A much better yet similar trade for the Mets to pursue

New York Mets v San Francisco Giants, Mets
New York Mets v San Francisco Giants, Mets / Lachlan Cunningham/GettyImages

The New York Mets have been involved in some crazy trade rumors with the San Diego Padres lately. The rumors are centered around the Mets sending Dominic Smith to San Diego and the Mets receiving Chris Paddack, Eric Hosmer, and Emilio Pagan in return. It’s unfathomable to me that the Mets entertained this/completed this trade.

Here is a trade the Mets should pursue that is similar and makes so much more sense.

The Cincinnati Reds sold the farm this offseason, going into the type of full rebuild that was supposed to be avoided with the new CBA. They were in a great position to make additions to their team and contend, but they have the cheapest owner in baseball in Bob Castellini. He needs to go.

But the Mets can take advantage of this. They have three starting pitchers that the Mets should ask about: their ace, Luis Castillo, a middle of the rotation guy with upside in Tyler Mahle, and a backend starter who eats innings in Mike Minor.

Castillo has been involved in trade rumors for what feels like forever. His career 3.72 ERA and premium strikeout stuff is attractive, even though it comes with some walks (3.3 career BB/9). Tyler Mahle is an underrated starter. He had a couple of rough years at the beginning of his career, but over the last two seasons, he has an ERA of 3.72 and he’s got some swing-and-miss stuff with 10.7 K/9. Mike Minor is an innings eater in the back of the rotation, but he can be a very effective pitcher. His ERA is high over the last two seasons at 5.18, but he’s run into some bad luck, proven by his FIP being almost a run lower 4.38. If he can pitch closer to his FIP, he’d be a great 5th starter.

The Mets have three options here that are available depending on how much they want to give up. They can also take the contract of Mike Moustakas to offset the cost.

“Moose” is entering the third season of his four-year, $64 million contract with the Reds that also includes a team option for 2024 and some incentives. Moustakas can play every infield position except shortstop, and he’s got plenty of power. He would likely play third base and Eduardo Escobar would slide to second.

Moose was hurt for a large portion of last season, but in 62 games, he hit 12 doubles, six homers, and drove in 22 runs. Over a full season, that’s on pace for 18-20 homers and 30-35 doubles. Keep in mind, he’d likely be our seven or eight hitter.

Let’s compare this to what the Mets are rumored to get from the Padres.

Chris Paddack hasn’t lived up to the hype he had as a prospect a few years ago. He had a good rookie season, but in the two seasons since, his ERA is 4.95 and he’s given up 29 homers in 167.1 innings. That’s an ERA+ of 81, which is 19% below average. His Baseball Savant page is one of the ugliest I've seen. Sure he’s only 26 and has good control (1.8 BB/9), but I’d much rather have any of the Reds pitchers.

Eric Hosmer is an even bigger problem. He’s 31, can’t play anywhere but first base, which is obviously manned by Pete Alonso, and he simply doesn’t hit. Last year he hit .269/.337/.395/.732 with just 12 homers. He is a ground ball machine, with 55.5% of his contact going on the ground. His average launch angle was just three degrees in 2021, which is awful. The high ground ball rate combined with lack of speed means he hits into a ton of double plays. He’s not worth that big contract, even as a bench player and with the Padres throwing in some cash. I’d much rather have Dom Smith.

Emilio Pagan is an interesting throw-in, but he’s not enough to make this deal doable. He throws hard and doesn’t walk anyone, but he also gives up a ton of hard contact (15th percentile in average exit velo, 7th percentile in hard hit rate, and 1st percentile in barrel rate). This doesn’t move the needle for me at all.

It is incomprehensible to me that the Mets even engaged in these trade talks with San Diego.

I’d much rather make a deal with the Reds. Aim for Castillo or Mahle and take the Moustakas contract to offset the cost. They have Joey Votto playing first base, so they won’t want Dom Smith, but maybe they’ll be interested in Jeff McNeil in return.

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