Do the Mets have the trade chips to swing a deal?

Teams like the Dodgers, Yankees and Braves have an enviable pipeline of desirable, high-level prospects that could be used in trades. At this time, the Mets do not have this luxury. Sure, we have some solid young arms we acquired through the draft and last summer’s trades, but they are not of particularly high value on the trade market. In fact, according to most of the recent top 100 prospect rankings (Baseball Prospectus, Baseball America, ESPN, FanGraphs, etc.), the only Mets on the list were current major leaguers Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith.

 While Rosario is regarded internally as a long-term fixture, Smith, as recently reported, has not given the Mets front office the same level of confidence. Evidence of this are Sandy Alderson’s recent comments, as well as the team’s reported interest in a number of free agent first baseman. One take away from this is that Smith could be used as a trade chip. While he was a bit disappointing in his first major league action, Smith is young, controllable and still seen as having the potential to be a solid first baseman, both offensively and defensively. For a small market team, there’s a lot of value there.
The same can be said of former first round pick Brandon Nimmo. The still developing book on Nimmo seems to be that he does a little of everything well enough to emerge as a valuable 4th outfielder or platoon partner, but doesn’t have enough power or speed to ever be considered a starting outfielder on a contending team. As they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. While he may not make the cut on a contending team with a budget, a team like the Rays, A’s or Padres always has a need for young, cheap outfielders who can get on base and play solid defense.
The Mets bench features other young talent that rival GMs may see as diamonds in the rough. Players like T.J. Rivera, Kevin Plawecki, and Gavin Cecchini fit this description. On the pitching side, the Mets have a plethora of back-end rotation candidates.  Provided they bring in a mid-rotation veteran, as has been reported, they’ll be able to part with at least one of Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo or Rafael Montero. Still arbitration eligible Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler also have value. Now in his last year of arbitration before free agency and coming off a dreadful year, Matt Harvey may not hold much value in trade just yet but this could be revisited at midseason.
The Mets have a similar situation with their middle relievers. If they bring in a free agent to join Jeurys Familia, A.J. Ramos, and Jerry Blevins at the back end of the bullpen, and one or two of the previously mentioned will serve as the long man, that leaves maybe two spots open with as many as 10 pitchers competing for them. This long list includes Paul Sewald, Chasen Bradford, Josh Smoker, Josh Edgin, Kevin McGowan, Hansel Robles, and the newbies Jacob Rhame and Jamie Callahan. Certainly the Mets could afford to include one or two from this crowded group in a trade.
So, there you have it. We do have chips. Now, don’t get too excited. Gsellman, Smith, Nimmo, et al are not going to net us Giancarlo Stanton, but they could help us land a quality second baseman like Dee Gordon or Jason Kipnis. Alderson will need to creatively use these chips to fill at least one of our big four roster holes – second/third base, outfield, mid rotation starter, and solid reliever. If he plays his cards right, maybe he can even fill two.

17 comments for “Do the Mets have the trade chips to swing a deal?

  1. November 17, 2017 at 10:14 am

    It seems to me the Mets are in a bit of a tough spot with their trade chits. Most of the guys they would make available are only interesting in potential, which is okay if you’re a top prospect but not so hot otherwise. The only exception might be Dominic Smith and he’s a bottom Top 100 guy and didn’t impress in his debut.

    Sure, we can talk upside with Plawecki, Gsellman, Lugo and even Lagares. But what’s the market value for upside on guys who didn’t set the world on fire last year and who didn’t arrive in the majors with a ton of buzz?

    Sherman reported that the Mets could get Brian Dozier for Robert Gsellman and Luis Guillorme but the Mets didn’t pull the trigger because Dozier only has one year left on his contract. I mean, I guess I understand the Mets’ hesitancy but do they really think they’re going to get more bang for their buck than they will in this trade? Dozier’s a fine, fine player.

    • Herb G
      November 18, 2017 at 4:20 pm

      Although the Brain Dozier trade is attractive, and I would have pulled the trigger on it, I think we are barking up the wrong tree in seeking a 2B in trade. We have already exercised Asdrubal Cabrera’s option and he is a much better 2B than a 3B. I would have preferred to see Reyes return and play 2B in 2018, and that still may happen. (either with or without a Cabrera trade) Nonetheless, I would be targeting Todd Frazier as my 3B next year and perhaps look to trade for an OF. Do you think a package of Gsellman, Marcos Molina, Gavin Cecchini and Desmond Lindsay is enough to garner a decent return. I would love to see Alderson go after Marcell Ozuna. If the package of existing players isn’t enough, how about trading Cespedes and using some of the assets he brings back along with some of our current chips, to acquire Ozuna? Then we could resign Bruce to complete the outfield.

      • November 18, 2017 at 8:51 pm

        Good to see you in these parts again, Herb G

        In the small sample of 2017, Cabrera’s defensive numbers were better at 3B. Makes sense, as range is his biggest problem and that’s not as big of an issue at the hot corner. But certainly he gives the team flexibility to acquire either a 2B/3B. We did a prediction contest on the top 17 free agents and I had the Mets signing Frazier. Not because I want them to but I thought he fit their budget restrictions. I guess we’ll see.

        Supposedly Gsellman was a hot property this time last year. My guess is he still has value. I don’t think either Cecchini or Lindsay has much at this point. Molina a bit more. If history is any judge, Alderson is more likely to make an impact deal at the deadline rather than the offseason so if forced to guess, that’s what I’d go with here. Probably makes sense, too, because it gives guys time to build more value. If, say, Oswalt is able to duplicate his Double-A success in Vegas, he’ll have a lot of value at the deadline.

  2. Jimmy P
    November 17, 2017 at 11:07 am

    I read that article and came away with the complete opposite conclusion: There you have it, the Mets *don’t* have trade chips.

    Teams don’t make meaningful trades for middle-level prospects. That’s not how baseball works.

  3. Name
    November 17, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    I think the real question is if our GM has the willingness and creativity to do an offseason deal. His history of offseason trades is almost nonexistent.

    2016 offseason: nada
    2015 offseason: Walker for Niese
    2014 offseason: Blevins for Mdd, Alex Torres for Mazzoni (both of the eve of Spring Training…)
    2013 offseason: nada
    2012 offseason: Dickey trade, Cowgill for Marte
    2011 offseason: Ramirez/Torres for Pagan

    That’s 6 offseason trades in 6 years, although one could exclude Blevins and Torres as they didn’t occur in the “true offseason”. That means we’ve had 1 trade in the last 4 offseasons that actually impacted the MLB roster…

    The lesson is for Mets fans to not bother monitoring the trade market as it would end up being a waste of time.

  4. Steevy
    November 17, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    Wow,that news about Dozier is depressing.About as good a deal as I could have imagined and they turned it down..

  5. Chris F
    November 17, 2017 at 4:20 pm

    The Mets are in between a rock and a hard place right now. It appears they are in “win now” mode, largely because they are not rebuilding. At the same time, they dont have any depth in the pipeline to trade with and no money to get first-rate FAs. Its a very tough place to be.

    Cecchini, Reynolds, Smith, Gsellman, Lugo, Nimmo, Lagares barely add up to a bag of batting practice balls. The only way those pieces matter is if we take on all the salary, which we cant do.

    • MattyMets
      November 17, 2017 at 7:39 pm

      Chris F – this is exactly why they need to be smart. They have these trade chips and $30 million to use to surround Syndergaard, deGrom, Cespedes, Conforto, Rosario and Familia with enough support to be competitive again. The Twins earned a wild card last year with far less than that.

  6. Metsense
    November 17, 2017 at 7:47 pm

    Harvey, Flores and Lagares are three Met players that have trade value.
    According to reports, many teams have inquire about Harvey. He has only one team of team control and $6 mm in arb salary so let another term take on the risk.
    Flores still show

    • Metsense
      November 17, 2017 at 7:54 pm

      Flores still shows some offensive upside and would fit it with an American League Team.
      Teams are looking for and elite defensive center fielder and Lagares fill the bill.

      • alan friedman
        November 18, 2017 at 9:24 am

        I still want to have Lagares and Flores on the team but until he proves being healthy I think Harvey has little to no trade value at all. Truthfully, one of his problems is his ego having been crushed as that he is no longer the ace of the team.

  7. TexasGusCC
    November 17, 2017 at 10:27 pm

    I agree with Metsense on the three names he mentioned and would like to point out that while we all view the Mets as an incomplete team, all teams are, except for the Dodgers. The Astros had Marwin Gonzalez whom no one expected to hit .308 and Jeremy Rennick, who did what you expect: .264. They had a young prospect in Bergmann at third and not enough starting pitching or bullpen help. But, everyone did their job correctly and that’s how teams win.

    Smith as a top 100 prospect shows that he has some ability, despite what Mets fans say.

    If I were Alderson, I wouldn’t have done that Dozier deal. The Dodgers were offering Jose DeLeon, a good prospect but not much more, for him last year with 2 years left on his deal! Now, with one year, give them Harvey and Guillorme. If they don’t like it, move on.

  8. MattyMets
    November 21, 2017 at 9:46 pm

    Curious if anyone else agrees with me, but I see no point in trading a minor leaguer for one year if $11mm Ian Kinsler. I can think of a many smarter solutions:
    1-trade for Gordon or Kipnis
    2-sign Moustakas or Frazier and move Canrrra to second
    3-sign Brandon Phillips for a few million
    4-make do with Flores/Rivera/Cecchini and spend that 11mm elsewhere.

    • TexasGusCC
      November 22, 2017 at 12:01 am

      Matt, allow me an opinion:

      Sometimes, games are decided by more than just numbers and performances. When a 40 year old Carlos Beltran takes a deflated player like Yuri Gurriel that the whole world was bashing over a thoughtless act and gets him to get over it, Gurriel then responds with a tying three run homer in Game 5 and almost a game winner in the ninth inning, and a homerun in Game 7 to help his team win the World Series. Without an atbat, and not a single mention was made of it, Beltran helped his team win by doing what he can to add to the results. Don’t take that for granted. There’s veterans, but they aren’t all leaders. Kinsler has been reported to be that kind of leader. More Granderson and Bruce than Cabrera and Cespedes, and I don’t even know if Reyes is a net positive to the youngsters; but maybe.

      I write this because I wrote often last year that there aren’t any players on the Mets that will go to the mound to calm a pitcher down when he is stressing out. An example is a game that Hansel Robles, if you remember the game, threw ball four to walk in the winning run in a game against the Rockies on a pitch that went two feet over the catcher’s head. This followed ball three that was about head high. He was falling apart right before our eyes by throwing four straight balls to Arenado and the bases loaded, but not a player came to the mound to tell him to relax. That’s a lack of proper leadership, and it’s something the Mets must add on the infield because the players they have now aren’t doing it. That rules out #4, and I want Flores to start!!, but I try to be realistic.

      #3: Brandon Phillips: My most vivid memory of Phillips lately is how he dogged it in Cincinnati, and how he handled his trade scenarios, so I can’t see this guy leading my kids.

      #2: The statue of Asdrubal Cabrera cannot play the middle infield and since Cabrera was resigned, he handled third base well and made some great barehanded plays. Why are Frazier and Moustakas really that much better than what this guy did last year with the money involved?

      #1: I’d love Gordon (if he doesn’t go to San Francisio) and would like Kipnis. While I don’t know if the best fit leadership-wise is Gordon and I don’t know about Kipnis, but Kinsler can fill that. Plus, you can get him for a low level arm by paying his whole salary and he had an unusually low BABIP last year, so he is a bounce back candidate. Not saying Kinsler is the best answer, but he is in the conversation. All three of these options can be weighed to see what fits the Mets best according to what the other teams want back.

      • Name
        November 22, 2017 at 12:35 am

        So i guess there’s no point in having coaches then, because the players can just handle everything themselves.

        • Jimmy P
          November 22, 2017 at 2:28 pm

          Leadership is important and comes from different areas. To discount it so snarkily just gives me the sense you don’t understand the game.

          I look at the current Mets roster and see a total vacuum where it comes to leadership. I don’t believe for one second that a 1B coach is going to address that. They aren’t in the “club.”

          This does not mean I’m getting on line to bring in poor performers with great attitudes. I don’t think that’s the answer, either. But there is a leadership void within the Mets roster — a real lack of urgency, passion — and I believe it is a part of the problem. Whereas I think Bruce and Walker provided cool professionalism, they were not great leaders, IMO.

          The biggest problem remains the same: ownership.

          • Chris F
            November 22, 2017 at 7:27 pm

            The biggest problem remains the same: ownership.

            And it is by far the biggest hindrance to forward motion and success.

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