Jose Berrios could give the Mets a stellar 1-2 tandem
The Minnesota Twins have given early indications that they’re not looking to move players that have control beyond this season in an attempt to compete next year.
I don’t buy it.
As the trade deadline nears, the Twins have to face the reality that with the emergence of the White Sox as a top tier team, the replenished farm system of the Tigers and the overall talent in the American League, the window is closing rapidly to compete with this roster. Nelson Cruz is 41 and may be dealt at the deadline, Josh Donaldson is 35 years old and has struggled with injuries and Byron Buxton, who broke out in the beginning of the season hasn’t been able to escape his own injury history.
Teams across the league are going to be saying a lot of things, but I think the Mets could present the Twins with an opportunity to get younger and shed some money, albeit a relatively small amount ($6M owed to Berrios this year), before Berrios hits his arbitration years. And while Berrios is the player the Mets should be after, don’t undermine the fact that the Mets could tempt the Twins with an opportunity to shed the massive contract owed to Donaldson if they packaged him in a deal with the right hander.
The point is, the Twins would be unwise to hold onto Berrios when they could add to their farm system and attempt to properly build a young, cost-controlled team that could compete in a few years.
For the Mets, they’d be getting a budding arm with the potential to break out in a big way. An all star in 2018 & 2019, Berrios has shown flashes of brilliance with a three pitch mix that includes a big curveball that he throws 30% of the time. Although he’s averaged nine strikeouts per nine innings, Berrios struck out 200+ batters in 2018 and followed that up with 195 whiffs in 2019. While his career 4.09 ERA doesn’t pop out on the stat sheet, the potential is there for Berrios to be a highly impactful compliment to Jacob deGrom in the rotation. What’s more is that Berrios is arbitration eligible in both 2022 and 2023, which again, gives the Mets rotation stability that they’re in desperate need of heading into next season.
Unlike Gray or Gibson, Berrios is going to cost the Mets a lot in terms of prospects, but the Mets could lessen the value if they were willing to take on Donaldson’s contract as previously mentioned. With the availability to take on money with the deep pockets of Steve Cohen, the front office in Flushing could try to tempt Minnesota with the financial liberty of Donaldson’s contract, while getting Berrios for less than two top ten prospects. The question becomes if the Mets are willing to give up the likes of Ronny Mauricio, who’s future in Queens looks murky, for two and a half seasons of control of Berrios.
With the rotation needing a boost in a major way this season and beyond, Berrios is worth the extra push the Mets would need to make to obtain him.