Reese Kaplan -- If They Won't Buy, Will They Rent?

A lot of hand-wringing is being done regarding how to fix the Mets roster.  Anyone who’s seen their .418 play since the hot start ended is fully aware that scoring 3.4 runs per game is not going to cut it.  However, no one seems willing to include any of the stud young pitchers – Matt Harvey, Jacob de Grom, Noah Syndergaard or Steve Matz – unless the player coming back is of the Mike Trout ilk.  That’s clearly not going to happen and the team would be crucified for bringing in a solid but unspectacular hitter like Will Venable in exchange for one of these pitching crown jewels.

How then do you keep this quartet intact and still improve the offense?  I think it’s time to repeat the Carlos Beltran trade, but in reverse.  This time let the Mets offer up a shiny bauble from the lower levels of their farm system in exchange for a free-agent-to-be rental player who could help them contend against a vulnerable Washington Nationals team.  The more salary the trading partner is willing to eat, the shinier the bauble. 

A great example would be the recently tried and immediately dispatched Akeel Morris.  His minor league numbers are rather gaudy with a career 2.78 ERA, 334 Ks in 249 IP and a WHIP of just 1.107.  Yes, we’d all like to see him in a Mets uniform at some point a year or two from now but Jeurys Familia is doing even better at the major league level.  Consequently while it would hurt to lose someone with such obvious talent, it’s doable without having to break up your starting quartet. 
Other top prospects in the lower levels that might be viable trade candidates include Gabriel Ynoa, Rainy Lara, Robert Gsellman, Michael Fulmer and one of the many shortstops behind Gavin Cecchini (not to mention the one currently in Las Vegas).  A lot can happen on the way to the majors – just ask TJS victims like Jacob de Grom and Steve Matz, or people who hit a wall in their development like Matt Bowman has in AAA. 

Let’s take a look at who has a solid bat that is a pending free agent and thus might be available for a relatively high quality low level minor leaguer in return:

  • Ian Desmond (Here’s a trade that could happen as he’s having a miserable year after three consecutive 20+ HR campaigns.  Would a change-of-scenery deal work?  He’s not any better than Flores with the glove, but he is more experienced)
  • Alexei Ramirez (He’s no kid anymore at 33 and having a bad year, but he is a solid shortstop defensively, a career .274 hitter and in a normal year is good for 10-15 HRs.  The thing about a trade of this nature is that it opens up a trade of Wilmer Flores to another club in anticipation of Gavin Cecchini or Matt Reynolds next year)

2nd Basemen
  • Howie Kendrick (It’s unlikely the Dodgers would want to move him, but as a FA at the end of the year anything is possible.  This type of move might happen if David Wright is on the shelf for the remainder of the year and Daniel Murphy is moved to 3B)

3rd Basemen
  • David Freese (Former World Series MVP Freese is demonstrating decent run production and power for the Angels but at a low .236 batting average.  I’m not sure the team needs another Curtis Granderson but his power would be a significant improvement over what Ruben Tejada, Eric Campbell and Dilson Herrera have shown)
  • Edwin Encarnacion (Another of the “it ain’t happenin’” variety, Encarnacion has become an offensive force since moving from Cincinnati to Toronto and over the past   His batting average is down this year at .239 but he’s slammed 13 HRs and driven in 42.  Would that kind of hitting help the Mets’ anemic offense?)

  • Nori Aoki (An on-base machine, he solves the leadoff problem immediately).
  • Jose Bautista (Never gonna happen, but he IS a pending FA)
  • Yoenis Cespedes (The Tigers are underachieving but probably not ready to throw in the towel.  Besides, Cespedes is one of those risky Cuban players the Mets avoid like illegal cigars…only hitting .300 with 9 HRs and 36 RBIs)
  • Dexter Fowler (A big, skinny guy, he’d be a good “hold down the fort” option if Juan Lagares has to go under the knife)
  • Alex Gordon (He’s their latter-day George Brett, probably will start and finish his career as a Royal.  They’re not likely going to break up a winning lineup)
  • Jason Heyward (While he’s probably underachieved a bit in his career compared to his one monster year at age 22, the young slugger and Gold Glove outfielder would definitely be an upgrade over the Mets’ most recent FA outfielder acquisitions) 
  • Adam Lind (Milwaukee is getting solid production out of him with 10 HRs and 36 RBIs to go along with a .276 average.  There have been rumors about the Brewers breaking up the team as they are already 21 GB.  He hasn’t played a lot of outfield lately, but has hit over 20 HRs each year he’s been a regular and is a career .271 hitter.  Think left handed Kevin McReynolds)
  • Colby Rasmus (The Astros’ surprising place atop their division makes obtaining the former Blue Jay unlikely, but he’s got 20 HR power and plays CF – another good option if Lagares is disabled)
  • Denard Spann (Love to get him, but dealing with the Nationals for a productive player is not happening)
  • Justin Upton (The Padres fired their manager; who knows what’s up A.J. Preller’s sleeve?  Maybe he feels some heat for the underachieving after all of the high-dollar off-season moves and he might listen on his big man)


  • Ben Zobrist (There have seemingly been rumors connecting the Mets to Zobrist for years but nothing’s ever transpired.  This year he’s suffering through arguably his worst season since 2007, so it’s possible at age 34 his skills are simply deteriorating.  Versatility remains his greatest strength as he can play all around both the infield and outfield)

Of this group, the ones I'd push hardest to obtain would be Cespedes, Encarnacion and Upton.  


Mack Ade said...

Reese -

I'm not trying to be the King of Doom around here lately, but I have to represent how I feel.

I don't expect the Mets to be in the rental business this year.

In fact, I expect the opposite.

Reese Kaplan said...

Oh, I don't know that I am in that business either. I just suggested it is a way to improve immediately without breaking up the core of starting pitching (since apparently no one wants Gee, Niese or Colon).

Hell, I was all over blowing it up when the Madoff scandal broke and trading David Wright then to bring back a handful of top quality prospects who would now be playing everyday, but that's water under a very expensive bridge.

bob gregory said...

Unfortunately, the front office missed its opportunity.

The players have lived through and experienced how the front office has handled the past few years. They have witnessed the "help" that the major league roster was provided when it was in need.

The players have learned that the front office gives up on seasons.

The players know the limitations of the current roster. They know what they are capable of and what they aren't capable of. Professionalism will continue to move them forward to do their best every day, but they are disheartened.

The time for a positive move was during the past few weeks. I know, I know, "no other teams are looking to make trades at that time".
Whether true or not, it doesn't change the fact that the players on the team needed it at that time. They needed to see a significant change in how the front office operated. Instead, business as Met-Usual.

Luis said...

If they want to fix the team, they should change the manager. He's part of the problem.

Mack Ade said...

Luis -

I'm not defending TC, but the manager doesn't make the trades and deals needed to fill in what's missing on this team.

Yes, he is part of the problem but he must share that with SA and the Wilpons

Thomas Brennan said...

Add Dario Alvarez to the chips to trade. He has pitched very well of late, and lefties are, well, lefties. Like I wrote yesterday, fire Sandy, fire Terry, and ask the Wilpons to leave. Let's try other people who don't work on a 10 year, low budget plan.

Mack Ade said...

Dario Alvarez a chip... sigh...

Your generalization about Sandy, Terry, and the Wilpons confirm that we all may need a rest from this team

Luis said...


Sometimes same players plus a minor changes under a new management will performance 100% better.

They should break this vicious circle and for me TC is the key.

bob gregory said...


TC may not be a winning manager.
The problem(s) with the team however go sooooo much deeper.

If you are looking at the Firing of TC as the cure. As if that will turn the team around, I am afraid it is far too little. I wish it was that simple.

Instead I think it would be like trying to stop a run away train "Flintstone-style", with your feet.

Mack Ade said...

Luis -

TC is probably a good start but he didn't orchestrate or sign the big deals... Cuddyer, Grandy, Colon... that have failed and handcuffed the team (loss of 1st round pick).

greg b said...

Doesn't matter who the Mgr or GM are. As long as the Wilpons own the team it'll be the same thing yr after yr. Wont spend for high price talent. Including signing top Cuban players.

Reese Kaplan said...

Everyone gets on the Wilpons for not spending. I get on them for spending foolishly.

David Wright is the classic example. If you got one Zack Wheeler for an allegedly broken-down Carlos Beltran, you should have gotten 3 for Wright. Then they would be ready to play now plus you'd have $138 million in your pocket to spend on other needs.

They bid against themselves for Frank Francisco. Ditto Curtis Granderson. No one wanted Chris Young (outfielder) and they were rightfully ripped for signing him. They gave up a draft pick and a 2nd year for Michael Cuddyer. About the only FA acquisition that worked was the $20 million for Bartolo Colon and that was only done due to missing Matt Harvey in 2014. Even there they were forced to tack on a 2nd year.

Think what they could have landed in Cuban players or in taking on salaries in trades had they not squandered over a quarter of a billion (with a B) that way.

bob gregory said...

Most of what you mention were Alderson's decisions.
The Wilpon's did not tell him no, of course, but they were Alderson's ideas.
(Possible exception being Wright)

Reese Kaplan said...

Alderson doesn't sign the checks. The Wilpons do. Now, if you want to get on the Wilpons for trusting someone with bad baseball judgment, that's another topic for another day -- why Alderson has a job.

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