The past week or so has been spent discussing who the Mets will deal come July 31st. Names like Carlos Beltran, Jason Isringhausen and Tim Byrdak, among several others, have been bandied about and possible returns have been discussed. However, just because the Mets might very likely be sellers, doesn’t mean that everyone must go. In fact, there are some players the Mets shouldn’t think about dealing, and some players the Mets wouldn’t be able to move even if they tried. Here are the players you’ll see wearing a Mets uniform for the rest of 2011 (and possibly beyond):
Untouchable (there aren’t many of these, but there are a few)
Jose Reyes: The dynamic shortstop returned to the lineup last night and had two hits while making a couple of fine defensive plays. He is the most important player on the team and isn’t going anywhere this season. Next year is another question.
Jon Niese: A twenty-four year old lefty who is under team control through 2015 and is maturing every time he takes the mound. This season, Niese has pitched to a 3.73 ERA (3.32 xFIP), 1.335 WHIPand 7.5 K/9 while averaging over six innings per start. At this rate, Niese should be a fixture in the Mets rotation for a long time.
Ike Davis: For one thing, Ike will miss the remainder of the season, making him useless to any team this season. But even if he weren’t, Ike is the best power hitter the Mets have and under team control through 2016. The point is more that Ike will be a Met for awhile.
Bobby Parnell: It might seem odd that a reliever winds up in this category, but with the flame-throwing Parnell possibly being the closer of the future, I can’t imagine the Mets dealing him. He’s also cheap, pitching well this season (26.2 IP, 2.70 ERA, 2.69 xFIP, 26 H, 33 K) and won’t be a free agent until 2016.
Too Expensive To Trade
Jason Bay: Bay could also fall under the “He’s Not Playing Very Well” category, but he’s also really expensive. He’s hitting just .233/.320/.326 this season and, despite solid defense, hasn’t been worth the $18.125 million the Mets are paying him this season. The left fielder is scheduled to make $39.26 million in guaranteed money through 2013, and let’s not even talk about the easily attainable vesting option for 2014 that would pay Bay another $17 million. In short, the Mets are stuck with him unless they’re willing to eat a huge portion of his salary or release him, neither of which are likely. Besides, if Bay was gone, who else would the fans boo with such energy?
Johan Santana: The true ace of the staff is on the DL, so like Ike, he won’t be traded this season. However, his large contract also makes trading him nearly impossible in the near future. Santana is making $22.5 million this year and will earn $24 million in 2012, $25.5 million in 2013 and at least $5.5 million through a buyout in 2014. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Mets contract without, you guessed it a vesting option for 2014! Actually, it’s a team option first, but can become a player option if a variety of criteria are met. Basically, Santana has to perform well in the Cy Young Award voting from 2008-13 or averages over 200 innings in the later years of his deal.
Not Quite Untouchable, But Very Unlikely To Be Dealt At the Deadline
David Wright: There is some debate as to the trade value of David Wright. He’s had a down year and been injured, which in theory should drive his stock down. However, he is still one of the better third baseman in the Majors and will only be 29 this December. The issue for other teams is that Wright’s 2013 option voids if he is traded, and he’d likely test the free agent market after being dealt. Coming off the injury this year though, he’s likely to stay.
Daniel Murphy: Murph has stepped up for the Mets in a lot of different ways this season. In addition to hitting pretty well (.310/.351/.445 with six homers), he’s been shuffled around the infield, filling in at first, second and third base. While not quite untouchable, he’s been a valuable player for the Mets in 2011 and won’t be arbitration eligible for the first time until 2013.
Pedro Beato: The Rule 5 pick has been one of Sandy Alderson’s good finds this season. Beato has posted a 3.29 ERA (4.10 xFIP) and 1.049 WHIP this season in 41 innings, although his low strikeout total (24 Ks) is a little perplexing given his velocity and movement. He’s been a pretty reliable piece of the Mets bullpen and should be in the next few years as well as he continues to develop.
R.A. Dickey: R.A. hasn’t quite pitched as well as last season, but the knuckleballer is still doing alright, owning a 3.70 ERA, 3.87 xFIP, 1.307 WHIP and 2.24 K/BB. Fresh off signing a contract that will pay him $2.75 million total this season, $4.75 million in 2012 and possibly $5 million if the Mets pick up his 2013 (non-vesting) option, Dickey certain is affordable. However, I can’t imagine teams wanting to commit to a knuckleballer at the trading deadline, and it’d be nice to see Dickey stick around for the next couple of years.
Angel Pagan: Rising Apple has made the case a couple of different times to trade Pagan (not because we don’t like him, but because he has value), but it’s probably not going to happen. Pagan isn’t living up to last year’s success so far (hitting just .240/.316/.346 this season while his defense hasn’t been as solid), but to be fair, he was hurt and missed a good chunk of time. With Buffalo outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis on the shelf with a shoulder injury, there isn’t anyone of note to replace Angel in center if he was traded.