It’s no secret that the Mets need some new outfielders for 2013. With limited budget flexibility, New York will not be active in the free agent market, but plan to be looking for help through trades. Rumors tell us that Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton could become available this winter, but the rest of their young outfield may also be on the market, including Chris Young, Jason Kubel, and Gerardo Parra.
According to sources, Arizona GM Kevin Towers is trying to trade Young and at least Kubel or Parra, while his preference is to hold onto Upton and Adam Eatonfor next season. So, which one of these three potential trade pieces could look the most attractive to the Mets? Personally, none of them look fantastic. Parra is a good, young player, but Alderson has clearly expressed his desire to hit more home runs. Since his rookie campaign in 2009, he hasn’t played in less than 120 games, but hasn’t hit more than 8 home runs. Even though he’s under team control through 2015, he doesn’t fit into what the Mets need.
Now, Jason Kubel definitely hits home runs (30 HR, 90 RBI in ’12), but that’s about all he does. Matt Cerrone of MetsBlog made a good point in the fact that not only does he strike out a lot (151 K’s in ’12), but his defense is an extreme liability, as he continually costs his team runs and his range factor is well below the league average. Plus, he would be yet another left-handed hitter in a lineup already dominated by lefties. The best fit for the Mets out of these three outfielders is Chris Young. He’s shown he can hit for power from the right side of the plate (four 20-HR seasons since 2006) and can play a solid center field, but is coming off a year in which he hit .231/.311/.434 with 14 homers and 40 RBI in 101 games. Injuries played a part in his lackluster 2012, but he’s only had one solid, all around season, which came in 2010, when he hit .257/.341/.452 with 27 homers, 91 RBI, and 28 stolen bases.
Due to earn $8 million in 2013 with a $7.5 optionin 2014, Arizona is aware they may have to kick in some cash to unload Young, which could be attractive to Alderson since he has no room to spend this winter and will be able to after next season. Young is the best of the bunch here, but he’s another all-or-nothing kind of player, either hitting home runs or striking out (five 100+ strikeout seasons since 2006). However, if the asking price is low, it’s certainly something to consider. The D-backs won’t be the only ones looking to trade outfielders, as the Mets will also be looking into Josh Willingham and Shin-Soo Choo, who are both rumored to be on the market. Don’t forget about Grady Sizemore, who I think is worth a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training.
There is more news considering contract extension talks between the Mets and their two best players from 2012, David Wright and R.A. Dickey. MLB Trade Rumors broke the news from Andy Martino of the Daily News, and they’ve said things that most of us are already aware of. As for Wright, the fromal negotations between the organization and the team’s franchise player will be in the same range of the deal Ryan Zimmerman got last winter from the Nationals, which was six-years/$100 million. Rumors have it that Alderson could offer a long-term extension with options at the end of the guaranteed years to try and keep Wright in Orange and Blue until 2020.
As for Dickey, we’ve been hearing he’ll be using the type of deal Oliver Perez got (three-years/$33 million) as a benchmark in his negotiations with the club. Although Alderson truly wants to sign the knuckler to a deal, others in the front office are worried because of his age and injury history, pointing to the foot injury he suffered in 2011 and the torn abdominal he pitched through in 2012. Yes, he has been hurt the last two seasons, but the fact is this: since 2011, he’s made 65 starts, heading to the mound more than 30 times in each season. It’s ridiculous that some front office people want to use his recent injuries and age to drive the price down on Dickey. We’ll see how Alderson approaches the potential Cy Young candidate next week, as he will tell both R.A. and David he sees the future of the team moving forward as positive, with more budget flexibility on the way and their young pitching prospects coming of age next season and in 2014. We’ll see how smooth/not smooth these negotiations may be.