David Wright Rumors: 4 Backup Plans If the Mets Have to Trade Their Superstar
What once seemed like certainty is now a toss-up, and the club needs to have backup plans in case talks break down.
GM Sandy Alderson is seeking to resolve the situation prior to next month's winter meetings in Nashville, Tenn. But if neither side budges, the Mets could reluctantly trade Wright and his $16 million salary for a nice package of budding talent.
To compete in 2013, New York needs production at third base. Here's where they could get it in case Wright leaves town.
Recall Prospect Wilmer Flores
Bleacher Report's Mike Rosenbaum considers Wilmer Flores New York's No. 2 prospect.
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Wilmer Flores made the transition from shortstop to third base this past summer. In the process, he enjoyed the finest season of his professional career.
Flores hit .300/.349/.479 with 18 home runs in 130 games split between High-A St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton.
And he hasn't cooled off yet. In the Venezuelan Winter League, the 21-year-old continues to excel, according to Toby Hyde of the Mets Minor League Blog.
Flores has no MLB experience, but easily ranks as the best internal replacement the New York Mets have.
Sign Free Agent Kevin Youkilis
The Cleveland Indians, Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers also have interest in Youkilis.
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Even so, signing him would cost about half as much annually as a David Wright extension.
Youk's plate discipline and sure-handedness won't fade with age like other baseball skills. Being a humble world champion, he also provides an excellent clubhouse presence.
His experience at both corner infield positions would allow the New York Mets to reconsider trading Ike Davis. Between that haul and the Wright package, the Mets could be on the fast track toward a cheap, well-rounded team.
Sign Placido Polanco for Versatility
The Mets could buy low on Polanco and take advantage of his defensive versatility.
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Lingering back pain hampered Placido Polanco last season. He spent two stints on the disabled list because of it and didn't perform up to his usual standards when active.
Signing the 37-year-old for one guaranteed year with an option for 2014 could be very cheap, not to mention very rewarding if he returns to form.
He could take over at third base while Wilmer Flores develops further in the minor leagues. Whenever the top prospect is deemed MLB-ready, Polanco could be used for pinch-hitting and as a late-game defensive replacement for Daniel Murphy at second.
No other New York Mets position player has his ability to put balls in play.
Send David Wright to Arizona Diamondbacks, Plug in Chris Johnson
The Mets could go year-by-year with Johnson as he goes through arbitration.
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The Arizona Diamondbacks could make the New York Mets a tempting offer for David Wright, writes Mark Simon of ESPNNewYork.com. In addition to a reputable center fielder and top pitching prospect, New York might get a viable Wright replacement—Chris Johnson.
Simon's column is based on more than just speculation.
Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall discussed his team's offseason plans on MLB.com. "We are still looking to strengthen the left side of our infield," he admitted. "Managing the abundance" of outfielders on the roster was another one of his concerns.
Johnson wouldn't be the centerpiece of Arizona's package, but he has potential as a player who batted a robust .308 in 2010. He's approaching arbitration, which means the Mets wouldn't have to make a multi-year guarantee. Instead they could non-tender him a contract if it's evident that he's not everyday material.
Though Wright's departure would leave a dent, competent replacements abound.