In a recent story published by the NY Post (subscription required), Joel Sherman takes a look at the MLB offseason and has some plans for what the New York Mets and Los Angeles Angels should do. For the Mets, it’s all about moving forward. He has a different plan in mind for the Angels. He suggests they go into rebuild mode if they’re not able to keep Shohei Ohtani.
A conclusion he comes to is yet another trade involving these two clubs; something we saw happen twice midseason. Who’s Sherman sending where?
What do like and what to dislike about this mock Mets trade
The least recognizable name involved in this two-for-two swap is Patrick Sandoval. Let’s get to him in a moment.
Mets fans already know Brandon Drury from his brief stint with the team in 2021. Many believed he could be useful again in 2022, especially at the trade deadline. He’d be a perceived replacement for Baty at third base while roving around the field as much if not more than Jeff McNeil. He’s coming off of a year featuring 26 home runs in only 523 plate appearances. He showed his numbers from the previous year were no fluke.
The downside to adding Drury is he is signed for only one more season. The Mets’ known and expected approach this offseason is to look beyond just the 2024 campaign. This seems to make the inclusion of Drury in the deal far less enticing.
Sandoval is much different. He pitches next season at age 27 and won’t reach free agency until after the 2026 campaign. He’s a long-term rotation option for the Mets who broke out in the 2022 season by going 6-9 with a 2.91 ERA in 27 big league starts. Last year wasn’t nearly as good with Sandoval going 7-13 with a 4.11 ERA in 28 appearances.
Much of this trade feels like Baty for Sandoval. Each is a “sell low” candidate their respective teams could flip for a different need. The addition of Drury, while nice, doesn’t do much. Jose Butto, while possibly a promising reliever, is just that: a possibility.
The Mets should be on the prowl for a young starter like Sandoval whose potential might not have been reached and could be a longer fixture in the rotation. If Baty is the cost, the Mets need to be sure of him.
So far we’ve seen the Steve Cohen regime avoid trading away its most prized youthful pieces. This would go against the grain. It does seem like as risky of a move for both organizations. What if Baty never becomes anything for the Angels? Furthermore, what if Sandoval is just another back-of-the-rotation arm who happened to have one really good year?
As tempting as it may be, Sandoval doesn’t quite move the needle enough and the shortness of Drury’s contract makes him an ill-fit. As Zach Rotman wrote over at Halo Hangout analyzing from an Angels' perspective, the inclusion of Sandoval should have the Angels hesitant especially when the second piece is only Butto. It looks like the two teams would have to work out some of the knots before this trade happens.