With the excess starting pitching at the big league level and the need to find some offense due to injury and underperformance, the Mets may have had an opportunity to clear the logjam in a deal with the Dodgers.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes the Mets may have been able to trade Gee for 3B Juan Uribe last month. However, they passed on the deal because they believed David Wright was close to returning at the time, and were comfortable with using Daniel Murphy there to buy them time for Wright to come back.
Instead, the Dodgers traded Uribe to the Braves.
Assuming the Mets took on all of Uribe’s remaining contract – which expires after this season – the Mets would’ve been on the hook for about another $800,000 for Uribe, which is more or less a wash in baseball terms.
He’s playing better with Atlanta, but he wasn’t off to a great start with Los Angeles. Perhaps that could be attributed to the situation of having so many infielders and having instability on a daily basis, which would certainly explain his underperformance there this season. But he’s a static player at this point in his career, so if Wright were to come back, they’d have no place to put him on the infield.
Of course, it remains to be seen if Wright actually returns, but the Dodgers have better infielders they could deal than Uribe – he was the logical guy for them to move anyway.
The Dodgers still have extra infielders. Currently, Justin Turner, and Alex Guerrero are all splitting time at third base, and while they have combined to be very productive, it’s not ideal to spend eight percent of the active roster on one position, particularly with the team needing more starting pitching.
In addition, they’ve signed infielder Hector Olivera, and top prospect Corey Seager is getting closer to the big leagues as well.
That might mean the Dodgers could still trade from their infield surplus to acquire starting pitching.
The most appealing of Friedman’s surplus (among realistic targets) is obviously Guerrero. He’s not particularly young, but he played for a long time in Cuba before defecting and joining the Dodgers as a free agent in 2013. He has shown good power so far this season although he hasn’t walked very much.
His glove seems to be that of a utility infielder: he can play second, shortstop or third, although has yet to play short in the big leagues. He did play a little bit there last season and has experience playing there in Cuba. He’s probably best suited at second base – he’s relatively raw at third and hasn’t played more than seven games at shortstop since 2010. He is owed $21.5 million through 2017 and can opt out of his deal if traded, but if he stays he will only be arbitration eligible when that contract expires and can be controlled through 2021.
However, he will be about 32 when he becomes arbitration eligible, which makes the situation a little risky for any interested party.