Kenny Faulk. Photo via: http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4048/4514960214_b305720622.jpg
Much like the Dodgers, the Detroit Tigers are a World Series contender that could be in the market for a catcher by midseason.
Their current catcher, Alex Avila, is hitting .177 with 18 strikeouts in 16 games so far.
As for the return package, relievers Melvin Mercedes and Kenny Faulk could soon become key contributors for the Mets bullpen.
Faulk has nothing flashy, but he consistently shows an ability to get strikeouts and get out lefties. Over his career, he averages an incredible 11.2 K/9. This season, pitching in Triple-A, Faulk has an unbelievable zero runs and 12 strikeouts in 6.1 innings. Faulk has consistently improved his command, and his control issues have lessened every season.
Even more, none of the seven lefties he has faced so far have a hit, and six of them have struck out.
Faulk has a career 2.96 ERA, and he could become an excellent lefty specialist or middle reliever.
But since a middle reliever is the peak of the 25-year-old Faulk’s potential, the Mets could also land Melvin Mercedes.
Mercedes could become the full-time closer the Mets have long been missing.
He is not a strikeout pitcher like Faulk, but Mercedes does flash a high-90s fastball and a plus slider.
The 22-year-old Mercedes returned in 2012 after Tommy John surgery to post a solid 2.76 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in 65.1 innings at Class-A. He posted only 55 hits and 24 walks, but only recorded 43 strikeouts. The low strikeout rate is surprising considering his powerful fastball, but Mercedes still forces plenty of groundballs to make up for the lack of strikeouts.
This season, Mercedes has three saves and has yet to give up a run in 7.2 innings in High-A.
Mercedes is a flamethrower who can throw strikes and has the ability to close out games—something the Mets desperately need. Faulk is a pitcher who dominates lefties and gets strikeouts when needed, and he could even contribute to the bullpen by the end of the season.
Both of these players could become bullpen contributors for years to come. The Mets continue to find fill-ins every offseason for a bullpen that consistently ranks in the bottom of the league.
Instead, the Mets should look for prospects like Mercedes and Faulk who can contribute for a number of years.
Trading Buck for these two relievers would greatly benefit the future Mets.