Consensus around the Mets suggests that they will be seeking a shortstop this winter. In my opinion, it’s their number one need. While the team certainly can benefit from an outfield upgrade, they have some internal options in Juan Lagares, Matt den Dekker, Eric Young Junior, and Cesar Puello. However, they have no such options at shortstop. Omar Quintanilla was a good soldier, filling in for Ruben Tejada, however his triple slash stands at .227/.312/.290. Speaking of Tejada, before his season-ending injury this week, his line stood at .202/.259/.260 (albeit in only 227 official major-league ABs). Many names are being thrown around as potential shortstop targets, Troy Tulowitzki and Stephen Drew to name two of them. However, the Cubs have a shortstop who may be of interest as well.
Starlin Castro has had a bad year for the Cubs. His triple slash sits at .242/.283/.340. He has 9 home runs and 41 RBI on the year. Castro also doesn’t walk much, having only 29 on the year. So why can he be considered a target? His bad year is one reason. Catro’s value is at a low point, and it may not take much to get him. Another reason is that the Mets and Cubs match up well as trade partners. The Cubs could benefit from pitching help (3.95 team ERA, 11th in the NL). The Mets have pitching to trade (less so with Matt Harvey‘s situation, but still some pitching to trade). And, it will not take a top prospect to get Castro (perhaps someone such as Jenrry Mejia or Jeurys Familia). A final reason why Castro may be a target is Javier Baez, a top shortstop prospect in their organization. At Single A and Double A this year, Baez belted a combined 37 home runs and drove in 111 runs. Also, Baez is only 20 years old, making him likely to improve.
Castro certainly has his flaws, but he is only 23 years old. The biggest difference between Castro and Tejada is the potential of the players. Castro has the ability to grow into a star, with good speed, a strong arm, and significant power at the plate. Tejada simply does not have these natural gifts, and his ceiling is far lower than Castro’s. This isn’t to suggest that Castro is the perfect fit for the Mets. This is simply being presented as an option. The Mets have numerous holes to fill, and like any other team, a finite amount of resources (financial and personnel) with which to fill them. Castro may be available at a low price, and, at least in my opinion, serve as an upgrade to the all-important shortstop position.
Let me know what you think in the comments section.