The Mets could be buyers in late-July once again
The New York Mets might be a long shot in the field, but they have thrown their hat in the ring for Jonathan Lucroy. Kristie Ackert of New York Daily News reported Sunday night that the Mets had spoken with the Milwaukee Brewers about the 30-year old backstop.
Potentially adding fuel to the fire was the Mets’ series victory over Miami at Marlins Park over the weekend. A positive result has followed with rumors that New York could once again be a buyer before the August 1 trade deadline.
As expected, there are other teams in the mix for Lucroy’s services, with Cleveland and Texas among them. The two-time All-Star suffered an injury plagued 2015 in which he set career lows, but has bounced back just fine in 2016. Entering the week, Lucroy is hitting .301 with 13 homers and 50 RBIs. His slugging percentage and OPS are at their highest levels since 2012.
So what’s the deal? It’s evident that current Mets starter Travis d’Arnaud is going to be involved in some fashion if the Mets acquire Lucroy. The Brewers turned down a straight up swap of catchers, which will force Sandy Alderson and company to get creative. The Mets are also said to have interest in relievers Will Smith and Jeremy Jeffress. If one of those guys is involved then the price obviously escalates even more.
However, it’s been known that the Mets simply don’t have as much to offer as other teams. Plus, Amed Rosario is as close to untouchable in any deal as you can get. The Mets may be almost as reluctant to part with Dominic Smith. So what does that leave if both of those names are off the table?
While improbable, the Mets may just get lucky if they put the right pieces together in exchange for Lucroy and either Smith or Jeffress. In the unlikely event it does happen, here’s what the proposed cost could entail sans Rosario and Smith…
Though d’Arnaud is three years younger than Lucroy, the injury concerns have piled up over the years. It stands to reason that d’Arnaud hasn’t really been able to show his full potential, so is it fair to expect the Brewers to commit to him being the main piece of a deal when he hasn’t been able to stay on the field consistently? That’s where the rest of the deal has to come into play to at least give the Mets a viable chance in this race.
So what are the other names potentially in play? One that’s a possibility is Gavin Cecchini. The shortstop has worked on his offense and improved it to the point where he isn’t far away from the majors. The issue is Cecchini’s path to playing time is blocked by veterans currently. Cecchini was a first round pick in 2012 and has made steady progress through the ranks. He’s now at Triple-A Las Vegas where he is batting .319 with an .842 OPS, five homers, and 40 RBI.
Could a pitcher who’s in the higher levels of the minors be an attractive option? At that point you look at Robert Gsellman or Gabriel Ynoa. Perhaps Seth Lugo could be an option as well. If Ynoa isn’t going to get a shot at the fifth starter’s role, then maybe he can be part of a proposed haul. Gsellman was recently promoted to Las Vegas where he struggled in his first three starts before pitching seven innings and allowing two runs in his first Triple-A win at Omaha. Lugo has done well in a smaller sample size with New York as a long reliever, allowing one run in 7.1 innings.
Thinking bigger, could Brandon Nimmo be a part of a trade? Nimmo had a brief spell with the Mets before being sent back to Las Vegas. The 23-year-old is somebody the Mets would obviously rather hold onto, but the reality is if they’re more intent on keeping Smith and Rosario then Nimmo may wind up being needed as part of a package that can compete with the other teams in the running.
All of this is speculation and the winds are going to change seemingly by the hour, but the weekend result may have re-ignited talks that the Mets could at least try to swing for the fences in 2016 and beat the odds stacked against them even though the odds are lower that they will. I still maintain the Mets will focus more on bullpen help.