It was only one week ago, when the Mets lost out on Michael Bourn, that I wrote that Tony Campana, recently designated for assignment by the Cubs, would be a sensible trade target for a team in need of outfield help. (Hmm, now who could that be?) Well, when I am wrong, I am the first to admit it. I was wrong. It turns out that Campana was a trade target for a team already deep in quality outfielders. Campana went to the Diamondbacks for a pair of 17 year old pitchers, each with only one year of pro ball in the DSL.
This trade is perplexing. As I said previously, even after trading Justin Upton, the D-Backs were still deep in outfielders. Moreover, they already have two left hand hitting center fielders as #’s 1 and 2 on their depth chart. So what gives? Why acquire another left hand hitting center fielder? It’s hard to imagine that Arizona would deal for Campana, who led the Cubs with 30 SBs last year despite getting less than 200 plate appearances, only to send him back to the minors to start the season. So why? The most logical answer may be to make one of their other outfielders expendable in a spring training trade.
Prior to Upton going to the Braves, there was considerable talk that the Snakes were shopping Jason Kubel, and that they might prefer to trade Kubel rather than Upton. Could Kubel, a veteran who is owed $7.5 million for 2013, with a $7.5 million option for 2014, be on the block again? And if he were, should the Mets be interested? Kubel had an outstanding 2012, hitting 30 HRs while compiling a .506 SLG and an .833 OPS. But he hits left handed, just what the Mets don’t need, he isn’t the best of fielders, and he did strike out 151 times last year. The Mets professed not to be interested in Kubel when they were talking to Arizona about Upton, and I suspect they will not be interested in him if he is made available 2012 at AAA Reno.
They might also be willing to part with Gerardo Parra, currently their #2 CF. There had been some chatter that Parra could be available this off season as well. Parra, although a year younger than Campana, has two years less under team control, which could be a factor in making him available. Might the Mets have some interest in Parra? Parra also hits left handed, but he is more affordable than Mr. Kubel. And he was a Gold Glove winner in 2011. Parra was most successful as a leadoff hitter last year, a hole the Mets would want to fill. So all in all, Parra could be a very viable target for the Mets, should Arizona indicate a willingness to part with him.
And then, there is A.J. Pollock, currently listed as the D-Back’s #8 prospect. He is major league ready after spending 2012 with AAA Reno. A right handed hitter, an excellent fielder and a fine hitter with a .302 minor league career average. Pollock may be the most desirable target for the Mets, if indeed Arizona acquired Campana to trade one of their other outfielders.