An offseason Mets-Astros trade to make as a Juan Soto backup plan

Getting the Astros to sell one of their players is the best Juan Soto backup plan for the Mets this offseason.
Minnesota Twins v Houston Astros
Minnesota Twins v Houston Astros / Brace Hemmelgarn/GettyImages

New York Mets fans got to see the next superstar outfielder to call Citi Field home visit this week when Juan Soto and the New York Yankees came in for two. At least this is what many of us are hoping for.

We’ve come to learn even with Steve Cohen greenlighting big free agent signings, not all will happen. The Mets need a backup plan. Coincidentally, another team with an option for the Mets is visiting Queens this weekend.

Houston Astros outfielder Kyle Tucker hasn’t played since June 3, but that shouldn’t stop us from thinking about him next year in right field for the Mets. Upon his placement on the injured list, Tucker was batting .266/.395/.584 with 19 home runs and 40 RBI in 262 plate appearances. Sometimes an overlooked star in MLB, a trade for him in the offseason should be on the table for the Mets this winter if the Astros are willing to sell.

What would a Mets-Astros trade for Kyle Tucker look like?

Tucker is a free agent after 2025 so there is some thought he could end up traded by Houston. They’ve let many free agents walk rather than trade them mostly because they’ve remained in contention year after year. A reset for a season could make some sense for them and allow the club to replace Tucker.

Diving back into David Stearns’ past, this trade would try to replicate the immediate success of the Milwaukee Brewers-Miami Marlins trade that sent Christian Yelich to the former. A trade for Tucker would require an extension as well, just as the Brewers did with Yelich. For some added intrigue, Stearns was with the Astros when Tucker was drafted back in 2015.

So what’s the trade? Acknowledging the Mets will successfully extend Tucker here’s what you send to Houston to rent then pay their star outfielder:

Mets Astros Trade 2

The inclusion of Drew Gilbert is mandatory if only because he becomes the most expendable with the addition of Tucker. Jett Williams, Christian Scott, Ryan Clifford, and Luisangel Acuna play other positions than Tucker. With Brandon Nimmo in left field and Tucker in right field, the only place for Gilbert to grow is in center field and that doesn’t seem like the best spot for him.

Would the Astros want to take Gilbert back? There isn’t a reason why they wouldn’t regardless of how unusual it would be.

The Astros get Texas native Brett Baty as a possible choice for third base if Alex Bregman leaves. With the way Mark Vientos has played, Baty’s time in Flushing feels over already. His defensive growth has been admirable. However, the bat remains at the Four-A level. We should fully expect the Mets to look to trade him this offseason.

The inclusion of Blade Tidwell might be what has some fans scoffing. The club’s second round pick from 2022 is arguably the best pitching prospect they have after Christian Scott. As valuable as he can be for the Mets as soon as next year, the quick rise of Brandon Sproat makes it a little easier to accept losing Tidwell for a superstar like Tucker.

Finally, there’s any catching prospect the Astros want. Kevin Parada. Yovanny Rodriguez. Ronald Hernandez. Have at it! None of the catching prospects are nearly as important now with the way Francisco Alvarez has developed beyond just being a power hitter. Don’t sell them for the sake of selling. When it can help you complete a trade that makes your major league club and the overall organization better, you don’t think twice.

Signing Soto is the easiest direction for the Mets to go because it only involves money. Somewhere up his sleeve, Stearns has a big trade to make. If there’s one major player to pursue, Tucker seems worth it even at a higher price than the trade above.