Posted by Reese Kaplan at 10:00 AM
One of the prevailing and accepted truisms of the business world is buy low and sell high. You see evidence of this axiom in baseball all the time. Right now, for example, the Texas Rangers are holding back on Jurickson Profar given that he’s not proven he’s healthy enough to play the field. They don’t want to get a discounted return in trade when later he could net much more. Conversely, the Mets find themselves in a few positions of “sell high” which could net them potentially more now whereas waiting could diminish what they’d get in the future.
Take the case of Curtis Granderson, a very nice guy whose rebound this past season helped wash away the Jason Bay taste of his first season in Queens. They’re on the hook for two more years of salary at about $16 million per year which seems eminently reasonable given what he produced in 2015. The question you have to consider is whether the 2014 or the 2015 version of a 35 year old player beginning the 2016 season and 36 the following year.
Consequently would it be in the Mets’ best interest to sell high on Granderson and let another team assume that risk while simultaneously freeing up $32 million? I know what you’re thinking…with Yoenis Cespedes already gone and both Michael Cuddyer and Juan Lagares healing from various ailments, is that the right move to create more holes in an outfield anchored by a rookie with only about 60 days of experience under his belt?
Well, consider approaching a team like the Colorado Rockies and inquiring about a more expensive player such as Carlos Gonzalez or a less expensive one such as Charlie Blackmon…could moving Granderson and adding a pitcher (Niese or Wheeler) make deals like this one possible? Blackmon, for example, is a career .288 hitter with some power who bats left handed and plays centerfield. He’s coming off his final minimum wage year and is arbitration eligible going into 2016. He could be a platoon partner for Juan Lagares while the team then opens up a corner slot for one of Justin Upton, Jason Heyward or Alex Gordon.
Carlos Gonzalez would be the direct Yoenis Cespedes replacement they need offensively, though he comes with some fragility issues and is no longer a regular centerfielder. Still, if they would talk about trading the 40-HR All-Star who’s earning only about $5 million more than Granderson over the remaining two years of his deal, you’d have to listen. With the news about Jose Reyes coming down on Monday night and the possibility of a Ray Rice/Greg Hardy type of suspension, it may be that Colorado goes into full time rebuilding mode.
Another player who may fall into that “sell high” category is Jon Niese. His World Series appearances were more good than bad, and at a $9 million salary with two more options years for the lefty, someone would likely bite.
Another likely trade candidate would, unfortunately, be in the “sell low” category, PED-abuser Jenrry Mejia. Believe it or not, Mejia likely has some trade value, too. Yes, he’s a two-time loser in the PED sweepstakes, but how many chances did a Steve Howe get when he succumbed to recreational drugs? Someone with talent will almost always get a chance for a fresh start elsewhere.
Another passenger on this boat would be Kevin Plawecki. Yes, Travis d’Arnaud has issues staying healthy, but in his first semi-extended trial in the majors Plawecki didn’t do himself nor the Mets any favors with a lackluster 3/21/.219, though his defense looked quite solid. Still, his minor league numbers might still make him an attractive piece in a package deal elsewhere.
Would an American League team be interested in bringing David Wright on board to be a full time DH? Without the stress (or competence) required to play the field, would a reduced workload enable the former All Star to regain his form? That one would be a majorly difficult sell, but think what the team could do with the $87 million committed to him for the next 5 years. That change would enable them to slide Flores to 3B, Herrera to 2B and go out to try to land Starlin Castro or another long term solution at SS.