With the recent news that the New York Mets and Jason Bay have reached an early termination agreement (via ESPN), it has become clear that general manager Sandy Alderson is not averse to shipping big-name players out of New York.
While Bay's departure can be looked at as addition by subtraction due to his unsightly statistics and overall disappointing experience with the team, Alderson will have the opportunity to bolster his roster the old-fashioned way this offseason—in the form of trades.
The Mets are situated in the middle of an awkward, unconventional rebuilding period in which there are a select group of prized possessions surrounded by expendable talent. Alderson will likely have some choices to make when the winter meetings begin, meaning some quality players could be leaving Flushing Meadows before pitchers and catchers report.
That being said, here are four guys whose names may be the topic of trade conversations over these next few months.
R.A. Dickey's 2012 resume is one of the most impressive that any New York Mets pitcher has ever compiled over the course of a season. His 233.2 innings pitched and 230 strikeouts were good for tops in the National League, and his 2.73 ERA was bettered by only Los Angeles Dodgers' ace Clayton Kershaw.
As one of the front-runners for the National League Cy Young Award, Dickey's trade value is at an all-time high. Despite his age and offseason abdominal surgery, the Mets would likely make out with a nice crop of prospects due to the longevity of knuckleballers past.
The dangers of inking Dickey to a long-term deal at the age of 38 are obvious, so the ever-unpredictable Alderson could decide to trade the fan-favorite. However, teams around the league don't appear to be too worried about his age, as the New York Daily News' Andy Martino reported that interest around the league is high.
WFAN's Evan Roberts tweeted that he had "wondered aloud" on his show as to whether a Dickey for Kansas City Royals' outfielder Alex Gordon could be a possibility. With Bay gone, the outfielder would be a smart acquisition for the Mets given his relatively young age and slightly above-average numbers.
New York Mets golden boy David Wright just had his option picked up by the team for the 2013 season, but it seems as though negotiations in regards to a long-term deal aren't going swimmingly. Alderson continues to reiterate that re-signing Wright to a long-term deal is one of his top priorities this offseason, but could the right proposal convince the general manager to trade the face of the franchise?
Much more so than Dickey, the Mets could use Wright to stockpile their farm system even further. It would come off as a slap in the face to both the player and the fan base, as well as a public relations gaffe similar to that of the Jose Reyes situation, but it is in the realm of possibility.
If you aren't delusional, you know the Mets aren't going to make much noise in the National League for the next few seasons as they pick up the pieces of what proved to be the failed Omar Minaya regime. Re-signing Wright to a long-term deal, while it would be the right thing to do, would result in nothing more than wasting the prime of a player's career as his team remains in mediocrity.
It would take a king's ransom for the front office to trade Wright, but given the lack of funds and the Wilpons' propensity to be frugal, it wouldn't be shocking if the lifelong Met were to don another uniform in the near future.
Daniel Murphy was a hot commodity in the weeks leading up to the 2012 trade deadline, as other teams were in search of a lefty bat. While Alderson made it known that he had no intention of trading "Murph" for a reliever, he never said that his starting second baseman couldn't be had for a player of greater value.
Murphy hit .291 last season, but his worth as a power hitter, fielder and baserunner is far below average.
It would be dangerous for the Mets to swap Murphy for a reliever (due to the fact that you just never know which relievers will perform at a high level from year to year), but acquiring a mid-level outfield prospect would make sense.
The Mets have gone nowhere with Murphy as their starting second baseman over the last few years, and with Jordany Valdespin improving, Murphy could get the short end of the stick with a ticket out of town.
Ike Davis got off to one of the most putrid starts last season that Mets fans have ever been subjected to.
Which of these players is most likely to be traded?
Davis has just 27 hits, five home runs and 21 RBI over the course of his first 159 at-bats, but turned his season around when the calendar turned to June. Through the final 360 at-bats of the 2012 season, Davis clobbered 27 homers, 69 RBI and compiled a .253 average to bring his final totals to .227/32/90.
ESPN's Adam Rubin wrote an article back in September which brought up the possibility of the Mets trading Davis so Lucas Duda could be returned to his natural position.
This may come as a surprise given Davis' torrid finish to the season and the time the Mets have invested in the first baseman, but Rubin's article reveals that Duda's numbers are extremely similar to Davis'.
Don't expect a move involving Davis to be made, especially after Duda's recent furniture-moving mishap, but it's not out of the question.