By Friday, July 30th at 4 p.m. ET, the New York Mets front office must make a decision. The team remains in first place in the National League East but needs reinforcements to maintain the spot through October.
New York could use help behind Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman, and Taijuan Walker in the starting rotation. More importantly, the Mets need a bat to help one of the worst offenses in the league in 2021.
Already, they have reportedly shown interest in third baseman Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs, who very well may be dealt by the end of the month. Bryant, who is hitting for a .271 batting average and 16 home runs entering the All-Star break certainly would provide that boost.
However, in order to acquire such a talent, the Mets need to give something up in return. Of course, the Mets won’t deal one of their prized prospects, such as Brett Baty or Francisco Alvarez. Then again, the reality is a sacrifice will need to be made.
Recently, Ronny Mauricio has been considered arguably the Mets best prospect. Nevertheless, he may be the best option to be the headliner in a deal for Bryant.
Who is the Mets best prospect to trade?
Now, an argument can be made for right-handed pitcher J.T. Ginn being the best prospect to include in a deal. According to MLB.com, Ginn is the team’s sixth-ranked prospect, with the upside of a mid-rotation starter. Except, there is no such thing as too many pitchers, even with this year’s first-round pick Kumar Rocker now in the system.
Rather, the Mets could look to trade away a bat in exchange for Bryant’s. And that is where Mauricio comes into play.
Why Mets could trade Mauricio
Now, MLB.com lists the Dominican native as the Mets second-best prospect behind Alvarez. A 6’3” and 166-pound shortstop, Mauricio is a phenomenal athlete with a glove that can make him an excellent defender, even if he needs to move to the hot corner.
At the same time, Mauricio’s bat is where questions still lie. A switch-hitter, Mauricio has yet to unlock the power in his swing. Over 228 games in the minors, he only has 16 home runs to his name.
There is also the concern as to whether or not his swing will be ready to make an impact by his MLB ETA, which is listed as 2022. After all, on the year he is only hitting for a .234 batting average, and a concerning .274 on-base percentage.
Nonetheless, the potential is there. At only 20-years-old, Mauricio has the upside to be the main piece in a deal for Bryant. And one that the Cubs may not be able to turn down.
What Mauricio offers the Cubs
There are many reasons why the Cubs appear to be sellers at the deadline. After a strong start to the year, they have fallen apart, and have even begun trading their players, starting with sending Joc Pederson to the Atlanta Braves. They also are set to rebuild after 2021, given Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, and many others are free agents following the season.
With Baez due to hit the market, the Cubs will need a replacement at shortstop. In their farm system, they have three shortstops in their top ten prospects, but none are due to debut until 2024.
In acquiring Mauricio, the Cubs would immediately have their new shortstop for 2022 and beyond. The team would also avoid giving Baez a new deal, which may be the smart move given his struggles in 2021.
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At the end of the day, the Mets should avoid trading of their top prospects at the trade deadline. On the other hand, if the Mets are serious about contending and want Kris Bryant without having to give up a handful of players, Mauricio may make the most sense.