Reese Kaplan -- Maybin No, De Aza Yes?

Another day and another focus on the man who would be centerfielder – Alejandro De Aza.  While the argument could be made that he’s an expensive insurance policy and 5th outfielder on a team with Juan Lagares as the first option off t he bench, perhaps it’s time to revisit the trade front.  On Thursday injury-plagued Cameron Maybin now of the Detroit Tigers broke his wrist and is scheduled to be out 4-6 weeks.  Since wrists are integral to swinging the bat, his recovery could be much longer.

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?


Mack Ade said...


if the Mets can afford to keep this guy than keep him

We must remember that we never go through an entire season without injuries.

Thomas Brennan said...

Off the cuff, I do not think we should trade de Aza now. One injury and we'd regret it.

Stubby said...

My guess is that, for a lot of reasons, the Tigers would be more interested in Lagares than De Aza. And, unless the asking price on either is especially cheap, they'd be more likely to resign Jackson since he's someone they know well and since he's younger (and likely cheaper) than De Aza.

I don't mind the idea of trading him (or keeping him...as Mack says, it isn't my money), but I'm not interested in giving him away. Right now, we don't have a better option and the Tigers do.

Mack's Mets © 2012