Jays Could Target Mets Players: David Wright, Jose Reyes, or Carlos Beltran

The Mets organization is in need of some real cash flows. So much so that their owner, Fred Wilpon, is apparently looking to sell up to 25% of the team to a new minority owner. In addition to this, the team as a whole underperformed in 2010, has Johan Santana‘s health to worry about already in 2011, and still may have health issues related to both Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran.

Enter the silent assassin, Alex Anthopolous, who just cleared a ton of room off the books. He’s been known to prey on desperate teams, such as the most recent deal with the Angels, and can usually find a way to make things work. Is there a deal to be done between the NY Mets and the Toronto Blue Jays? I’m not sure and it seems that Alex Anthopolous is becoming fairly comfortable with what he’s got on board. But, if I’m Fred Wilpon looking at the finances in place and so many soon-to-be free agents on board, I’m pressuring the GM to find me some outs and some cash ASAP.

Here’s a list of trade candidates for the Mets and how things may work in a deal with the Jays, not that I believe it’s likely to happen, but only because anything can happen and these are intriguing thoughts:

Carlos Beltran – signed for 2011 at $20,070,000 (Courtesy of Cot’s)- Becomes a FA in 2012

image courtesy of milleniumstratleague.blogspot.com

If the Mets want cash, here’s a great place to start. Carlos proved in 2010 that his bat still works with 11 doubles and 7 HRs in 220 AB and a .341 OBP, although his .255 average and only 3 SB did indicate that he was rusty overall after a lay off. Still, he got better as the season wore on after a July return, and hit .321/.365/.603 in September/October and hit 5 of his 7 HRs that month.  This guy had the cost of a batting cage included in his contract for a reason, he absolutely eats, sleeps, and lives through baseball. He still has a lot to give baseball, but does come with some major injury issues.

With only 2011 remaining on his contract, Carlos will want to prove his worth in order to sign a new contract at age 34. If he hits as expected in 2011 and can remain healthy, the team with his rights can either trade him to a contender for prospects, or let him walk as what should be a Type A FA in order to garner 2 top-notch picks. The Mets should be the team going along with this strategy, but can they afford to wait until then to do so? If a team did acquire Carlos, the cost would depend on the return and the amount of his salary taken on. If someone comes along and eats the entire salary, the cost in players may be minimal. If not, then the demands made by the Mets in prospects or players could be substantial.

In terms of the Jays side of things, I’m not going to throw anyone out there other than Juan Rivera, a player who the Mets could easily slide into the 4th OF role, while shifting Angel Pagan to CF and bringing their #1 OF prospect Fernando Martinez into a full-time role. They also recently signed Scott Hairston who can play all 3 OF positions for the Mets. Making Rivera part of the deal would also minimize the amount of contract eaten up by the Jays to approximately $15 million or so. If others are included, whether it be prospects or players, it would lower the costs taken on by the Jays simultaneously. From Darin Mastroianni to Eric Thames, there are prospects the Jays have that could seriously interest the cash-strapped Mets.

With Carlos Beltran on board, the Jays could either slide him into LF or put Rajai Davis there instead. Either way, it gives the Jays 2 outfielders who can play all 3 OF spots. He’d easily replace Vernon Wells in the 3-hole in the lineup, and would immediately provide similar stats with the possibility of a better OBP and more speed.

Jose Reyes – Club Option for 2011 picked up at a cost of $11,000,000 (Courtesy of Cot’s) – Becomes a FA in 2012

image courtesy of caesarcliffius.wordpress.com

Dealing Jose Reyes would not clear that much off the books for the Mets, so it may not be their favorite option. Star short-stops are not easy to come by, and as their lead off hitter, Jose is the catalyst for their entire offense. Still, relations between him and the Mets have been strained to say the least, mostly due to the way his injuries have been handled, so both sides may be open to a deal should one come to fruition. However, he has stated of late that he is open to re-signing with the Mets, so all is not lost for them.

The Jays are said to be looking for a 3B, right? Well, what if they bring Reyes on board, shift Yunel Escobar to 2B (something likely to happen anyhow when Adeiny Hechavarria arrives) and move Aaron Hill to 3B? Jose Bautista goes back to RF, Travis Snider moves to LF, and Juan Rivera – if he’s still around after the trade – becomes a 4th outfielder.

The problem I have with this acquisition suggestion is that I have no idea what the Mets would demand in return, and I really don’t want Reyes blocking what could be an emerging Hechavarria in 2012, should the Jays sign Reyes to an extension at some point in 2011. Still, at only 28 years old and as one of the most talented lead off hitters in MLB, you can’t help but wonder if he’d be a good fit at the top of the Jays lineup.

Due to the strained relations between him and the Mets and their cash issues, I make him the most likely on this list to be on a new team in 2012. Whether or not he’s with the Jays is unknown and most likely an unlikely proposition, but it’s still a small possibility.

David Wright – Owed $14 million in 2011, $15 million in 2012, and has a club option of $16 million in 2013 with a $1 million buyout (Courtesy of Cot’s) – Becomes a FA in 2013 or 2014 if the Option is taken

image courtesy of tmoney022.wordpress.com

The cornerstone to their franchise, 28-year old Wright is extremely unlikely to be dealt unless the Mets receive a king’s ransom. Still, desperate times call for desperate measures, so you never know for certain. Dealing Wright would immediately bring 4-6 prospects into the Mets organization, and the possible dealings of Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran could bring in a ton as well. If the Mets decide to “blow it up”, as is often said when an organization decides to rebuild, they could be convinced to deal Wright. He’s not going to become any cheaper anytime soon.

I’m not going to spend much time on evaluating Wright’s move to the Jays because I really don’t believe the Jays could land him without dealing a ton of their newly acquired depth and youthful talent. Still, we can never count Alex Anthopolous out of any deal, so I throw him out there as a player that would resolve the issues the Jays are facing at 3B for the long term, and who would resolve some of the money woes the Mets are having while giving them a ton of players to rebuild with.

Final Evaluation

I’m obviously throwing this post out there as a long shot and one that has parts which make more sense than others. It was just too tempting to do with all of the talk of financial issues in New York. I fully understand that the Jays are likely to seek minor league players with some of their freed up cash and would never expect Alex Anthopolous to go on a spending spree. But, if he can land one of the 3 players above at a discount since he’s covering the majority of that player’s contract, I can envision a deal being conducted between these 2 teams. The probability of it happening is likely below 10%, but it is impactfull enough a possible deal to warrant a look to see how it would impact the Jays.

A Beltran acquisition would essentially replace Wells and result in future benefits in terms of picks or an attractive trade piece at the deadline, a Reyes acquisition does the same in terms of picks or trade piece while allowing Bautista to return to RF, and a Wright acquisition would resolve the 3B issues faced by the Jays through 2013 while also shifting Bautista to RF and replacing Wells in the 3-hole. Each possible deal solves issues for the Jays. The problems include the fact that they are all on relatively short deals which may not match what the Jays see as affordable when compared to financial or prospect costs, and that all 3 are players the Mets are built around and will therefore not be easy to acquire.

It’s fun to dream of a Jays lineup with any of these 3 included, as I’m sure it would make the Jays much better in the long term. Having considered all 3 scenarios at length, I see a Carlos Beltran acquisition as most likely to occur of the 3, even if it is still extremely unlikely. This is partially due to the possibility of having Brett Lawrie as a 3B in the very near future, the fact that Beltran is owed the most in 2011, and that he also has a lot of injury risk that the Mets may want to mitigate against by dealing him before the season starts. His leadership would also be welcomed on a young Jays club, and he is about as dedicated a baseball player as you can find in all of MLB, making a great example for the younger guys on the club.

That’s my take on the Mets situation and how it may peak the interest of Alex Anthopolous and the Jays. It’s a scenario that’s unlikely to develop into reality, but one that I enjoyed pondering. How can I not when the chances of the Mets extending either Reyes or Beltran past 2011 are slimmer than the chances of a deal between the Jays and Mets!

- MG

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Tags: Carlos Beltran David Wright Jose Reyes

  • http://5thStarter.blogspot.com 5thStarter

    Hey Mat,

    Are you sure about Beltran being type-A? From what I understand, The Elias rankings system only uses the prior 2 seasons of data to calculate compensation. With Beltran’s injury, he would need to have an incredible season to ensure type-a status.

    That said, he’s definitely worth a chance. He’s a buy-low candidate that could yeild a high return.

    David Wright is the real prize of this bunch though. getting him out of Citi Field would boost his stats in a huge way. I wouldn’t mind giving up (some) of the future for him. Maybe we can send J.P. some of his old guys?

    • Mat Germain

      I have to be honest that I was unaware of the need for a combination of the years. I’ll definitely look into it and thanks for the heads up!

      • Mat Germain

        OK, I’ve done my homework now and you are right, 5th starter, it does include the 2 previous years. Having said that, the players are divided into 5 groups and group 1 is where Carlos would fit in, along with 1B and DH. When you add the fact that he only goes up against those who are FA that year, it explains why I still expect him to be a Type A FA in 2012.

        I’ll use Magglio Ordonez as the absolute best example of this. He was a Type A FA this off season despite having missed a ton of time between 2009 and 2010 in order to make it to Type A (788 ABs total). Carlos still had 220 ABs in 2010, so with a full healthy season in 2011, he could definitely make it to Type A. Maggs did it though, because of the stats it includes – particularly the AVG and OBP numbers that put Magglio well ahead of others. Still, even with all of that lost time, Magglio was able to be middle of the pack Type A, not bottom of the pack, so it shows the kind of talent that they’re up against most of the time. Carlos has the same kind of upside and can definitely make a push for Type A. If he wants to get paid in 2012 and beyond, he better!

        Here’s one of the links I used for info:

  • lolwut

    Even if the Mets are looking to shed payroll, Reyes or Wright would still cost a lot, especially Wright. He is under contract for a couple of years and is a premium 3B in this league. Personally, I don’t see them trading him. He is their franchise player.

    Beltran makes sense IMO. He has been injured the last couple of years but when healthy, he is a stud and he would be a buy low option at this point so it is possible Mets may not consider trading him either and it is possible AA may not Beltran 20 million salary, he would have to have a terrific year to get much value at the deadline.

    Beltran would be a solid gap stop for a year though.

  • little dan

    0% chance of happening.

    • Mat Germain

      I’m really curious as to why you would make such a definitive statement?

      A couple of months ago, people around baseball may have said the same thing about the Jays dealing Vernon Wells, the same thing about Jayson Werth signing for over $100 million, and the same thing about Cliff Lee landing anywhere but in NY or TEX. Guess what, in my books, nothing is impossible!

  • George Norman

    We could have had Michael Young in 2001. Chose Gabe Gross instead. Funny thing is, 36 others made the same mistake. In reality, none of this makes sense, in that none of these guys would help because they don’t fit the Jays’ time frame. While most fans feel that they have a shot at the playoffs in 2012, this is not the case. Most of The Jays’ top prospects like Gose, Marisnick, Thames, or Hechavarria are in A/AA right now, and won’t get to the show until 2012/13, so a more realistic date to reach their goal, which is to take a shot at the World Series might be thought of as 2015. By that time, guys like Young and Beltre will be long gone, along with a wealth of talent that would have been traded to acquire them in the first place.

  • Dan

    On Beltran, after 2011 his contract states that the team cant offer arbitration to Beltran. Beltran enters 2012 as a a Free Agent without any compensation. You dont get draft picks

  • Sean p Heffernan

    pure crap!

  • KJ Baker

    LOL! @ Beltran, what’s the reason of the Wells trade again?