The Mets are reportedly involved with several teams in talks that could evolve in both big and small deals. Candy or coal in the team’s stocking – that’s the question.
The Mets appear to be out of gas in the market for free agents. So instead, Brodie Van Wagenen has moved the team into the trades arena.
Not surprisingly, the names of a few key Mets players repeatedly keep cropping up among teams calling Van Wagenen.
Here’s a rundown of the trades drawing the most attention in recent reports, as well as a quick take asking – does the trade put candy or coal in the Mets Christmas stocking?
Jeff McNeil/Francisco Lindor
SNY-TV.com has been on top of the Mets interest in Francisco Lindor, the Cleveland Indians All-Star shortstop.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic first reported the Mets being “in the mix” to acquire Lindor, but they backed out when the Indians asking price became too high.
More recently, Tim Healey of Newsday reports that the Mets are back in it, but the Indians “repeatedly” keep asking about Jeff McNeil as part of the deal.
Analysis – Coal in the Mets stocking
Any trade involving Jeff McNeil would seem to be a non-starter for the Mets. First, he’s the best hitter on the team, and his upside is still high. And second, McNeil is under Mets control for the next five years.
Lindor is an A+ player – BUT – he’s going to cost a boatload of money, which is the reason why small-market Cleveland is trading him in the first place.
Lindor has two years of arbitration, including 2020, remaining before he reaches free agency in 2022. In each of those years, he is expected to get a sizable bump from his $10.8 million salary for 2019.
The trade-off between Lindor’s financial liability versus McNeil’s proven value to the Mets just isn’t there.
Josh Hader/Seth Lugo/Jeff McNeil
Reported by Reviewing The Brew, a Milwaukee Brewers blog, even on his worst day, Brodie Van Wagenen would never make this trade.
The Mets have all the reason in the world to pursue Josh Hader, but not for the price of Lugo and McNeil.
Of note and interest, Van Wagenen was Hader’s agent before he assumed the role of the Met’s GM.
Other than Dominic Smith and J.D. Smith, the Mets would justifiably not be willing to offer anyone else in return for Hader.
Flamethrowing relievers like Hader typically do not have a long shelf life, particularly when they are used to the extent Hader has by the Brewers.
Analysis: More coal – Mets, take your ball and go home
Dominic Smith, as I argued yesterday, should be a keeper. Although packaged with Smith, the Mets have the attention of any team they talk with – just not with the Brewers about Hader.
Jed Lowrie for anybody
Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that the Oakland A’s are considering a reunion with Jed Lowrie.
What a wonderful world it would be if that proves to be true.
Lowrie joined the Mets last season on a two-year $20 million deal that expires at the end of 2020.
But Lowrie soared to the top of the, “Oh God, what did you do Brodie?” list when an injury limited Lowrie to only nine games in 2019.
The A’s have a definite need for a lefty batting second-baseman, and Lowrie checks both boxes. But so does Whit Merrifield (Royals) and Adam Frazier (Pirates), something that most likely has not escaped the attention of Billy Beane, still the reigning Lord among trade makers in baseball.
So, it’s up to Van Wagenen to do the best he can to play hard-nosed with Beane, even if it means eating a portion of the $10 million owed to Lowrie for this year.
Analysis: Candy in the Mets stocking
At 35, it’s questionable why Van Wagenen signed Jed Lowrie in the first place, especially following the just-completed trade for Robinson Cano, who also happens to be a lefty batting second baseman.
Lowrie is an excellent player when healthy. But this would be a pure finances deal that frees up money to be used in other areas – if not now, then at the July trade deadline when an expensive and much-desired player becomes available.
Nolan Arenado- A New Name Surfacing
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Rockies potentially trading Arenado “no longer seems like a preposterous idea.”
That is nothing but good news for the Mets.
Mets fans, have you been dreaming about the second coming of David Wright, and how much you miss him at third base and batting in the middle of the Mets lineup?
Look no further than Nolan Arenado, who, if you take a minute, has even better numbers than Wright if you can believe it.
Arenado does not come cheap as Spotrac verifies, but he’s blue-chip all the way.
Nolan Arenado signed a 8 year / $260,000,000 contract with the Colorado Rockies, including $260,000,000 guaranteed, and an annual average salary of $32,500,000. In 2020.
But this is one of those opportunities the Mets would seem to want to pull out all the stops on – the equivalent of the Yankees landing Gerrit Cole.
Analysis: Big-time candy but too early to tell
The biggest question yet to be answered is, did the Rockies take on more than they can afford with Arenado’s sizeable contract? Or, are they looking for a boatload of players – both prospects and from the 26-man rosters of teams interested?
If it’s the former, Steve Cohen may hold the wherewithal for the Mets to be involved, and he would need to be brought in on the discussions ASAP.
If it’s the latter, that’ll take some thinking by the Mets as to whom they are willing to part with to whet the appetite of the Rockies.
Stand by; this is the blockbuster with drama that truly makes for the Hot Stove League…