The Mets need to shed some money to be able to make the free-agent signings that are necessary to be serious World Series contenders. There are two trades that the Mets should consider that would unload salary and allow them to sign the necessary free agents. Both trades are more of salary dumps than trades to improve the farm team or the major league roster.
Mets trade Wilson Ramos to the Rangers for Emmanuel Chase.
Wilson Ramos was very good for the Mets in 2019 slashing .288/.327/.437/.727. However, Ramos is not a good defender by any stretch. He only caught 15% of would-be base stealers, which is below the 26% league average. He was also 97th in framing runs with -4.7, which is the number of runs saved from framing pitches.
In addition, Ramos hits way too many ground balls. For a guy who is a so strong as Ramos is, he only hit 14 home runs in 2019. This was mainly because of his 62.4% ground ball rate, which was a career-high. Just to put that into perspective, Ramos had 136 hits in 2019 and 103 of them were singles.
Keep in mind that Ramos has never really been able to stay healthy and play a full season. He did achieve that in 2019 but what are the odds he does that in 2020?
The Mets would be trading Ramos who is owed $9.5M in 2019 and obtaining Emmanuel Chase in return who is the 29th prospect in the Rangers system. He is a reliever that throws in the upper 90s and at times has an overpowering power slider. He needs to work on his command, but he did have a 2.31 ERA over 23.1 innings in the majors this season.
Since this is essentially a salary dump the Mets cannot get back any type of significant piece. However, Chase is enough of a lottery ticket to give up for an established catcher that the Rangers so desperately need. Another piece to this is that since Ramos is a rental and the Rangers could trade him at the deadline and possibly get more back for him than Chase.
Mets trade Jed Lowrie to the Angels for a minor league player
This is more of a salary dump than the Ramos trade. Jed Lowrie played in nine games in 2019 and not one in the field after being hurt for most of the season. He did not record a hit in 7 at-bats in 2019 and is owed $10M against the luxury tax in 2020. With the other improvements the Mets need to make, they cannot be handcuffed by Lowrie and his money.
Lowrie if healthy could be a good piece for the team even if he is a bench player used to pinch-hit and spell the younger guys but the money that is tied to him make him more valuable to the team in a trade if the Angels are willing to take most if not all of the money.
The Mets would not get much back from the Angels, but Joe Maddon has an affinity for veteran players and Lowrie fits that bill. He could slide into third base for the Angels or he can be a super-utility. Like Ramos, he is a rental so the Angel could sell him at the deadline to a team that needs a bench bat and get back more than they gave up for him.
By getting a minor league player back for Lowrie it gives the Mets another body in the minor leagues that could contribute if need be. Ideally, that player would be a pitcher or a center fielder but any minor league player would help. This would help the team if injuries occur but at the end of the day, this is just a salary dump so the Mets can sign the necessary free agents and not be handcuffed by dead money.