By: David Weiss
While the Mets have won their last two games, let’s not fool ourselves. This team needs to rebuild. The Mets are a poorly constructed team. They built around a veteran core and the time has come to dump them. While everyone is talking about trades that involve deGrom and Syndergaard, there are other moves that the Mets should consider. The Mets currently have some players that could interest other teams. Here are some trade ideas the Mets should consider and an explanation as to why they make sense.
Trade 1: Asdrubal Cabrera to the Indians for prospects Nolan Jones (3B) & Sam Hentges (LHP)
Why it makes sense for the Mets: Cabrera’s trade value is at the highest it probably will ever be. While he is one of the best bats the Mets have had this season, he is on a walk year and likely won’t stay. Nolan Jones was a second-round pick out of high school in 2016. He has progressed nicely and is hitting for power at the A level. He is probably 2-3 years away, which means that he could be Frazier’s replacement. The Mets should also aim to get pitching prospect Sam Hentges. If needed, the Mets should cover some of Cabby’s salary to make sure they get both players.
Why it makes sense for the Indians: Kipnis is having a terrible season and a reunion with Cabrera on a rental basis makes sense. The Tribe have no offensive production coming from second. Erik Gonzalez plays periodically but is mainly a backup. They have a hold on the AL central for now but it’s still too close for comfort. In addition, they need to improve the lineup if they want to go deep in October. Cabrera should also DH to stay fresh and for games when wants to give Encarnacion a game off.
Risks for the Mets: The Mets could end up in last place without Cabrera. However, TJ Rivera could be back in July. Flores can man second for the interim. Either way, they are not risking much.
Risks for the Indians: Prospects Francisco Mejia and Triston McKenzie are off limits so they need to be willing to part with others. Jose Ramirez is under team control through 2023, so the Indians don’t need another guy at third anytime soon. They likely will not keep Jones in the minors for seven years so a trade is logical. However, trading high picks has a way of haunting teams.
Trade 2: Steven Matz to the White Sox for prospects Blake Rutherford (OF) & Ian Hamilton (RHP)
(This is a strange one but hear me out.)
Why it makes sense for the Mets: Steven Matz has been pitching really well. At age 27 he has turned some heads and will not become a free agent until 2022. So why trade him? Simply put, the Mets need to rebuild and I don’t really want to touch Syndergaard or deGrom. The Mets need more offensive depth. Rutherford was the 18th overall pick in 2016 out of high school and likely won’t make the big leagues until around 2021 or 2022. He could be a replacement for Conforto. Ian Hamilton was a mid-round pick in 2016 who has shot through the system. He is projected to be a closer.
Why it makes sense for the White Sox: On the surface, this doesn’t add up. Why would the Chi Sox want to trade two prospects for a major league pitcher when they are nowhere near contention? The reason is because this is a move for the future. They currently have terrible starting pitching and a great minor league system. In other words, they will compete within the next couple of years so long as they get some pitching. In the rotation, Giolito and Fulmer have not been doing well and they could use a guy like Matz who can give them some depth. If Matz can stay healthy (I know. That is a big if) he could be a number two starter.
Risks for the Mets: After all these years, we may finally have the Matz we always wanted. Trading him for two guys who haven’t reached AA is gutsy. This is really long term planning.
Risks for the White Sox: Rutherford is a power hitting OF who is a top 100 prospect. However, the White Sox have outfielders Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert. Both are top 25 overall prospects. These are two potential stars. Currently, Chicago has three outfielders who are 26 or under and aren’t close to free agency. There simply may not be any room left for Rutherford. Hamilton is one of the top 10 pitchers in the Chicago system. However, the White Sox have four pitchers who are ranked in the top 100 on the MLB list and Hamilton isn’t one of them. If they want a veteran starter, he is good trade bait. With all that said, Rutherford is good and Hamilton is currently a lights out closer. It could take a few years before Chicago says ‘Oops’.
Trade 3: Jeurys Familia the Cubs for prospects three top 30 prospects
Why it makes sense for the Mets: Familia is on a walk year. There is no need to hold onto a closer when the team isn’t going anywhere. There are many potential closers who can be signed to replace him after this year. This includes David Robertson, Cody Allen, Craig Kimbrel, Zach Britton, Andrew Miller, Kelvin Herrera and Bud Norris. The Cubs don’t have any can’t miss prospects. While the Mets can’t be too picky if they want three guys, there are some guys who should be targeted:
- Charcer Burks is a guy who can play all three outfield positions and has shown some power. He is currently in AA.
- Alec Mills is 26 and in AAA. He’s a righty who has good breaking balls. Don’t worry, he already had Tommy John.
- Jason Vosler is a power hitting third baseman in AA. His defense isn’t great but he could make it to the big leagues soon.
Why it makes sense for the Cubs: They clearly want to win now but are in a tough division. The Brewers are good and the Cardinals aren’t going away. They seem to have a safe lead for a Wild Card spot but that could change in the Dodgers continue playing well. Aside for Lester, no one in the rotation has been pitching that well. This means that will need a super-pen if they want to go deep in October.
Risks for the Mets: None of the Cubs minor leaguers are great. This could turn into just another salary dump. Also with Familia coming off an injury, his value could be down. Regardless, the Mets should aim to get three of another teams top 30 prospects just like they did in 2017 with Addison Reed.
Risks for the Cubs: This trade is good in that the Cubs don’t lose any of their top prospects. Overall, they have a week minor league system so this is a step in the wrong direction. If they make this trade, they will have less room to maneuver. However, with their key young players under team control for the foreseeable future, they have enough time to go all in how and rebuild in the next two years.
I am not an insider so I can’t tell you if any of these options have even been discussed. They are merely suggestions. All trades listed benefit both teams which is something that we need to consider. They all make sense and are what the Mets should be looking for. We don’t want to see Thor and deGrom go. We need logical moves that can help other teams, and restock our minor league system. If the Mets can pull off these moves, the turnaround can be just a year or two away.
(David Weiss is a lifelong Mets fan. He has lived in Israel since 2008 and runs the Facebook page Jewish Mets Fans.)