The New York Mets made some curious decisions with their 40-man roster late last week in preparation for the Rule 5 Draft. They did the obvious maneuvers, protecting high-profile prospects such as Mark Vientos and Ronny Mauricio as well as a few others.
Left off from rising up to the 40-man roster was Carlos Cortes. The multi-positional prospect who has been on the rise was never thought of as a future star in the big leagues. Continually proving himself in a very Jeff McNeil-like way, he became a guy to glue your eyes to.
However, with Cortes now set to become available in the Rule 5 Draft this December, there’s a chance the Mets lose him. Or possibly, the team already has plans to trade him away.
Mets prospect Carlos Cortes is a prime trade candidate right now
Cortes isn’t going to bring the Mets their next ace, a star outfielder, or a shutdown reliever. No. He’s not that kind of trade candidate.
Instead, I view Cortes as someone the Mets could ship out of town sooner than later as part of a package.
Certainly intriguing because of how flexible he has been in the field, he’s coming off a .257/.332/.487 season with 14 home runs in Double-A. Now 24, he’s a little older than many players at the stage he’s at but we can also blame the pandemic a bit for this. Cortes would have spent his 2020 at that level but the shutdown of minor league baseball (and the entire world) put things on hold for him.
Previously a second baseman back in 2019 when he first began to make some waves, Cortes spent the 2021 season in left field, right field, and taking on the DH role. With the Mets already giving Vientos and Brett Baty opportunities in left field, it’s becoming a number’s game with Cortes. He’s not going to usurp innings away from either of them.
The Mets might not be in such desperation to trade Cortes because of what the Rule 5 Draft means. Players taken there must remain on the major league club’s 26-man roster for the entire year or placed on outright waivers to be removed. The orange and blue may have enough faith that nobody else trusts Cortes is ready for such a big role in the majors quite yet—thus giving them reason to not protect him.
The upcoming expiration of the CBA throws a wrench in everyone’s offseason plans as we don’t know for sure how long we’ll hit the pause button. This winter has already had some early action with several players already signing with new teams (hello, Noah Syndergaard) and a couple of trades taking place.
If the Mets do make a deal before the batteries on the CBA clock die, expect Cortes to be one of the names involved. Another team with an available 40-man roster spot might find him enticing enough to add. Even if it’s simply to acquire a different minor leaguer in exchange, the front office needs to consider this.
It would be a shame to lose Cortes for nothing at all.