Ten Players The Mets Should Trade Instead of Reyes and Wright


One of the hottest topics regarding the New York Mets has been the upcoming, and seemingly inevitable “decision”–are the Mets going to trade Jose Reyes or David Wright (or both)? Since Wright is still under contract (and is currently injured/less attractive of a commodity), Reyes’ name has been swirling in more rumors than Lindsay Lohan’s. However, parting ways with Reyes, a homegrown talent and the ultimate lineup spark, would be detrimental to the team and the fan base. Despite the Mets need to shed salary and continue to fill their farm system with cheap talent for the future, there are still some other routes Mets management can take without pawning their two best trade chips.

1. Carlos Beltran (2011 Salary: $18.5 Million): There are two obvious trade candidates not named David Wright or Jose Reyes on the Mets–Carlos Beltran and Francisco Rodriguez. Beltran is in the final season of the seven-year, $119 million contract he signed back in 2005, and is enjoying a fine renaissance season in 2011. So far, the switch-hitting veteran has posted a .287/.371/.507 line with 9 homeruns, a league-leading 20 doubles, 39 RBI, 32 runs-scored, and 1 stolen-base. He’s also been playing an average, but improving rightfield (-2.1), and owns a 2.1 WAR overall. The downside to Beltran is his contract ($18.5 million) and non-arbitration status (so no draft picks if he signs elsewhere). The Mets best bet is to pawn Beltran off to an American League team as a designated hitter/occasional fielder, and assume part of his salary in the process. It’s been a good ride, Carlos, but you’re as good as gone come the deadline.

Potential Suitors: Tampa Bay Rays, Detroit Tigers, Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Angels, San Francisco Giants, Arizona Diamondbacks, or Colorado Rockies
2012 Replacement(s): Fernando Martinez, David DeJesus, Kosuke Fukudome, or Cody Ross

2. Francisco Rodriguez (2011 Salary: $11.5 Million): The other obvious candidate to be traded is Francisco Rodriguez, but unlike Beltran, it might be more difficult to find a taker. Rodriguez has been slightly more erratic in 2011, posting 18 saves, 2.90 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 2.43 K/BB with a .269/.348/.378 line against. More importantly, K-Rod infamously owns a $17.5 million option for 2012, which will become guaranteed once he eclipses the 55 “finished games” mark. The closer currently has 25 finished games to-date, so the 55-game hurdle is very approachable. Regardless of the hefty option, there will still be teams on the prowl for an experienced closer. And hey, Rodriguez even offered his services to be used in the eighth.

Potential Suitors: Tampa Bay Rays, Chicago White Sox, Texas Rangers, or St. Louis Cardinals
2012 Replacement(s): Bobby Parnell, Michael Wuertz, Matt Capps, Frank Francisco, Joe Nathan, Joel Peralta, Chad Qualls, Jon Rauch, or Koji Uehara

3. Mike Pelfrey (2011 Salary: $3.925 Million): Mike Pelfrey hasn’t been particularly consistent in his supposed “break-out season” (5.11 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 1.96 K/BB), but from 2008 to 2010, the big righty owned a 4.11 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, and 1.67 K/BB–numbers that many teams might like for their number three or four starter. At age 27, Big Pelf still has room for growth, and will probably see his 2011 salary raised to around $5 million in arbitration. Considering the wild amount of money thrown at pitchers like Pelfrey in free agency, teams should jump at the opportunity to nab Pelfrey. If the Mets could get a decent return for their former first round pick while shedding his future (and only increasing) salary, it would be a no-brainer in their attempt to retain Reyes.

Potential Suitors: New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles, Detroit Tigers, Texas Rangers, or Seattle Mariners
2012 Replacement(s): Johan Santana

4. Angel Pagan (2011 Salary: $3.5 Million): The Mets biggest surprise in 2010 was the rise of Angel Pagan. In his first season as a starting player, Pagan posted a .290/.340/.425 line with 11 homeruns, 69 RBI, 80 runs-scored, and 37 stole-bases. He also boasted a combined 14.9 UZR/150 at all three outfield positions. Needless to say, Pagan was extremely valuable in 2010. However, Pagan’s 2011 start was pretty dismal–posting just a .159/.259/.246 before succumbing to a month-long oblique injury. But since returning from the disabled list, the outfielder has posted a fantastic .328/.370/.433 slash. His -7.7 UZR/150 is obviously down from 2010, but considering his stellar defensive history (and recent oblique injury), it’s safe to assume Pagan will return to his high-glove caliber. While Pagan seems like the type of player the Mets should keep, it’s easy to forget that he’s not exactly a Spring chicken. At age 29, Pagan is certainly at the peak of his career and value. Like Pelfrey, Pagan too will earn around $5 million in arbitration. In addition, since the Mets have centerfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis dominating Triple-A (.298/.403/.505 line with 6 homeruns, 14 RBI, 33 runs-scored, and 5 stolen-bases), the Mets might not miss Pagan nearly as much as fans think.

Potential Suitors: Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Angels, Milwaukee Brewers, San Francisco Giants, or Colorado Rockies
2012 Replacement(s): Kirk Nieuwenhuis

5. Taylor Buchholz (2011 Salary: $.6 Million): Buchholz was one of Sandy Alderson’s greatest dumpster finds this past off-season. The former top prospect endured a slew of arm injuries, and barely pitched from 2009 to 2010. Despite the odds, Alderson handed Buchholz a $600,000 contract, and has looked like a genius ever since. The right-handed reliever has posted a 3.12 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, and 3.71 K/BB in 26 innings. Even though the oft-injured pitcher is currently on the disabled list with a “dead arm,” he is expected back at the end of June. Assuming Buchholz comes back where he left off, the Mets will have to beat off interested teams with a bat. Not only does Buchholz look like his dominant 2008-self, but he will still be under team control through next season. Considering his lack of productive service time (and meager 2011 salary), any prospective team will have themselves a setup man for around $1 million in 2012.

Potential Suitors: Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays, Detroit Tigers, Chicago White Sox, Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Angels, Oakland Athletics, St. Louis Cardinals, or Arizona Diamondbacks
2012 Replacement(s): Scott Linebrink, Dan Wheeler, or Jamey Wright

6. Chris Capuano (2011 Salary: $1.5 Million): Similar to Buchholz, Chris Capuano was another one of Sandy Alderson’s low-risk, high-reward signings. Both he and Chris Young were supposed to help anchor the bottom-half of the Mets rotation, but only one fragile hurler survived the first month. After a shaky March/April (6.04 ERA, 1.57 WHIP, 3.17 K/BB), Capuano has since looked like his pre-injury self (3.54 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 2.66 K/BB). The former Brewers pitcher needs to pitch well in June and July to prove he’d be an upgrade over contending team’s current starters, but his recent string of solid outings and low 2011 salary certainly help his (and the Mets’) cause.

Potential Suitors: New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers, Texas Rangers, or Colorado Rockies
2012 Replacement(s): Matthew Harvey, Aaron Cook, Jeff Francis, Jon Garland, Scott Kazmir, or Javier Vazquez

7. Jason Isringhausen (2011 Salary: under $1 Million): At the time of the minor league signing, most Mets fans saw the contract as a nostalgic transaction, however, the former “Generation K” prospect has actually become the team’s consistent eighth inning option. Izzy has posted a 2.91 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and 1.90 K/BB in 21.6 innings. His 4.2 BB/9 and 7.9 K/BB are about on-par with his career numbers, so apparently the 38 year-old is still in pretty good shape (despite his more portly physical appearance). Teams certainly would not hand over the closer reigns to the veteran reliever, but contenders could easily use him as a solid seventh inning guy. Assuming it’s Isringhausen’s last season in the show, I’m sure his preference is to be traded to a legitimate contender.

Potential Suitors: Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers, Texas Rangers, Milwaukee Brewers, or St. Louis Cardinals
2012 Replacement(s): Bill Pulsipher or Paul Wilson

8. Ronny Paulino (2011 Salary: $1.35 Million): The big-boned catcher, who missed the first chunk of 2011 due to suspension and case of anemia, has been a nice upgrade at backup for the Mets. Paulino has posted a .324/.377/.380 line with 1 homerun, 7 RBI, 2 runs-scored, and 6 walks in 77 plate appearances so far, occasionally spelling Josh Thole (especially during his cold streaks). The catcher’s finest asset though has actually been his ability to hit left-handed pitching. Paulino owns a career .337/.389/.481 line against lefties, and has sported a .321/.367/.321 against them this season. As an able-bodied catcher and potential platoon-partner (who is still under team control to boot), there might be a few teams interested in his services.

Potential Suitors: San Francisco Giants, Pittsburgh Pirates, Seattle Mariners, or Cleveland Indians
2012 Replacement(s): Mike Nickeas, Kelly Shoppach, or Matt Treanor

9. Tim Byrdak (2011 Salary: $.9 Million): The left-handed Byrdak has been dominant against his own kind in his career, owning a .209/.298/.385 line against. While the southpaw has sat-down 15 lefties in 2011, they’re still hitting a collective .289/.325/.447 against him. In fact, Byrdak is faring better against righties (.238/.407/.333)! Assuming his usually dominant slash line reverts back to normal rates, there will always be a market for lefty specialists.

Potential Suitors: Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Arizona Diamondbacks
2012 Replacement(s): Mark Hendrickson, Javier Lopez, Hideki Okajima, George Sherrill

10. Scott Hairston (2011 Salary: $1.1 Million): Hairston hasn’t been given many opportunities as a Met, but when he’s called on, the righty hitter either goes the extra mile (.426 SLG) or strikes out (17 K’s in 60 plate appearances). While the Hairston brother has been mostly know for his stick’s potential, the outfielder has been a nice defensive asset for the Mets in 2011. According to FanGraphs, Hairston has posted a combined 0.0 UZR/150 in all three outfield positions, with leftfield being his strongest (1.2 UZR/150). With his ability to play a competent centerfield (as well as the the corners), Hairston could be a bench commodity for a team lacking in that department.

Potential Suitors: Detroit Tigers or Cleveland Indians
2012 Replacement(s): Lucas Duda