As the Mets offseason unfolds, it’s clear the free-agent market is all but off-limits, and the team will move to trades. Either way, the cost figures to be high…
The Mets appear once again to be operating with a constrained budget that limits activity in the free-agent market.
Offering a counter-attack, Brodie Van Wagenen has set his sights on another way to build the 2020 Mets – the old fashioned way through trades.
With little to offer from the top levels of their farm system, the Mets will need to engage prospective partners with players from their 25-man roster.
As we know, to get something, you have to give something. So when Van Wagenen and his staff descend on San Diego for the annual Winter Meetings, it’s likely these three Mets players will draw the most attention.
What the Mets get in return is a topic for another day. But it’s likely the focus will be on securing a superb defensive center fielder, and a couple of arms to shore up the bullpen.
In no particular order then, these are the players most likely to wear a different uniform next season.
Dominic Smith, First Baseman/Outfielder
The Mets do not want to trade Dominic Smith – it’s just that they have no place for him.
Smith is caught behind Pete Alonso at first base, and his spot in the outfield (the Mets are hoping) is reserved for Yoenis Cespedes.
Smith handles a bat with lightning speed and is fast developing as a major league hitter with ever-increasing power.
Smith seems handmade for a team in the American League, where he is a natural fit in the DH spot when not playing in the field.
The Mets can’t afford to and therefore won’t sell low on Smith.
Dominic Smith has done everything the Mets have asked him to do, including learning a new position and trimming some of the baby fat from his body. This makes for another selling point Van Wagenen can use in discussion with other teams.
Edwin Diaz, Relief Pitcher
On the surface, you’re going to say – wait a minute – the Mets are going to trade away the very thing they need – bullpen help?
It is odd, but remember, “help” is the operative word in that sentence, and Edwin Diaz does not fit the definition of the word.
Diaz is a project the Mets don’t have time for. They’ve been there and done that. Nothing worked.
Edwin Diaz does, however, have the ability as witnessed by the two seasons before he came to the Mets. To get something, you need to give something, and Diaz represents something of value to another team.
Van Wagenen can view Diaz as the chip that will land the Mets a quality and established center fielder.
As a bonus, trading Diaz will relieve new pitching coach Dave Eiland the chore of hand-holding a pitcher who seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
J.D Davis, Third Base
J.D. Davis is listed on the Mets roster as a third baseman, but he played mostly in the outfield last year following a trade with the Houston Astros.
Much like Dominic Smith, the Mets don’t have a place for Davis.
Jeff McNeil is an everyday player, and with aging and expensive Robinson Cano clogging things up at second base, the Mets will be forced to put McNeil at third base.
It’s fair to say the Mets were pleasantly surprised with the offensive production Davis provided. In just over 400 at-bats, 22 home runs with 57 RBI did not figure in the Mets lineup when the season began.
If the Mets do trade Davis, it will be the second time he has been let go only because the teams he was on did not have a place for him. In other words, he doesn’t represent damaged goods an organization is trying to unload (think Jed Lowrie).
The team inheriting Davis is presented with having team control of him between now and 2025 when Davis qualifies for free-agency.
This demonstrates how much the Mets are giving up while increasing the value of Davis in discussions with other teams. Again, give something to get something…
Mets and Van Wagenen must deliver the goods
All three of these players have value. It will hurt to lose them. But everything depends on the return Van Wagenen gets for each of them.
This can’t be grandstanding by Van Wagenen with the sole purpose of getting the Mets listed on the MLB Transaction Wire.
If Edwin Diaz has fifty saves and Dominic Smith hits 35 home runs for another team next year – who cares? Provided the player(s) Van Wagenen brings home makes the Mets a better team in 2020…