Mets want to add a versatile bat in trade in the event David Wright returns

Ben Zobrist slice


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Still believing David Wright will eventually return, the Mets would like to add a versatile bat via trade who can shift and start at another position when Wright returns.

It’s still not clear if Wright will play again this season, but according to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, the team doesn’t want to be, “boxed in” at third base if Wright gets back on the field.

As such, Rubin says it’s unlikely the Mets will consider Brewers 3B Aramis Ramirez. The Mets believe Ramirez’s skills are diminishing anyway and don’t currently view him as an upgrade to what they have.

It’s also worth mentioning Ramirez is retiring at the end of the year is owed a large portion of his $14 million salary for 2015, which makes it very difficult for the club to give up anything of value for him anyway.

Once again, the best fit among all the possible players who could be available this summer remainsA’s utility player Ben Zobrist. Dodgers infielder Alex Guerrero fits this profile to a lesser extent, but would also be a very interesting player for the Mets to acquire.

There are multiple reports the club is interested in Zobrist after being interested in him over the winter. He can start at three or four positions on most teams (including the Mets right now), as he can play second base, shortstop, and the two corner outfield spots. He has struggled this year thanks in part to undergoing minor knee surgery in late April, but its a good bet the 34-year-old former All-Star will start to play like the player who has averaged 5.2 WAR per year over the last three years.

This past weekend, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports said the Mets feel they could be outbid by other teams who are willing to deal more in trade. Already, in addition to the Mets, the Yankees, Nationals and Cubs have reported interest in acquiring Zobrist.

Several sources indicated over the weekend the team was still very much in the window shopping phase for roster help, and not particularly active on anyone in particular just yet. It’s possible the Mets need to find a taker for one of their extra starting pitchers before making a deal for the bat or bats they need. Andy Martino of the Daily News recently said the Mets are reportedly trying to move both Dillon Gee and Jon Niese, which would certainly support that notion.

As for Wright, Rubin said there is nothing new on the condition of his back, as Dr. Watkins is away from his office in Los Angeles this week and the two couldn’t meet for their weekly progress update.

Mets might have been able to trade Dillon Gee for Juan Uribe, but passed

Juan Uribe


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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.

Alex GuerreroThe 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.

Mets looking to trade second tier pitching, but no catchers right now

Gee Niese Montero


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The Mets have shown a reluctance to deal from their wealth of pitching prospects, specifically their top shelf crop including Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz.

But as the need for offense has only grown in recent weeks, and the surpluses among their starting pitchers have only grown in quantity and extended awkwardness, the Mets may be willing to deal at least from their second-tier of pitchers.

On Friday, Andy Martino of the Daily News reported the Mets are attempting to trade both Jon Niese and Dillon Gee, which if successful would afford some space in the rotation for Steven Matz who, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post, could be promoted by the All-Star break.

In addition, the Mets currently view Rafael Montero as a trade chip, according to Puma, although his shoulder injury handicaps their ability to extract any value in him at the present time.

One area the Mets are not currently interested in dealing from is their catching surplus. While Kevin Plawecki will likely be optioned back to Triple-A when Travis d’Arnaud returns, the Mets view Plawecki as valuable insurance at the position for the time being, and are not looking to move him this summer, according to Puma.

As for potential offensive help, the Mets remain interested in Ben Zobrist, and could be considering one of Aramis Ramirez or Jean Segura, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Rosenthal said the Mets feel they will eventually be outbid for Zobrist, as other teams are willing to give up more for him than they are, and view Ramirez – who is retiring at the end of the year – and less expensive in terms of the cost in trade despite having the highest salary of the three.

Based on some of the things I heard over the weekend, I’m wondering if the Mets are focusing on moving Niese and/or Gee as a precursor to acquiring offense, or would like to get the offense they desire in a trade for one or both of the starting pitchers. And, as much as Zobrist is a fit for the Mets, it’s not really clear how involved they’re going to get for him in the end, which could be partially due to his perceived inflated value on the trade market this summer.

But, if that’s the case, it could be difficult for the Mets to get what they need in the time they need it.

The problems the Mets have with Niese, Gee and Montero are very apparent. Niese has underperformed and comes with some scary medicals in his arm, even though he and the team have said he feels fine. Gee is now in the bullpen, has hardly pitched in the last five weeks, and is earning $5.3 million in arbitration this year with another year to go before free agency, all of which hurts his value in trade. And, as Puma said, Montero has a shoulder injury and is struggling to get back, so he is next to impossible to move at the present time.

The Mets are trying to trade Jon Niese and Dillon Gee

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Rich MacLeodAfter weeks, and in some cases months, of speculation, word around Major League Baseball is that the Mets are “really ramping” up their efforts to trade both Jon Niese and Dillon Gee, per Andy Martino.

“If I’m a GM, I’m starting by asking for Matz or Syndergaard, to see how desperate Sandy is,” a rival executive recently told Martino.

With Daniel Murphy being place on the disabled list on Friday, the need for the Mets to acquire offense has become the forefront of their needs now more than ever. Kristie Ackert recently reported that Aramis Ramirez and Ben Zobrist are two infielders that the Mets have shown interest in.

Dillon Gee (4.46 ERA) has been the subject of trade rumors for months, and has been jerked around from starting rotation to the bullpen and back again, all while just returning off of the disabled list this past week.

Jon Niese (4.42 ERA) got off to a strong start this season but has pitched woefully of late, posting a 6.60 ERA in his last five starts, and allowing four or more earned runs in the last four straight. Niese is owed $9M in 2016 and has a $10M option (with a $500,000 buyout) in 2017, while being paid whatever he is still owed of the $7M he’s making this season.

It has yet to be seen if the Mets would try to package Gee and Niese together, what they’d be looking to get in return and if there are even any takers out there, but this will certainly be a situation to keep an eye on in the coming days and possibly weeks.

Mets still hopeful of trading Dillon Gee, rotation job in jeopardy

Dillon Gee slice


Despite Dillon Gee winning the fifth starter job out of Spring Training, the Mets are still entertaining their options for not only his spot in the rotation, but his roster spot in general.

Michael BaronOn Friday, Terry Collins said the Mets demoted RHP Rafael Montero to the minor leagues to not only balance the roster better in the short-term, but to reinsert him back into the starting rotation with the intent of promoting him for a start on April 28 in Miami.

For now, Montero is being called a sixth starter during the next turn in the rotation, but the Mets are unlikely to proceed with a sixth starter beyond that point, although they have not said what the next step will be.

Now, that could mean one of two things for Gee.

If Gee doesn’t pitch well in his next two or three starts, he could go to the bullpen and be replaced by Montero.

Or, as Andy Martino reported in today’s Daily News, perhaps the team will work out a trade for Gee in the near-term.

“The Mets remain hopeful of finding a trade match for Gee and his $5.3 million salary, which they were unable to do last winter,” Martino explains.

Of course, if the Mets are truly intent on moving Gee, he presumably needs to pitch well anyway during this time to attract potential suitors.

Whether the Mets can or cannot trade Gee, Martino says eventually the Mets intend to replace Gee in the rotation. Montero will get the first rotation audition ahead of Noah Syndergaard or Steven Matz if a need ultimately arises.

Unfortunately for Gee, this doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Eventually, the Mets need to make room for one of their young starters, and considering Gee’s already been considered for the bullpen, it never seemed like he had a stable job in the rotation. Of course, as it’s been discussed before, if Gee is here and in the bullpen, there’s no evidence to suggest he can thrive there either. He had a difficult time adjusting to a bullpen role before Zack Wheeler went down with the injury.

His situation has been weird and awkward for Gee from the moment he parked his car at Tradition Field two months ago. He’s gone in and out of the bullpen, his ability has been questioned as a reliever, he’s constantly being asked about trade rumors. It just doesn’t end for him. Yet, he’s acted so professionally throughout the process, and that’s commendable.

Ultimately, the uncertainty and the lack of trust has to be frustrating for Gee, and despite how he’s handled this publicly, I could understand if it’s weighing on him. As such, in the end, the Mets might get the most out of him if they ultimately find a new home for him, which is sad for me to say.

Gee is off to a sluggish start this season. He’s 0-1 with a 7.59 ERA in 10 2/3 innings over two starts, having allowed 13 hits – three of which are home runs – and nine runs.