Posted by Reese Kaplan at 10:00 AM
Is there a fit between the Mets and the Tigers? I think most folks are pretty happy with how the last trade went down with Michael Fulmer heading to Detroit in exchange for the horseback riding racecar driver wannabe now slated to play centerfield for the Mets. Assuming it was a salary dump and there are no hard feelings, what type of match-up could there be if they were to entertain the possibility of De Aza heading to Motor City?
In order to look at what could come back in the Mets’ direction, let’s take a look at the minor league rosters of the Detroit Tigers. Fulmer is now regarded as nearly major-league ready with a mid-season call-up a distinct possibility. Consequently, he’s off the table as he’s too close to helping the big club. Instead you have to dive deeper within the system to find players who are more of a crap shoot given their distance from the majors.
Right handed starting pitcher Beau Burrows would be a fantastic return but unlikely to happen. He’s just 18 years old and only has had a cup of coffee in professional ball, but the 6’2” 200 pounder made sure it was a grande macchiato with a double shot. Over 10 games (28 IP) he delivered a 1.61 ERA with over 10 Ks per IP and a 1.04 WHIP. He’d be kind of the pitching equivalent of a Wuilmer Becerra – very raw at this point but with enormous upside. Frankly, I think the Tigers would not even consider dealing him for De Aza.
Next up would be left handed starter Kevin Ziomek. This 6’3” 200 pounder has had parts of three seasons in professional ball and posted good numbers. Overall, it’s a 2.96 ERA, over 9 Ks per IP and a WHIP of 1.15. However, at age 23 and still in Hi-A he may be overmatching his opposition. It’s possible to land someone like Ziomek for De Aza but the Mets would be gambling he could hold his own against higher level competition. He’d have to move rather quickly through the ranks lest he become another Darin Gorski.
The top offensive player to target would be 6’2” 175 pound lefty swinging outfielder Mike Gerber. He’s got some power and some speed (much like De Aza does) but not outstanding in either aspect of his game. Last year in 513 ABs in Low-A he delivered a .292 AVG, 13 HRs, 76 RBIs and 13 SBs. At age 22 already he’d have to move quickly through the ranks to make an impact but there’s something there. He struck out just 97 times and registered an OPS of .823.
At first glance it would appear that somewhat further down the ranks would be Christin Stewart, another lefty hitting outfielder and teammate of Gerber at Wester Michigan. His output was a bit more pedestrian – .286/7/31 with just 3 SBs, until you realize he did that in just 185 Abs. In fact, his total minor league production over three levels constituted 256 ABs – or roughly half of what Gerber had. His total of .285 with 10 HRs and 44 RBIs suggests he might actually have a higher upside though without the same speed. At 6’0” and 205, he’s built more like a slugger than the speedy and skinny Gerber.
At the major league level there’s not a lot to pique the Mets’ interest. Speedster Anthony Gose would be interesting, but if he was really any good then they would have no interest in De Aza as they could go to battle with he, J.D. Martinez and Justin Upton in the outfield. Personally, I’d rather roll the dice on one of the minor leaguers.
Of course, trading De Aza would open up a reserve role on the Mets and that subject was pretty much beaten to death last week. With Brandon Nimmo hurt , Darrell Ceciliani and Kirk Nieuwenhuis gone, and Eric Campbell being, well, Eric Campbell, there’s not much in-house help available. Slugger Travis Taijeron could be a possibility but he’s right handed and the bench right now desperately needs a lefty. The problem is that the available lefties for a bench role for the Mets such as Grady Sizemore or Nate McLough may be simpler for Detroit than a trade. Even former Tiger Austin Jackson is still out there for the taking as a free agent.
Is trading De Aza a good or bad idea?