Can the New York Mets rebuild their rotation exclusively through free agency? It’s a tall order. It’s not even how they managed to piece together last year’s planned starting five.
The Mets, with endless dollars to help the front office, still had to go out and trade for Chris Bassitt to round things out. The same may need to happen again this offseason. Unfortunately, there aren’t nearly as many players in the same position as Bassitt.
There could be a team that decides to flip the script and sell this winter. Things like an ownership change can drastically change the direction of a franchise. There is, however, one team out there that nobody expects to spend a lot and actually has some pieces they could unload, specifically one player. It’s from them I’m making the first major Mets trade prediction.
Prediction: The first major Mets trade of the offseason will land them Shane Bieber from the Guardians
Shane Bieber is projected to make $10.7 million in arbitration next year. Will the Cleveland Guardians pay up? They should. They might not.
Bieber’s contracts are only going to increase each season. Striking now, while he has two full seasons of control, can drastically help them continue to win games. It’s not a necessity to trade him now like when they dealt Francisco Lindor with one final year left. However, the haul they get now would far outweigh the return at the trade deadline or next offseason.
The Mets would have to go with a different approach in terms of adding Bieber via trade with Cleveland. They don’t have two major league players like Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez to unload. The Guardians probably would want at least one of Tylor Megill or David Peterson to at least replace Bieber on the roster. From there, we’d have to explore different combinations of Mets prospects.
Even though the Guardians do have two ex-Mets playing up the middle, Ronny Mauricio could make sense for them. Rosario’s arbitration projection is almost as high as Bieber. He’s a candidate to get dealt elsewhere. This clears a path for Mauricio to start in the major leagues whenever deemed ready.
Many of the other usual suspects could get involved in the trade. This could be the deal where the Mets finally deal Mark Vientos. Among the best of the Mets prospects, the only other one they should have all that much interest in parting with in a deal for Bieber might be recently drafted catcher Kevin Parada. With Francisco Alvarez, Parada becomes expendable.
The Mets will probably only have one blockbuster trade to make this offseason. If this prediction is correct and the Mets do add Bieber, an immediate extension would make sense, too. Eventually, this ball club needs to find some stability in the rotation. Bieber, now only 27, can bring that to the orange and blue.