Tuesday, July 21, 2015

New York Mets Trade Deadline Primer

Photo courtesy of the NY Post
It's officially trade season, ladies and gentlemen. The All-Star break has come and gone, which means that soon it's time for teams to truthfully evaluate where they are this season. Sandy Alderson was right in saying that the trade market is only beginning to materialize at this point in the season, because no matter how badly a front office pursues a player in June, it's unlikely that anything will become of it immediately. Backing off until the deadline looms larger is a helpful strategy to more effectively assess a team's needs. Not every team is able to figure out whether buyers or sellers until just about this point in the year, where the team has already played roughly 90 games, and it becomes clearer who should be in contention at the end of the year. It also helps to ensure that both sides receive roughly equal value for the assets they are trading away. The longer teams wait, the more "fair" a trade will be.

In case you haven't heard this said at least five times a day over the past month and a half, the Mets need a bat. The return of David Wright isn't necessarily a guarantee, which means that unless Dilson Herrera looking markedly better in his latest stint in Vegas, Ruben Tejada will be playing shortstop for a team with playoff aspirations. Lucas Duda has been a catastrophe for a while, throwing up a highly upsetting slash line of .166/.279/.287 in his last 43 games. Juan Lagares has never been a very good hitter, but this year he's even worse than expected. Kevin Plawecki has been great recently, but Travis d'Arnaud looked primed for an All-Star season if he weren't stopped by two separate injuries.

And now for everyone's favorite whipping boy, Michael Cuddyer. I liked the deal at the time, because it was clear that the Mets needed a corner outfielder, and he was one of the only options out there. Sure, the contract was a little pricey, but I thought he'd be worth at least most of it. I preferred him to Melky Cabrera because the Melk Man's performance has been hard to predict, and the Mets couldn't afford a down year from him. There was also talk about Nelson Cruz, despite the fact that his second half was significantly worse than his first half. Without allowing hindsight to affect my view, all things considered, Cuddyer was the guy.

Unfortunately, he's been an abject failure to this point. He's having the worst season of his career, which is to be expected at age 36, but the extent of his decline is the surprising part. He's certainly earned his new names, Michael Cruddyer, as well as my favorite, Michael Cadaver.

I do think that the pitching is good enough that technically, the Mets can sustain this level of hitting and make the postseason, so they don't need a hitter. Not trading for a bat will not kill the season. But it makes all the sense in the world, and it could be the thing that pushes them over the top. Whether or not that last sentence is equal to need, well that's a semantic debate. 

First off, we need to look at the trade assets before diving into the trade market. Dillon Gee has absolutely no trade value at this point. Sandy blew it with him. His value was highest in the middle of last season, when he was outperforming his talent, and Alderson kept holding out to find the perfect trade for Gee. A combination of overvaluing Gee and hoping some other team overvalues Gee, has led to a pitcher who has little value to his own team and none to anyone else.

Bartolo Colon could entice some other teams, especially if the Mets eat some of his salary, but it's very likely that any team gets offered Colon will hold out for a better pitcher from another team, or his own teammate, Jon Niese. Niese has been pitching great after a slow start to the season, and the fact that he's a 28 year old lefty, with three years on a manageable contract after this season (with two of them being team options), makes him an ideal trade candidate. I know that the injury to Steven Matz complicates things, but the Mets can cover for the fifth spot in their rotation for the time being. Rafael Montero has supposedly resurfaced, and Logan Verrett is back to starting in Las Vegas. Between the time Niese is traded, which will presumably be near the end of the month, and when Matz is cleared to return, the Mets won't be any worse for giving Verrett a couple of spot starts. Worst case scenario, the other number 35, the aforementioned Dillon Gee comes back and makes two terrible starts while we wait for the Long Island kid to return to the mound.

Now that he's rehabbing from a shoulder injury suffered in April, Rafael Montero will attract some other teams. The Mets may consider him expendable because they can field a five man rotation over the next few years without him, but the other 29 teams in the league still see him as one of New York's top prospects, and someone who could be a part of their rotation for years to come.

Michael Fulmer and Gabriel Ynoa are Double-A pitchers who would be more highly regarded if they were on a team that didn't already have so many young, MLB-ready pitching. With the sheer numbers at the major league level, it's hard to imagine Fulmer or Ynoa cracking the rotation next year, so it makes sense to see what possible return he could garner.

Niese, Montero, and Fulmer/Ynoa are, in that order, the most likely to be traded. One of them, or some combination of them could net a pretty good position player to help the team chase the playoffs. However, there are some other options who could be dealt in the right deal for a possible star player.

The front office will be, and rightfully so, reluctant to trade any of the young star pitchers. We know this already, but I think everybody has a price. There are a few scenarios where I would consider trading away one of them, but it would really take a lot. But which of the young studs could be moved?

Jacob deGrom and Matt Harvey are established as untouchable, and while he's the most replaceable of Generation K-Prime (that's a math joke for all of you who have tried to forget the trauma of calculus), I don't know how likely it is that another team would want to take on Zack Wheeler as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. While the success rate of the procedure is high, there is always risk involved with any injury.

That leaves Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz. Matz has a very simple advantage, which will make him more likely to stay in Flushing for the long haul: he's left-handed. Being able to trot out a rotation that includes at least one lefty in Matz is important, so if any of the five were to be dealt, it would have to be Thor.

I wouldn't rule out one of the two catchers being traded. If the Mets are confident that Travis d'Arnaud can actually stay on the field, citing the fact that a lot of his injuries are simply freak accidents, then Kevin Plawecki could be dangled out there. If the opposite is true, and Mets management is tired of TdA's constant trips to the Disabled List, while believing that since Plawecki has gotten over his illness, he's done enough to show that he can hit on the Major League level, d'Arnaud could be on the block.

With Conforto being more of a sure thing at this stage, Brandon Nimmo should be made available as well.

As much as I'd love for the Mets to trade Daniel Murphy, they just can't with the current state of the offense. It's very unfortunate, because I don't see him returning after this year unless David Wright's career could legitimately be over, but they can't trade him away.

To recap, the most available assets would have to be Colon, Niese, Montero, Fulmer, and Ynoa, while Wheeler, Syndergaard, either Plawecki or d'Arnaud (I would prefer to deal Plawecki), Nimmo, and Gavin Cecchini could potentially move in the perfect deal.

You probably knew all of that already, so let's get to the juicier part of this article, the realistic trades.

First, let's start with the players who the Mets are not getting. While these names may appear in rumors, it's highly unlikely that any of these guys will be donning blue and orange anytime soon. In some cases, it's due to a lack of mutual interest, and in other cases, it's due to a lack of resources. Whichever way you slice it, don't expect these guys in New York. These are ordered from most impossible to least:

Aramis Ramirez, sort of
He's been in the league nearly as long as I've been alive, and he's just not good enough anymore. He may he a slight upgrade over Ruben Tejada, but the difference is not large enough to waste any time or money attempting to pursue him. However, it's very possible that he could to come as a throw in from Milwaukee in a trade package, which is fine if the Brewers eat some of his remaining salary, but I doubt that happens anyway. He definitely shouldn't be the centerpiece of any trade involving the Brewers.

A Toronto Slugger
It's possible that the Blue Jays will be willing to trade away either Jose Bautista or Edwin Encarnacion, but don't take that as a sign that they'll be coming to the Mets. The Jays have a scary offense, but they could use pitching help. Of course, it didn't help that two and a half years ago, they traded away a right handed pitcher with curly blonde hair for a man currently sporting a 4.87 ERA for them. But I digress.

Both Bautista and Encarnacion can be free agents after 2016, and neither makes sense for the Mets. Bautista, while he's still a great hitter, is just old. At 34 years old, and only a year and a half left on his contract, he's not worth the short term gamble. As for Encarnacion, he'll be coming to New York to either platoon with Lucas Duda at first base, or Terry Collins will have to shove one of them to left field on a regular basis, which will be a calamity that no fan should ever have to suffer. And you think Cuddyer has no range out there...

I also could have avoided that last paragraph by saying that neither Bautista nor Encarnacion will be traded anywhere. There are ways for Toronto to improve their rotation without dealing one of their two mashers, which I will get to later.

Now that's what I call a tease. 

Troy Tulowitzki

End the charade, this trade is never going to happen. Between concerns about Tulo's durability, the fact that he's 30 years old (remember, he was the next big thing back when the Rockies made the World Series...eight years ago), and the fact that he's spent his entire career at Coors Field, the Mets simply can't afford to give up Noah Syndergaard for Tulowitzki. Unfortunately, if the Mets were to offer anything less, Rockies GM Jeff Bridich hangs up the phone.

Andre Ethier
First of all, I don't think the Dodgers will be trading Ethier, but even if they were, the Mets won't be able to get him for financial reasons. Assuming that his main role on the Mets (aside from occasionally starting against right handed pitching in center) will be playing left field over Michael Cuddyer, it'll mean that the Wilpons will be paying $30.5 million to left fielders next year between the two. It's possible that the Dodgers will think about covering some of his remaining contract, but it would be better for them to swallow Ethier's $18 million than pay him $9 million or so and lose his production entirely.

Brock Holt
Plain and simple, he's much more valuable to the Red Sox than he would be in a trade. Despite Boston's desperate need for reliable Major League pitching, their only All-Star is probably the least likely candidate to be traded this season. He's able to be plugged in at pretty much any position, spending a lot of time this year at second base while Dustin Pedroia was injured, but will find himself starting over Shane Victorino in the outfield or Mike Napoli at first now that Pedroia is back. On top of his well-known versatility, he's also hitting very well. He's not worth Syndergaard, but at this point in time, a trade involving Montero or Fulmer/Ynoa won't be too enticing for the Red Sox either.

Yasiel Puig
By all accounts, Puig is a very hard man to deal with. Fortunately for him, his bank account, and his future in baseball, he's an incredibly talented player. There are a lot of reasons to dislike him personally, but the Dodgers sure appreciate the production he provides them when he's on. Would I trade Syndergaard straight up for Puig? In a heartbeat. I'm sure the Dodgers would heavily consider that, but they wouldn't want to make that deal right now.

Insert Chicago Cub Infielder Here
There is no dream win-win deal to be had here. The sides just don't match up right now as well as they did this time a year ago. It's possible that the clubs can strike a deal in the offseason, but there isn't a mutually beneficial trade that will help both teams in their Wild Card chase.

Starlin Castro is currently in the midst of his second disastrous year out of the last three, and even when he's going well, he's quite overrated. A lot of his value has always been rooted in the fact that the shortstop position is generally weak, and he's one of the few players who is able to provide above average offensive production at the position. While this is somewhat true (again, even with his good 2014 season taken into account, he's overall been below average for two and a half years) I take that to mean that it's not worth selling off too many assets to get an above average but not great hitter simply because he's a relative star at his position, and would rather live with below average production at short because most of the league is in the same boat. It also hurts Castro that he's a bad defender at the most important defensive position outside of the battery. Epstein will value Castro more than he should, and he's simply not worth the asking price.

Addison Russell isn't good enough at this moment for the Mets to worry about trading for him. Sure, he'll be very good in a year or two, and a trade involving him and Wheeler could very much be on the table, but he's not what the Mets need in July 2015.

Javier Baez had a disappointing trail run with the big club last year, where the aggressiveness which suited him so well in the minors quickly became a problem against higher quality pitching. Currently, he's sidelined with an injury, but was tearing up AAA again, and was able to reduce his strikeout rate in the 37 games he's played so far. He's not necessarily a sure thing, which is why he's not coming to the Mets this month. The team is looking for polished offensive players who can provide a boost to the lineup as the postseason draws clear. Baez and polished don't belong in the same sentence yet.

Speaking of unpolished, Arismendy Alcantara would be a bad trade target at this stage. Much like Baez, a deal involving him may make sense in a year or two, but right now, Alcantara is not an offensive upgrade anywhere except maybe shortstop. Maybe. 

If I burst your bubble with any of those, I'm sorry. But now here's the most juicy part of this article, all the people the Mets could actually trade for, along with a potential deal for each. I get to play Baseball Maverick for a few minutes here, and boy does it feel good. I am Sandy, hear me roar. I went through the rosters of almost every team in the league (I didn't bother looking at the Phillies for two reasons that are interconnected. First, the mere sight of their roster is bad for one's vision, which also means they have no players who could be useful for the Mets.), and picked out all of the players whose acquisition could help the Mets. I will order them from the least to most desirable option. You may look at some of these names and groan, but all of these guys are upgrades over what we're dealing with currently, whether it be in the lineup or off the bench. One of these guys will likely be a Met by August 1:

Jean Segura
Age: 25
Role: Shortstop

What is Jean Segura exactly?

He's Ruben Tejada with offensive upside.

He has a great first half two years ago which earned him an All-Star spot, but has been a train wreck at the plate since then. However, he's a very good defender, and he's still young. There's reason to believe in him, because not just anyone can post an .849 OPS in half a season at age 23. The case against him, though: literally his entire career otherwise.

I happen to be a believer, and we'll see how he looks when he reaches his offensive peak years, but in the short term, he's not much of an upgrade. But, he's a useful asset, just in case he gets his offensive form back.

I'll get to the tangible trade later, because it'll involve one of his teammates. 

A Toronto Left Fielder
Age: 30, 31
Role: Left Field

Okay, so I sort of lied when I said that the Mets won't be getting a slugger from Toronto. They very much could get one of their less heralded bats, Danny Valencia or Chris Colabello. I know exactly what you're doing right now. You're smirking, shaking your head, and thinking, "he can't be serious. This is what's going to get us over the hump?" 

My response: yep. 

The pitching is great enough, that the smallest boost to the offense could mean the difference between making the Wild Card game, or sitting at home and watching the playoffs.

I'm combining Colabello and Valencia because they are essentially the same player. 

Valencia is 30 years old, and under team control through 2018. He's a third baseman by trade, but with Josh Donaldson manning the position in Toronto, he's been playing a lot of left field. He's mostly known for owning left-handed pitching, but this year he's hitting .299/.331/.526 overall, and his numbers are relatively similar no matter what type of pitcher he's facing. 

(Random nugget while I was looking through Valencia's page on FanGraphs, supposedly he hasn't hit a single pop out in 146 plate appearances this season. Inconsequential, but interesting nontheless. I'm sure by the time you're reading this, he will have popped out to third base five minutes earlier.)

Chris Colabello is a former independent baseball player who's in the middle of his first full season in the big leagues. At 31 years old, he won't even be hitting arbitration until 2017, so if the Mets acquired him, they'd expect him to at least be a bench piece for the next few years. His 140 wRC+ will certainly drop, even if he has a higher line drive percentage than Mike Trout (25.8% to Trout's 24.8%), but he's been great this year, and if his production the rest of the year is anywhere close to what he's already shown, he could be the best hitter on the Mets down the stretch. 

The reason why they're so low on my list is because the fluke potential is off the charts with these guys. Neither is an everyday player on their current team, and there's a very good chance that they each had great first halves, and are poised to fall off as the season wears on. 

However, if all else fails, it won't be the end of the world if the Mets have to settle for one of these guys. 

So how would an actual deal between these two look? The Blue Jays need a pitcher, there's no secret about that, so Jon Niese will be shipped North of the border. The Mets won't be getting great value for Niese if they only get Colabello or Valencia, so the Jays should throw in a mid to low level prospect or two who the Mets can potentially develop. The Alderson regime has certainly had an eye for prospects who weren't very highly regarded, picking up Dilson Herrera and Vic Black in what should have been a throwaway deal with Pittsburgh, and even snagging Wuilmer Becerra from these very Jays in the Dickey trade. After looking through Toronto's prospect list, there are a few guys who caught my attention. Be warned, however, that I don't know which of these guys the Blue Jays value highly, so while I may be off on which players they'd be willing to trade, it'll be guys generally in that range. Here's something that feels fair for both sides:

Mets Get: Chris Colabello/Danny Valencia, Andy Burns, Rowdy Tellez

Blue Jays Get: Jon Niese, Player to be Named Later

Ben Paulsen
Age: 27
Role: Left Field

His stats look good on the surface, but, I'm only stating the obvious when I say these five letters:


He's essentially an average hitter away from home, but he's on this list because that would be an upgrade somewhere on the team. If acquiring Paulsen were the only move made at the deadline, I would be very upset. However, he'll be a nice piece to have. He's mainly a first baseman, but has a decent amount of experience in the corner outfield positions, which makes him a less versatile, but offensively superior version to Eric Campbell, and less Soup in our lives is best for everyone involved.

The biggest downside with Paulsen is that you're greeted with this when you visits his Baseball-Reference page:

Photo courtesy of ESPN

As for the deal, Paulsen doesn't really have all that much value, and the Rockies aren't looking to contend right now, so I'm going to go with some damaged goods, as well as a decent pitcher, because everyone knows the Rockies are always looking for less terrible pitching options.

Mets Get: Ben Paulsen

Rockies Get: Dillon Gee, Cesar Puello, Seth Lugo

A Cleveland Indian Designated Hitter
Age: 33, 34
Role: Corner Outfield

Here are two more players who are virtually interchangeable, Cleveland's David Murphy and Ryan Raburn. Murphy's a lefty, and Raburn is a righty, but otherwise they're similar. Both are bad defensive players who ideally would be limited to DHing, but can be forced into a corner outfield if need be.

Need exists in Flushing.

Much like the guys in Toronto, it would be silly to expect either of them to continue their current performance through the end of the season. Murphy is hitting .307/.357/.458 while Raburn is hitting .287/.371/.508. Impossible for these guys to continue that level of play. However, both of these guys have pretty long track records of being very useful. Murphy has more experience as an everyday player, going back to his days with the Texas Rangers, but Raburn was a regular in Detroit for a while as well.

The issue here is their age, and in turn, the sustainability of their stats. Raburn was abysmal in 2014, while you have to go back to 2012 to find a year in which Murphy was above average for a full season. One of these guys will certainly be an upgrade on the bench, but what version of them appears if pushed into an everyday role is a question.

Also, they've each pitched this season, so they could be a boost to the bullpen if needed. I'm looking at you Alex Torres. 

The Indians actually need offensive help, if they want to contend this season. However, it's possible that they fall further back in the race over the next couple of weeks, making both Murphy and Raburn potentially available. Each has a team option for next season, which does increase their value a bit, but neither will demand a great return. 

Mets Get: David Murphy/Ryan Raburn

Indians Get: Matt Bowman, Seth Lugo

Alex Guerrero
Age: 28
Role: Left Fielder

After tearing up the Cuban National Series prior to being signed by the Dodgers, as well as Triple-A last year, Guerrero has been good this year in LA. He has a super aggressive approach at the plate, and his .267 OBP is certainly a major issue, but the Mets just have to take what they can get at this point. The good part is, he has a lot of pop in his bat when he gets a pitch to drive. That sort of approach is probably better suited for a bench role, but again, with the current state of the Mets, I'm okay with putting him in the starting lineup. He swings at pitches outside of the zone 8% more than average, and makes contact on outside pitches 10% less than the average hitter. He showed a lot more patience when he was in Cuba, so maybe that's something which can be fixed.

So what's so enticing about him?

That .490 slugging percentage.

By the way, the Dodgers need a starter. If they strike out on Cole Hamels or Johnny Cueto, Jon Niese is a decent option.

Mets Get: Alex Guerrero, Scott Schleber

Dodgers Get: Jon Niese, Matt Bowman

Will Venable

Age: 32
Role: Right Field

Venable has recovered nicely from his fiasco of a 2014, to a slightly lesser version of what he's always been. Venable is an okay defender in center, and has always hit fairly well. He won't blow anybody away, but he's a very solid player. He will be able to provide some power and speed to any lineup. For the Mets, he'd essentially be Curtis Granderson with a lower OBP. I'll take it.

He won't cost much by way of assets nor cash. He's a free agent at the end of the year, but it won't be difficult to retain him especially given his age. The Padres will be pawning off pieces at the deadline to fix all the mistakes they made during the offseason, so they're just looking to get some sort of value out of Venable.

Mets Get: Will Venable 

Padres Get: Casey Meisner

Ender Inciarte
Age: 24
Role: Right Field, Center Field Platoon

The Diamondbacks need to deal one of their outfielders. Whether it's Inciarte or a teammate of his who I'll mention later, a trade will help their rotation which is in desperate need of some solid pieces. Playing Yasmany Tomas in right full time opens up a regular spot in the lineup for Jake Lamb, which he deserves.

Inciarte is in short, a lefty Juan Lagares who isn't quite the defensive superstar, but light years more polished offensively than Lagares at this point. If I see Lagares at the top of the lineup once again simply because he's fast, I'm going to cry. He's not a good hitter, and right now, he's even worse than expected. He's so bad at the plate that no matter how good he is defensively, he's a net loss. He certainly has the potential of being a league average hitter, which is what he was in 2014, but he has a lot to work on.

Inciarte, however, is already an average offensive player. Much like Lagares, he doesn't walk very much, but his .287 batting average recovers a lot of the value lost by his aggressive approach. He's shown a lot more patience and power in the minors than he has in just over a full season in the big leagues, so there's certainly reason to believe that he'll develop into an even better hitter.

He's currently an immediate upgrade at a corner outfield spot and at the top of the order, and assuming there are other moves made either at the deadline or in the offseason, the Mets could greatly benefit from platooning Lagares and Inciarte, or even dangling Lagares on the trade market to see how highly other teams value him. Lagares has a higher offensive ceiling, but the Mets don't need to wait around to see him maybe get there if they have Inciarte.

He won't solve the current offensive woes by himself, but if they were able to get another player along with Inciarte, I'd love it. They'd be building for now, but with an eye towards the future as well.

He's under team control through the 2020 season, which should drive up his value, but I think he's worth it.

Mets Get: Ender Inciarte, Domingo Leyba

Diamondbacks Get: Rafael Montero, Gabriel Ynoa/Michael Fulmer

Scott Van Slyke
Age: 28
Role: Right Fielder, First Base Platoon, Pinch Hitter

If the Dodgers planned to trade one of their bench pieces and a prospect for a pitcher, it'll probably be between Guerrero and Van Slyke. Van Slyke is clearly the more desirable of the two.

He's been a part time player for the Dodgers his whole career, being stuck on a team which seems to always have more outfielders than they need. but he's been great in his role as a backup and pinch hitter. He's in the midst of his worst season, and he's still having a much better year than most Mets. I've always wanted to see how he'd do starting for some team in the league, because I think he's earned that right. If the Mets aren't comfortable with that experiment yet, and I don't see why they wouldn't be, he's a more than capable bat off the bench. In his career, he's 15-for-46 as a pinch hitter with three home runs, so at the very least, he can be expected to fill John Mayberry's role, except he'll actually produce.

Mets Get: Scott Van Slyke, Austin Barnes, Jacob Rhame

Dodgers Get: Jon Niese, Rafael Montero

Yoenis Cespedes
Age: 29
Role: Right Field

Reports surfaced last night that the Tigers would be willing to listen to offers for David Price and Cespedes, which surprised me because the owner turned 86 years old yesterday, so I didn't think they'd want to rebuild.

I think Cespedes is overrated. He burst onto the scene in 2012, but has yet to reach those heights since. His walks are down, which greatly affects his OBP. His raw power is amazing, and his throwing arm is very impressive, but he's not advanced enough as a hitter to justify giving up the farm and giving him a huge contract.

However, I've said it before and I'll say it again, he's better than what the Mets have now. He's a free agent after this year, and while I wouldn't pay him a ridiculous amount of money, I could see the Wilpons being willing to dole out $15 million a year for him. They would have to re-sign him in order for this trade to make sense, but trading a prospect for an above average major leaguer at the same position is fine.

The thing with Cespedes is, the Mets can easily give up less in a trade and get similar, if not better overall production in return. The player won't be as flashy as Cespedes, but a lot of the hype around Cespedes is hot air.

Mets Get: Yoenis Cespedes

Tigers Get: Brandon Nimmo

Colby Rasmus
Age: 28
Role: Right Field

Rasmus's career has always been a little bit disappointing, but not terrible. He never fully developed into the star player he was expected to be when he was rising through the minor leagues in St. Louis, but he's turned into a good three true outcomes hitter. His batting average is not pretty, but he'll get the job done. It also happens to be a great time to buy on Rasmus because he's entering his offensive prime. Maybe he can finally put it all together. Even if he doesn't he's an upgrade over what the Mets are running out there currently. He's a free agent after this season, but I don't expect him to command a ridiculous amount of money.

The 'Stros will be looking for a starter at the deadline. With George Springer out, they might be reluctant to trade Rasmus, but in the long run, it might make sense because once Springer returns, they'll have three capable outfielders alongside Preston Tucker and Jake Marisnick. Houston will be in the market for other starting pitchers, and have been linked to Scott Kazmir, but Niese is a good fallback option.

Mets Get: Colby Rasmus

Astros Get: Jon Niese

Ben Zobrist
Age: 34
Role: Middle Infield, Utility

Offensive production and defensive versatility is what Ben Zobrist is all about. It's unclear how much longer he'll be this good, because he's well into his thirties, but for now at least, he'll be a great addition to the Mets. He'd probably be best playing shortstop over Ruben Tejada, but Terry Collins may also decide to stick him at second base while moving Wilmer Flores back to short. Being a switch hitter, he could start in right against a right-handed pitcher if Michael Cuddyer is in an extended slump (so, all the time), and shifting Curtis Granderson and his noodle arm to left field. The options are really endless for Zobrist, and there's a lot to love about that. Not to mention the fact that he's reliably above average at the dish every year. 

The deadline will be a major success if the Mets were able to acquire Zobrist along with this next guy.

Josh Reddick
Age: 28
Role: Right Field

Throw out his bad 2013, and you'll see that Reddick has been very good each year that he has gotten regular playing time. He had that 32 home run 2012 season which got him noticed for the first time, but while he's only on pace for 24 dingers this year, the power numbers are overall the same, and he's getting on base a lot more, thanks to a simple change in his approach. He doesn't strikeout as much as he used to, because he's stopped hacking at pitches low and away. That conscious change bodes well for his future. He's a good player with a year left on his contract who's about to get to the best years of career. 

The Athletics will seemingly always be looking to contend very soon, so they would like a prospect or two who is in position to help the team next year. Alderson calls up the man he mentored, and we have a great trade on our hands. Whoever Billy Beane prefers out of Fulmer, Montero, and Ynoa will go. Niese gives Oakland a good lefty starter entering his prime, which will be important especially if they trade away Scott Kazmir. It's also possible that they don't want Niese, which is okay with me, so they can take two of the three young pitchers. 

Mets Get: Josh Reddick, Ben Zobrist

Athletics Get: Jon Niese, Brandon Nimmo, Gabriel Ynoa/Michael Fulmer/Rafael Montero OR Brandon Nimmo, Rafael Montero, Gabriel Ynoa/Michael Fulmer

David Peralta
Age: 27
Role: Right Field

If I were in the Arizona braintrust, I would look harder at trading Peralta, because he has higher trade value, and therefore should bring back a better return than Inciarte. The difference in offensive talent between the two shouldn't matter to a team that's already one of the best offenses in baseball.

Peralta was pretty good last year in 88 games, but is absolutely tearing it up this season, hitting .275/.348/.502 with 7 triples on the year to date. The lack of publicity surrounding him may make it look like this is a fluke, but at his age, and with his track record in the minor leagues, no one should be shocked by this. I don't think he's going to be quite this good for so many years to come, but even a diminished version of what he's doing at the moment will make him a staple in the middle of any order.

Mets Get: David Peralta, Player to be Named Later

Diamondbacks Get: Jon Niese, Matt Reynolds, Rafael Montero

Gerardo Parra
Age: 28
Role: Right Field

I've always been a huge fan of Parra's, and now that he's having by far his best offensive season, other people are taking notice. Always known for his great outfield defense, he'd been a pretty average to below average hitter, never posting a wRC+ above 106. But this year, he's been great, hitting .313/.348/.500. There's some cause for concern, as his home run to fly ball ratio is far better than his career average, which may be a sign of some luck, but his hard hit ball percentage is also up, so there may be something to it. As I've mentioned with a few other guys already, the fact that he's entering his prime now at age 28 means that there's a chance this is sustainable.

Now here's where the aforementioned Jean Segura comes back into the fold. If the Mets were able to get both Segura and Parra, the deadline will have been a success. Parra's in a contract year, which depresses some of the trade value he otherwise would have had, but the upside of both is what teams will pay for.

Mets Get: Gerardo Parra, Jean Segura

Brewers Get: Rafael Montero, Matt Reynolds, Michael Fulmer/Gabriel Ynoa

Jay Bruce
Age: 28
Role: Right Field

His awful 2014 made me forget how good he was prior to that. He's a much better and more consistent version of Rasmus in that they're both three true outcome guys, but Bruce had career averages of .257/.330/.482 prior to last year. Mind you, he's playing in a left handed hitter's heaven in Cincinnati, but even when adjusted for park effects, his track record is very good. I'm comfortable ignoring what he did last year because he's right back to his normal self in 2015. It's unclear what caused his drop off, but it seems to be a non-factor anymore. He's signed through 2016 with a team option for the '17 season at a pretty good price. He has an absolute cannon out in right field, and he's also deceptively quick. What's not to love about him.

Mets Get: Jay Bruce

Reds Get: Brandon Nimmo

Carlos Gomez
Age: 29
Role: Right Field

Ah, our former prospect could return seven years after being one of the main pieces of the Johan Santana trade. I was sad to see him go at the time, but of course I was fine with it. Since then, he's developed into one of the top center fielders in the game. He fully broke out a couple of years ago, hitting for more power than he ever had in his major league career. I actually picked him to be NL MVP this year because I thought the Brewers would be able to snag the second Wild Card spot (I was wrong). Overall he's having a down year thanks to a slow April and an injury, but he's turned it around, and has hit .279/.352/.462 since May 11. He's a free agent after next season, and he'll be in very high demand if the Mets don't lock him up beforehand, so they really need to be proactive in keeping him around.

Much like the trade with Parra, I'd expect Segura to be involved as well. I would include Juan Lagares in this deal, but he's such an offensive zero right now that I don't think another team would be comfortable making him their center fielder of the future. However, Brandon Nimmo...

Mets Get: Carlos Gomez, Jean Segura

Brewers Get: Brandon Nimmo, Matt Reynolds, Rafael Montero 

Justin Upton
Age: 27
Role: Right Field

Upton's name has always been bigger than his production, and I say that as a longtime Upton believer. At the same time, he's still very good. Grantland contributor Rany Jazayerli put it best: Justin Upton's career has always been "simultaneously valuable and a little disappointing." His impending free agency kills some of his trade value, but he will be able to help any team who he joins in their playoff hunt. And who knows, maybe now that he's about to peak, he can finally become the All-Star who he's supposed to have been this whole time. 

Mets Get: Justin Upton 

Padres Get: Brandon Nimmo, Rafael Montero, Marcos Molina

Todd Frazier
Age: 29
Role: Third Base/Corner Outfield

Frazier is the best name on this list and it's not close. I only have him here as an idea rather than a thought experiment. I don't know what to think about a possible trade involving Frazier. What exactly would it take. I would heavily consider trading Syndergaard for him, but would it be that pricey? He won't be a free agent until after the 2017 season, which means the Reds would want a lot in return, but a few of the Mets' other top prospects could do it. Or maybe not, I'm not really sure. Either way, there's also a chance that the Reds simply hang on the Frazier and rebuild around him as the franchise cornerstone, despite the fact that he's already 29 years old.

Mets Get: Todd Frazier

Reds Get: Noah Syndergaard OR Brandon Nimmo, Michael Fulmer/Rafael Montero/Gabriel Ynoa, Gavin Cecchini

So those are all the options, but what will Sandy Alderson do? I think the most likely scenario is the one involving. All things considered, especially the frugality of the ownership, Parra is the most production player the Mets can get at a bargain price.

I'd set the marker for a successful trade deadline right between Paulsen and Murphy/Raburn. if the best management can do is bring in Ben Paulsen, then they've failed. Swinging a deal for one of the guys from Cleveland, or any of the other people higher on my list, I'd say the Mets have put themselves in a great position to make a run for the playoffs. 

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