Last week, we took a look at how the Blue Jays could help the Mets in a trade to possibly bring a right-handed hitting catcher to Flushing. Today, we’re focusing on outfielders. With Scott Hairston likely not to sign elsewhere, Jason Bay released, and Andres Torres possibly getting non-tendered this week, there are plenty of holes to fill. So, instead of asking whether the Jays and Mets should hook up in a trade for catcher, how about an outfielder?
On the heels of Toronto agreeing to a two-year/$16 million deal with Melky Cabrera, there is a bit of a roster crunch in the outfield north of the border. Emilio Bonifacio, who came over in the mega-deal with with Marlins, can play the outfield, and with incumbents Jose Bautista, Colby Rasmus, and Rajai Davis still on the 40-man roster, and Anthony Gose knocking on the door, these three spots could be filled twice over. They could pull a move like the A’s plan to in 2013, using the designated hitter to put four outfielders in the lineup, but the Jays have Edwin Encarnacionentrenched as their primary DH. Coming off a 42-homer, 110-RBI campaign, I doubt they plan on moving him from that position. Bautista and Cabrera certainly aren’t going anywhere, while Bonifacio is likely seen as a fourth outfielder. So, that leaves Rasmus and Davis as the two most likely to be shopped. Which one should the Mets target?
Colby Rasmus was picked 28th overall in the the 2005 first year draft by the Cardinals, and after placing eighth in the 2009 Rookie of the Year voting, the young outfielder has had up-and-down results at the plate. He followed his solid rookie year (.251/.307/.407) with an even better sophomore year (.276/.361/.498), but he saw his overall average dip down to .225 in 2011, which included being traded to Toronto as part of a three-team trade that netted the Cardinals Edwin Jackson.
In 2012, Rasmus set career highs for games played (151), RBI (75), and tied his high water mark for home runs (23). However, he struggled to hit for a respectable average once again, posting a .223/.289/.400 line. Although his strikeout rate has decreased since 2010 (27.7% to 23.8%), so has his walk rate (11.8% to 7.5%), as well as his BABIP (.354 to .259). The one thing he’s done consistently throughout his MLB career is hit home runs, which the Mets desperately need. After earning $2.7 million this season, he’s arbitration-eligible for the first time.
As for Rajai Davis, he’s had a different track to the Majors; the pride of New London, CT was selected in the 38th round of the 2001 amateur draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates. In addition to playing in Pittsburgh, Davis has spent time by the Bay with both the Giants and A’s before landing in Toronto. He’s hit only 21 homers in his seven-year career, so power isn’t exactly the name of his game. However, with 223 career stolen bases, he provides something else the Mets desperately need, which is speed on the bases and in the outfield. Davis is a career .270 hitter and is coming off a 2012 in which he hit .257/.309/.378 with 8 homers, 43 RBI, 64 runs scored and 46 stolen bases. Although he doesn’t hit many home runs, he’s hit 20+ doubles his last four seasons, 3+ triples his last five seasons, and has swiped 30+ bags his last four seasons. Unlike Rasmus, he will be a free agent at the conclusion of 2013, finishing a three-year/$7.75 million contract.
So, which outfielder should the Mets go after? Personally, I like Davis over Rasmus; with the kind of team the Mets have right now, adding one player with 20+ homers, but a .230 average wouldn’t be as productive as adding a player with the potential to steal 40+ bases, especially when Lucas Duda could provide that kind of power production next season, with a higher average.
As for who I think Sandy Alderson would prefer out of these two, it would probably be Rasmus because he values home runs more than stolen bases. The Jays and the Mets spent a lot of time together at the GM Meetings a couple weeks ago, which leads some people to believe the two will be making a deal, maybe in a week and a half at the Winter Meetings in Tennessee. Toronto has a surplus of right-handed hitting catchers and outfielders New York desires, while the Amazins have pitching depth that is attractive to them. It would be great to have a bigger deal form for the Mets, including both a backstop and outfielder, but what would the Jays’ price be? If they’re looking for pitching and to win right now, R.A. Dickey would likely be the centerpiece of a trade like that.
What do you think? What would the Mets have to give up in order to acquire a catcher and outfielder from the Blue Jays?