Mets should set their sights on Carlos Gomez

By Brian Farrell

We’ve been hearing for weeks now that the Milwaukee Brewers are actively scouting the New York Mets and their farm system. When the Mets are being connected with the Brewers it seems to be Aramis Ramirez that gets mentioned most. I can’t be the only one who starts to twitch when I hear that.

Defensively, the infield has been settled since Murphy was inserted at third and Ruben Tejada took over at shortstop. Ramirez has had a fine career, but is limping to the finish line. When your 36 year old offseason acquisition has trouble breaking the .700 OPS barrier, then goes down with the inevitable physical ailment you don’t go out and replace him with a player like Aramis Ramirez. Enter Carlos Gomez.

If the Mets are going to be in touch with the Brewers, the conversation should start and end with Carlos Gomez. He started his career with the Mets as a 21-year-old oozing physical tools, but was dealt to Minnesota as part of the Johan Santana trade before the potential was realized.

Today, Gomez is in his prime at 29, which becomes especially critical when you consider he still has one year left on his deal after 2015.  That one year comes at $9 million, only $2 million less than what Michael Cuddyer will make next season or $100 million less than what teams will throw at Justin Upton this offseason.  If Sandy Alderson is serious about building a sustainable winner with a long window to contend, Gomez is the type of player he needs to target.

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If we’re to believe Cuddyer has been overused — and given his balky knee, we should — then corner outfield is the position to target.  While Gomez is a center fielder by trade, and a good one, he can move to left field for a contending team.

With Cuddyer hobbled, the Mets have been forced to trot out Kirk Nieuwenhuis, which exposes the weakness of the bench. Hopefully rest will get Cuddyer back on the field, but with Gomez in the fold Cuddyer could be used as a spot starter in the outfield and first base, or as a pinch hitter with pop — another weakness of the team. Gomez would also provide insurance for Juan Lagares and his injured elbow in center field both this year and next.

Not only is Carlos Gomez an immediate power and speed upgrade, but he’s already played in New York. He would return to town as a veteran who plays with an edge. His post-home run bat-flipping skills alone would add a new dimension to the offense. This team could use some attitude to go along with the talent upgrade.

A Carlos Gomez acquisition does not come without some downside. His affordable contract means he will cost more in prospects. Milwaukee would likely start by asking for one of the Mets’ premier young arms. Could the Mets negotiate them down to minor league arm with potential to pair with someone like Brandon Nimmo and another high-upside prospect?

Gomez has also been dinged up this year, nursing a groin issue which seems to have depressed his counting stats a bit. Then again, it could be the less-than-perfect health that means a palatable deal can be made.

The Mets can afford Carlos Gomez and they need him. He’s not just a rental if the Mets don’t want him to be, so he’s worth the cost in prospects. Do the Mets have the will do deal someone like Nimmo along with other promising prospects? The Mets won’t be the only team pursuing Gomez at the deadline. Analyzing these potential moves does not occur in a vacuum.  Just don’t wake me up on August 1 to tell me Aramis Ramirez is a Met.