Rejecting the traditional titles of buyer and seller, Sandy Alderson has declared the Mets to be neutral at this trade deadline. Instead of pursuing “rental” players, Alderson has his eye toward his 2015 Mets and will only make trades that will positively impact New York next year and beyond.
With that in mind, what could Sandy be looking for as this year’s trade deadline approaches? Knowing his history, Alderson would probably target younger players who will impact the Mets next year and will be under team control for a long time. Translation: highly-regarded Triple-A prospects who are on track to reach the big leagues by 2015.
The Mets can afford to streamline their focus to just two positions when considering Triple-A talent. Catcher, first base, third base, and center field won’t be changing names for at least five years. Second base is covered even in the event Daniel Murphy leaves: Wilmer Flores can take over until Dilson Herrera, who is tearing up Double-A as a 20-year-old, is ready. Curtis Granderson will cover right field through at least 2016; after that, Brandon Nimmo or Michael Conforto should be ready for the bigs, and New York can move Granderson in mid-2017, if he is still productive.
Hernan Perez, Tigers SS
This year notwithstanding, the Tigers are set at shortstop with Jose Iglesias. This should make Hernan Perez, a 23-year-old doubles hitter, ripe for the picking. Based on his Triple-A averages, Perez would average over 40 doubles a year in the big leagues. Put him in a ballpark like Citi Field and he could perennially threaten Bernard Gilkey’s single-season team doubles mark (44 in 1996). Even more, with his speed (over 20 stolen bases every year since 2011), he should stretch a few of those doubles into triples and give the Mets the proper leadoff hitter they’ve been missing since Jose Reyes.
Detroit is desperate for relievers (they’ll even consider Ollie at this point), but they need them right now. Sandy would never blow up his current bullpen, not after waiting so long for it to work. But dangling a pair of Triple-A relievers who could be ready for September callups, like Chase Bradford and Ryan Reid, may be enough for Dave Dombrowski to bite the bullet. If the Tigers can afford to wait, Steven Matz may be the piece to put this deal over the top.
Stephen Piscotty, Cardinals OF
Another doubles specialist, Stephen Piscotty is hitting .293 with 27 two-baggers in Triple-A Memphis this season. He doesn’t have much home run power and could be neutralized as a right-hander at Citi Field, but hit ability to find the gaps should help make up for the lack of dingers. He will also steal a handful of bases each year and provide solid corner outfield defense.
St. Louis may be on the verge of calling Piscotty this year, but if they are serious about repeating as National League champions, they need to shore up their rotation. Jaime Garcia is done for the year and Michael Wacha is still a ways off from returning. After Bartolo Colon’s latest showcase, the Cardinals would at least have to consider bringing him on board. While Colon himself won’t be enough to get Piscotty, something for the future may seal the deal. Yadier Molina is 32 and, as a catcher, will start to break down sooner rather than later. Kevin Plawecki gives STL insurance behind the plate for when Molina vacates his role behind the plate. As long as Plawecki doesn’t make the Mets pay at some future October date, the team should be fine.
Chris Taylor, Mariners SS
The clock is ticking on chasing Chris Taylor, who the Mariners promoted last week after a monumental season in Triple-A Tacoma. The way his big league career has started, and the way Brad Miller and Nick Franklin have failed to produce, it may be Taylor who becomes Seattle’s shortstop of the future. But it’s not too late.
Seattle has a real chance to make the playoffs for the first time since 2001. While they are just 54-51, their Pythagorean record is 59-46, indicating they may be just one piece away from contention. The Ms need one more starter to round out their rotation, and Bartolo Colon knows the AL West after his two years in Oakland. Adding Steven Matz to the mix – one starter for now, one starter for later – may make Seattle willing to give up Taylor, who will soar through Citi Field with his doubles and triples.
To recap, these are three potential deadline deals Sandy Alderson could consider to help the Mets in 2015 and beyond:
Hernan Perez from DET (for Matz and/or Bradford/Reid)
Stephen Piscotty from STL (for Colon and Plawecki)
Chris Taylor from SEA (for Colon and Matz)
Who should the Mets look into? Which other Triple-A diamonds can be found in the baseball rough? The comments section is yours.