New York Mets' 5 Most Tradeable Assets for the 2013-14 Offseason
With the 2013 World Series underway, it will soon be time to look towards the offseason. The winter shopping season will soon be under way. There will be free agents signing with new teams; there will be trades made as clubs look to better themselves for the upcoming season.
The New York Mets will reportedly have some money to spend in free agency this winter, with some hefty contracts coming off the books. But general manager Sandy Alderson has gone on record by saying he will spend wisely and not just for the sake of signing a big-name, big-money player.
However, the Mets may be bigger players in the trade market this offseason. They have some clear needs (outfielder, catcher, shortstop and pitching are likely to be the priorities), and they have some moveable players that could be used to fill the voids on the team's roster. It's rarely easy to suggest a player be traded. But, nevertheless, here are the Mets' top five tradeable assets as we head into the winter shopping season.
Before I continue, let me assure you that I am by no means advocating a trade involving Zack Wheeler. He, along with Matt Harvey and Jon Niese, represents the cornerstone of the future for the Mets' rotation and should be a fixture in Queens for a long, long time.
That said, there's no question that the Mets would demand a great return for the services of the 23-year-old right-hander. Wheeler was acquired by the Mets from the San Francisco Giants during the 2011 season in exchange for Carlos Beltran.
Wheeler debuted in 2013, going 7-5 with a 3.42 ERA in 17 starts. He showed solid endurance, pitching at least six innings in 10 of those 17 starts.
The Mets would be unwise in moving the prized young starter. But if a team presented them with a can't-refuse offer, the Mets could entertain the idea potentially.
The case of Daniel Murphy ought to be a curious one this winter. After searching for years to find a defensive home, the Mets finally stuck Murphy at second base, where he has played full time since 2012 and has actually been quite proficient.
Murphy will be arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason and remains under team control through the 2016 season. So he would be a pretty decent commodity for a team looking for a fairly-consistent hitter (he has a lifetime .290 batting average).
The Mets could stand to trade Murphy, as they could put Eric Young Jr. at second base to make room for an outfielder.
Since breaking into the Major Leagues in 2010, Lucas Duda has been shifting from first base, to right field, to left field. And despite hitting 30 home runs over the last two seasons, Duda's power stroke has not manifested the way the Mets were hoping it would.
So, as a defensive liability in the outfield, and with a less-than-stellar offensive resumé, the Mets may look to deal the 27-year-old to an American League team, where he could be a DH. He remains under team control until after the 2018 season, so a receiving team would be guaranteed at least a few seasons with Duda.
Sadly, Ike Davis' stock has been dropping year after year. Following his impressive debut in 2010, when he hit 19 home runs in 147 games, Davis has been unable to maintain a full year's worth of success.
Injuries have been a culprit for his struggles—he played in just 36 games in 2011 after suffering a high ankle sprain. And though he rebounded in 2012 with a career-high 32 longballs, he slashed just .227/.308/.462 that year. And after struggling to begin the 2013 campaign, the former first-round draft pick was demoted to Triple-A.
The expectations for Davis have been very high, and there is still hope for the 26-year-old. But depending on what the Mets do with Lucas Duda, or if anyone attracts their eye in free agency, Davis could be a trade tool to bring in some pitching and/or farm system depth. He could be a non-tender candidate, but if the Mets were to let him go, it would be nice to see them get something in return.
It would be unfortunate to see Davis go, but one has to wonder just how much longer the Mets will hold out hope for him.
It would be very difficult to trade a young, up-and-coming infielder with the promise of Wilmer Flores. But, depending on what other moves the Mets make this winter, there may not be a place on the roster for Flores.
The 22-year-old has experience at four infield positions, and appeared in 27 Major League games in 2013, his debut season. He hit just .211 in the big leagues, but he does own a lifetime .290 minor league batting average. He also hit 33 home runs between 2012 and 2013 in the minors.
But with David Wright entrenched at third base, and the Mets seemingly willing to give the starting shortstop gig to Ruben Tejada, Flores' future may hinge on what the team does with Daniel Murphy and second base.