Trading J.D. Davis and other creative moves

In the recent article about J.D. Davis’ home splits, Brian raised the idea that Davis could be traded this offseason. A lot has been made about the Mets salary positioning and how it affects their ability to spend on free agents. While it is true that the Mets will likely not exceed the $160 million mark, it’s possible that they will look for creative ways to shed salaries and bring back talent. This would likely involve moving on from assets both from the minor and major league rosters, as Brodie VanWagenen would look to continue his ‘win now’ trend.

An interpretation of moving Davis is that the Mets would be selling high after he posted a career year over a substantial part of the regular season. Davis plays the same position as other Mets who have big bats in the lineup and contributes to a log jam of corner outfielders and third basemen. As an attractive selling point, he comes with the bonus of being 26 years old and having five years of team control and arbitration. Davis had a .307/.369/.527 slash line in 2019 and was seemingly a hard worker and positive clubhouse presence. The Mets struck gold by grabbing Davis off the Astros, who was a four-time organizational All Star in their minors and a 2018 Mid-Season All Star in the PCL. A package with Davis as a piece of the deal might net a very strong center fielder who can produce on offense and defense.

It seems to be a forgone conclusion amongst the Mets faithful that Marcus Stroman will return to Queens for the 2020 season. Logic would support that theory, why would the Mets trade for him in the middle of a flailing 2019 season unless they were looking to hold onto him? Well the truth is that some baseball insiders pegged the trade as a potential ‘quick flip’ type of deal. Stroman had a very mediocre time once traded to the Mets; while his K/9 rate improved considerably to 9.1 while with the club, his FIP ballooned to 4.15. Withstanding the drop in production with the Mets, Stroman has been the model of consistency over his career and would certainly attract a lineup of clubs with playoff aspirations.

Everything and everyone have a price tag, including one of the best relievers in baseball. For the Seattle Mariners the quote was a two top tier prospects. So, what is the quote for Seth Lugo? It is certainly not advisable to trade one of the lone bright and productive spots of the roster, especially from an area of weakness such as the bullpen. But if the Mets learned anything from 2019 it should be that relievers are volatile and generally inconsistent year over year. So why not include Lugo at his peak, amongst other assets, if it could yield a ransom of star players? Among an extremely talented pool of National League pitchers, Lugo ranked 10th last year in Win Probability Added with a 3.2 mark. A deal with Lugo leaving town is unlikely to say the least, but if the right framework was put into place, it could be a good opportunity to cash in on a very successful season. Given his position, Lugo would likely have to be coupled with another (perceived) asset in order to get anything significant in return, a la the Robinson Cano/Edwin Diaz trade.

While making a deal just for the sake of shedding salary is generally bad business, the Mets are never above saving a penny. If the cost of being able to restructure funds into more productive areas is a top prospect, then perhaps moving Andres Gimenez with either Jed Lowrie or Jeurys Familia isn’t a bad idea. The advantage is more in terms of salary relief, which can then be used to reallocate elsewhere. Gimenez failed to take a leap forward in 2019, although his start to the Fall League has been impressive as he currently has a .333/.400/.533 slash line over 12 games. The shortstop ranks third on MLB Pipeline’s top prospect list for the Mets and is relatively expendable given that his position is the same as Amed Rosario and the number one top prospect, Ronny Mauricio.

The Mets front office has proven that they will take risks, even at the expense of their farm system. And they have been willing to spend money, albeit not consistent with the New York marketplace or necessarily in the right places. Losing Davis or Lugo after they outperformed their expectations and have grown right in front of us wouldn’t be fun, but it’s clear that the lineup needs a significant shakeup as there are redundancies up and down the roster. And besides, what team is going to give up valuable pieces for Dominic Smith or Brandon Nimmo who are both coming off of serious injuries? Once the Mets land on a manager to lead the team, expect a flurry of rumors to start flying around. Most of all, expect the Mets to look for creative ways to save a buck or improve the team.

Takeaways
J.D. Davis and Seth Lugo are tradeable assets for the right price
The Mets farm system can withstand another hit or two in the form of a trade
Brodie Van Wagenen has a track record of ‘win now’ and making ‘out of the box’ moves.

4 comments for “Trading J.D. Davis and other creative moves

  1. October 17, 2019 at 9:58 am

    I don’t want to trade J.D. Davis or Seth Lugo as the Mets are built to go for the World Series and should not be selling quality younger players.

    Trading Noah Syndergaard would come with the caveat of obtaining quality near MLB ready pitchers (plural) in return.

    Trading Stroman is a mistake as he lost value in his time with Mets and you’d be selling low.

    Shedding payroll by trading prospects, especially one of the few prospects near the majors and our only shortstop depth, is not a smart move. In my mind you relegate Lowrie and Familia to lesser roles.

    If you trade Gimenez you are trading him for someone you want and not just to get rid of someone you don’t want.

    Smith and Nimmo are both loaded options and the Mets are log-jammed with 1B/LF players.

    The Mets off season should be fairly simple as they need to get a starting pitcher, a defensive centerfielder with speed and not make any glaring mistakes like trading young talent for has-been players.

  2. NYM6986
    October 17, 2019 at 2:48 pm

    If the Mets can improve themselves and win a championship than any number of players, other than Jake, Alonso, McNeil and Conforto should be on the table. These are our answer to the core 4 and all are still improving.

  3. October 18, 2019 at 8:26 am

    Awful article…yeah sure, trade JD Davis, Lugo and Gimenez…?
    Come on Chris, someone spit in your oatmeal this morning ?

    • José
      October 19, 2019 at 12:30 pm

      C’mon, dude, chill the hell out. This isn’t mathematical logic we’re talking about here, this is baseball – it’s highly subjective and much of the analysis is driven by opinion. You can feel free to disagree with another’s opinion, but to say someone’s contribution is “awful” is just plain mean-spirited, and certainly unproductive.

      I, for one, would encourage Chris to continue contributing because I can honestly say the worst thing about it is that it is speculation, and well-written speculation at that.

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