By: Matt Williams

Not So Obvious Trade Targets for the Mets


Things have not gone according to plan for the New York Mets so far this offseason. The pickings are slim on the free agent market, leaving them with very few attractive options to fill the holes on their team. If they want to build a winning team they might have to turn to the trade market. Let’s take a trip across the country and look at the obvious and not so obvious trade partners for the Mets.

Let’s start with the Pittsburgh Pirates. They need pitching and the Mets have it. The Pirates have Neil Walker at second base, the position the Mets failed to fill when Ben Zobrist signed with the Cubs. He would be a fine short-term solution at the position. While being a below average fielder, he has good pop and will take more walks than Daniel Murphy did last year. However, there are a couple of other players the Mets should be asking about. They have two young studs currently playing at the corner outfield positions. Starling Marte is a fantastic left fielder who really came into his own last year offensively. He has a fine batting average that comes with 20 homer pop and some blazing speed on the base paths. Marte can also play a perfectly capable centerfield, but leaves that job to Andrew McCutchen in Pittsburgh. On the other side of the outfield flanking McCutchen is Gregory Polanco. The highly touted prospect had a rough start in the majors but has started to figure it out. While he doesn’t possess the power of Marte, he does show good plate discipline which is only expected to get better and better. Polanco, like Marte does have above average speed and would be an asset out of the leadoff spot.  Obviously both of these players will not come cheap, but the Mets have the pitching to pry these players away from the Pirates.

How about we move a little further west to Cincinnati and check in with the Red legs. The Reds appear to be in full fire sale mode. No, we will not be discussing Todd Frazier. Yes, it would be a good story, but he will cost and arm and a leg and a head maybe, and the Mets won’t do that. They should however be interested in both middle infielders. We have discussed Brandon Phillips in the past. He’s s solid defender at 2B while adding a consistent bat that comes with some pop. The fact that he rakes at Citi Field is just a bonus. He also can be had in all likelihood, at close to nothing. The Reds would love to rid themselves of the contract (2 years/$27 million). The more intriguing option if you ask me is at shortstop. Zack Cozart has been riddled with injury so far in his career, having his season end last year due to a knee injury. But the talent is undeniable. Cozart is a fantastic defensive shortstop that has shown brief glimpse of greatness at the plate. He has never been healthy enough to get into a solid major league grove. But, to all who watched him last year, there is something there, something special. I would love for the Mets to take a shot on this young kid and see what he has.

Down south in Arlington, the Texas Rangers still have a logjam in their infield. Elvis Andrus is a guy they would love to get rid of. Andrus could possibly own the league’s worst contract, but with that could come opportunity. This is a long shot, because the Rangers would still need to eat an awful lot of his money for any deal to take place. But, he is a speedy option at shortstop that would likely cost little to no prospects. However, the player to look at here is Jurickson Profar. The former super prospect could be a buy low trade target coming off season ending shoulder surgery along with the emergence of Roughned Odor. The Rangers would prefer to trade Andrus, but his contract will likely force their hand in a different direction, and the Mets should try and feel that situation out.

Out west the Mets should try to poke their head in on the Dodgers and A’s regarding their current center fielders. The Dodgers have power hitting Joc Pederson, who would be a nice fit in Queens. He had a poor ending to his season, but is still very young, and had an all-star first half. After missing out on their main pitching targets for two straight trade periods, the Dodgers may be willing to listen. Up in the bay area, the A’s have speedy Billy Burns. The name says it all, but yes, he steals bases by the boat load. He also comes with a solid .300 batting average, just the man the Mets need to start the lineup off with. Billy Beane and the A’s if nothing else, are always looking to turn over their team with new controllable talent. The Mets have that for them.

On our way back to New York we are going fly into Baltimore and check in with the Orioles. The man we are asking about is J.J. Hardy. The Orioles need money. They have a lot of holes to fill in the outfield, first base, and starting pitching. The Mets could certainly help fill a need of theirs while taking Hardy’s contract.  Hardy, while not an iron man, is an above average defensive shortstop with 20-25 homer pop.

We end our trip back at La Guardia. Ready for the 2016 season to start. Hopefully the Mets found something they liked on this business trip and fans have something to look forward to this holiday season. Comment below with your thoughts.


Update 12/9/15 3:23pm: Mets have completed trade for Neil Walker (Joel Sherman) …pending medical review….

About Matt Williams

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