The Mets are strapped with a high payroll and a lot of baggage. Sandy Alderson feels the proper course is to wait out certain expiring contracts. Therefore, the Mets will look to get creative this hot stove. This will require signing some lower priced free agents to be brought in to compete to win jobs. It will take low risk-high reward players possibly coming off down or injured seasons. It may take a trade or two to import some exciting new talent and shake things up. Here is what you can expect to hear from analysts during the upcoming hot stove.
Possible Trade Bait:
Jose Reyes SS
The catalyst for almost half a decade has been a popular topic of trade conversation. Reyes is coming off a few injury plagued down seasons, and could become a free agent after the 2011 season. It will take a boatload for a team to convince Sandy to deal the explosive shortstop. Shortstops who hit and field as well as Jose make him a commodity. When he is healthy he can spark an offense and infuriate pitchers.
What could get it done
Bonafied big league pitching. It is no secret the Mets are thin in the rotation. Tampa is dangling young arms like Matt Garza and, if packaged with a few others, it could get done. Garza and Mike Pelfrey may not give the Mets a number one but two solid number 2’s. Reyes could replace the speedy Carl Crawford and has many of the same skill sets. With Tampa lowering payroll, bringing on Reyes would give them a year with an all star. Reyes could then leave in the offseason giving the Rays high compensation picks when he is labeled a type A free agent. This deal would also require the Mets to take on the remaining Reyes salary in 2011.
Boston would also be a fit if they could part with big league arms. Jonathan Papelbon has been rumored to be on the market, but a closer isn’t enough to land a leadoff shortstop with Reyes’ credentials. Marco Scutaro’s tenure in Boston was short and most teams now see him as a second baseman. I can’t see Boston letting Jon Lester or Clay Bucholz go anywhere, but they’d certainly get it done. A player like Jacoby Ellsbury would be a good return if packaged with solid young arms.
It’s hard to imagine a team putting together the right package for Reyes. Reyes is is a homegrown star who is finally healthy. Finding defense up the middle is tough, and finding a shorstop who hits is even tougher. Reyes will return to Queens next season unless a team is willing to part with some huge talent.
Angel Pagan OF
Mental lapses gone and potential fulfilled, Angel broke out in 2010. The former fourth outfielder showed he was more than a spot starter. He played centerfield, stole bases, hit in the clutch, and looked like an all-star. Despite playing a brilliant centerfield, the return of Carlos Beltran pushed him to the corners. He will no longer be under the radar in 2011.
What could get it done
Selling high and overcrowding. Pagan’s real value is in centerfield and in the leadoff spot. The Mets have Beltran and Reyes potentially in both. Pagan’s value diminishes in right, where teams usually like to put a slugger. A team looking for a centerfielder, a leadoff man, or both could find one in Pagan. If the Mets could acquire rotation help, Pagan could be on his way to another team.
Crawford is a big free agent this offseason and he will certainly command big money. Teams who miss out could be looking for an inexpensive plan B to add speed. Pagan is great trade bait coming off a big year. Selling high could bring in nice returns for a team with big holes.
Carlos Beltran OF
The aging star has been unable to stay on the field as of late. He is quite possibly the most talented player on the club when healthy. His knees present a huge question mark and may be a risk the Mets are finished taking. Carlos is in his walk year and the stakes are high. Many wonder if his career in centerfield is finished. Which Carlos will return in 2011?
What could get it done?
The Mets eating the contract. No team will want to take this expensive of a gamble. The Mets would need to pay a large portion of his 2011 salary to expect any return. If the Mets decide Pagan is their man in Center, the Mets could look to part with Beltran. Carlos’ bat and defensive resume permit him to fit in right field for a club easily. Returns for Beltran however, may not be high enough to justify the move. Players in their walk years tend to play like men posessed. Just ask Adrian Beltre. Boston has been named a possible suitor, but they have stated they have no plans to move Daisuke Matsuzaka.
Beltan is a Scott Boras client, and there is more money out there for centerfielders. There is also a first round and compensation round pick in it if the Mets retain Beltran. Having an abundance of potential centerfielders may not be the worst thing in the world, especially because they are both injury prone.