedly a blow to Rockies on the field, but also damaging to their most prized possessions’ trade value. Of course, injuries are nothing new to these two young stars.
Tulowitzki in his nine year career has only had three seasons in which he’s reached the 130 games played plateau. For a star of his caliber, you would like to see him play in at least 150 games per year, but his durability has been an issue. This year in 91 games, he has a slash line of .340/.432/.603, all stats that lead the NL. Defensively, he’s only made four errors and consistently shows off his range and strong arm on a daily basis. He is truly one of the best in the game, but the injuries are a concern, especially this last one.
Gonzalez is not what you would call an “Ironman” either. The young, gold glove caliber outfielder has missed considerable time the past few seasons with wrist and finger injuries and now with his knee. The Rockies trainer said they will consider options regarding the injury including platelet-rich plasma therapy, stem-cell therapy and surgery. He’s already missed 70 games earlier in the season due to an inflamed index finger which involved a tumor being removed. So despite having one of the best swings in baseball, his body continues to lack the durability to keep him on the field.
So do the Mets trade for one of these stars despite their injury history? If it means giving up 4 or 5 talented players, than they should pass. Obviously, recovery from these injuries make any trade moot until the Mets can assess they are capable of actually performing. Outside of the immediate injury concerns, their history for DL stints is not something this team needs to get involved in.
A trade for Tulowitzki, would most likely need to include a combination of Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler, Jon Niese, and Dillon Gee as the first two components. The next tier of the trade would probably consist of two players from this group: Brandon Nimmo, Dominic Smith, Steven Matz, Matt den Dekker, Daniel Murphy, and Wilmer Flores. Now as much as the Mets need a quality bat in that lineup, would the risk of having that player on the disabled list a third of the season consistently be something you could take on; especially considering what needs to be coughed up. Therein lies the rub: the risk factor.
Tulowitzki would instantly become the Mets best player and elevate their win total, but also be a twinge or pull away from missing considerable time, if his injury trend continues. Usually, aging is not a supporting factor for a change in durability, but that’s what needs to be considered. Ohh… and he’s also owed $114 million dollars for the next six years. The contract may have been a deterrent if he was healthy every season.
Gonzalez, on the other hand, would demand a lesser package to obtain his services. The return would probably involve a few of the aforementioned prospects or current Mets players, but with less demand, in the other sense of the word. While his talent is unquestionable, the Rockies frustration with his frequent number of DL stints would seemingly cut ties with him with less arm twisting.
Of course, this is all conjecture. There are no reports of trade talks or deals on the table, just scouts scouting, writers writing, and fans rumbling. The Mets may be moving in the right direction, and they need a few more pieces to enable them to have sustainable success. The moves they’ve made the past few years have been calculated and thought out and the fans have begun to see the fruits of those transactions. Before they land their next talent to punch into their roster, it would serve them well if there isn’t a little red cross next to their name.
Follow Sean Flattery on Twitter @SeanFlatts