In a few hours, it will be July 1st. This means that the non-waiver trading deadline is less than a month away. This month should be an interesting time for the Mets, as Sandy Alderson has repeatedly said that the team will be active at the deadline. The current thinking is that Alderson will attempt to acquire a young outfielder under team control (not arbitration nor free agent eligible) in exchange for a package that will include a pitcher.
Danny Abriano wrote about one possible target, Nick Castellanos of the Tigers’ organization. Another possible target for Sandy Alderson could be Jackie Bradley Junior of the Boston Red Sox. The Tigers and Red Sox find themselves in virtually identical situations. Both are in first place, and have a gap in the closer role. The Tigers recently designated Jose Valverde, while the Red Sox have been hunting (internally and externally) for a closer since the season-ending injury to newly acquired Joel Hanrahan. For both teams, a package including Bobby Parnell may make sense. The Alderson philosophy of selling high on closers makes a deal including Parnell, who has progressed nicely this year, quite logical. Parnell’s backfill on the Mets may a question mark, however, Alderson and his disciples have shown a propensity to deal back-end bullpen pieces.
So, who is Jackie Bradley? He is a right-handed hitting left fielder who began the season in Boston (19 games, 52 at bats), and is now at AAA Pawtucket. In 3 minor league seasons, Bradley has hit .309 with 14 home runs and a .416 OBP. His aggregate OPS is .898, and Bradley has stolen 27 bases while being caught 14 times. His minor league statistics certainly catch your attention. His .416 OBP in particular suggests that he could be an ideal lead-off hitter, with some speed when he gets on base. Bradley is just 23 years old, making him fit Alderson’s desired profile. One factor that may work against acquiring Bradley is the possible departure of Jacoby Ellsbury after this season. One would have to wonder of the Red Sox would like to keep Bradley (though he is not a center fielder) to help fill Ellsbury’s void if he should leave the team. However, trading a young outfielder for a young closer (as principle players in a deal) may make sense for both teams.
Trading Parnell, as mentioned, would leave the Mets with a hole to fill. The question is whether or not the Alderson philosophy of “changeable closers” is worth testing, especially when the bait being dangled is a potential lead-off hitter for years to come. In any event, while the on-field product has been a little disappointing, the off-field activities over the next 31 days should be very interesting. Stay tuned.