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.
Do the Mets have the trade chips to swing a deal?
by Matt Netter • • 17 Comments
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.