Could a Solution to Mets' Problems Lie North of the Border?

Patrick MurraySenior Analyst IJuly 1, 2009

TORONTO - APRIL 6:  Alex Rios #15 of the Toronto Blue Jays stands at bat during the Opening Day game against the Detroit Tigers at the Rogers Centre on April 6, 2009 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by: Dave Sandford/Getty Images)

The Mets continue to toil in mediocrity, sitting one game below .500, while a large chunk of talent sits idle on the disabled list.

Most Mets fans have probably memorized the list of the fallen by now: Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes, Carlos Delgado, John Maine, Oliver Perez, J.J. Putz, Angel Pagan, Billy Wagner.

Some Mets fans have clamored for a trade, demanding that Omar Minaya acquire a big bat to help out David Wright.

Other fans (myself included) have taken up a more patient approach. Wait for the big boys to return. Don't sell the future for a season that may be a lost cause anyway.

Omar Minaya has stated that he will not trade off his best prospects for a "rental" player, such as Matt Holliday. If a trade is made, Minaya wants a player that is signed at least through the 2010 season and could help not only now, but in the future.

Minaya is absolutely right in his thinking (that's probably why he's the GM).

A player has subtly arrived on the scene over the last couple of days that could be a partial solution to the Mets myriad problems.

His name is Alex Rios.

Rios is signed all the way through the 2014 season.

Why would the Blue Jays trade a two-time All-Star outfielder?


Toronto's payroll this year is around $80 million and it stands to increase over the next couple of years.

Perennial Cy Young contender Roy Halladay will be a free agent after 2010 and the Jays would like to resign him. He will cost a ton, likely around $20 million per year.

Center fielder Vernon Wells will see his salary take a huge leap from $1.5 million this season to $12.5 million in 2010 and upwards of $20 million after that. General Manager J.P. Ricciardi will try desperately to unload that contract. Good luck to him.

The Jays also have several young, up and coming players who will be due pay raises soon such as Adam Lind and Travis Snider (who will replace the production of Wells and Rios in the outfield), plus many talented pitchers led by Dustin McGowan.

The bottom line is Rios could be acquired at a discounted price if a team is willing to take on the five years and $62 million remaining on his contract.

Rios seems like the perfect fit for the Mets at this time. He won't cost too much in terms of prospects and he is signed long term.

Rios would also fit well in Citi Field.

He has good speed and hits the ball in the gaps. In 2007 and 2008 Rios hit 90 doubles and 15 triples. In comparison, Jose Reyes had 73 doubles and 31 triples in that span while Carlos Beltran had 73 doubles and eight triples.

Those excellent extra base hit numbers would likely increase in cavernous Citi Field.

Rios is also a great defensive outfielder with a plus arm.

An outfield of Ryan Church, Carlos Beltran, and Alex Rios would certainly be the top defensive outfield in the major leagues.

The 6-foot-5 Puerto Rican could play center field until Beltran returns, then would move to his preferred position of right field with Church moving to left.

An All-Star outfielder at a discounted price, that is signed long term and fits perfectly into a Citi Field philosophy of speed and defense.

Go for it Omar.