New York Mets and the MLB Trade Deadline: Fire Sale Imminent?
With all of the financial problems currently facing the NY Mets, two questions arise: Will there be a huge dump of payroll by the trade deadline, and should there be?
The Mets' financial troubles have been well documented and range from a $1B (that’s a "B", as in billion) lawsuit, to a controversial loan from powerful friend Bud Selig, whom many believed erred on the side of friendship when he should have ruled as his position of Commissioner of Major League Baseball dictates.
Let’s take a look at how the Mets can possibly relieve some of their financial burdens and what they will need to do in order to build a future.
I personally believe that there is no way that Jose Reyes can escape a trade. A free agent after this season, there is no way the Mets can re-sign him next year. What Reyes will command on the open market will be far more than the financially struggling Mets will be able to pay.
It has further been rumored that on the San Francisco Giants' recent trip to New York, the two teams spoke about a possible Reyes deal. Time is on the Mets' side though, and they will likely hold out for the absolute best deal they can get.
Reyes is a game changer.
He is one of the rare players who can single-handedly beat another team. Stellar offense, amazing defense, great speed, strong arm: Reyes is a complete five-tool player. For a team chasing postseason dreams, Reyes could be the magic key. He is having a great start to his year and the better he plays, the more value he will bring to any deal.
The Mets will get a lot for him, as they should, but they won’t break the bank. As a free agent at the end of the season, he will only be a rental player, used for a late-season push.
Will they trade him? Yes.
Should they trade him? Without a doubt.
Money remaining on his contract at the deadline: $5.5M
Who needs him? San Francisco Giants, Boston Red Sox
K-Rod may be even more likely to go then Reyes.
Why? Because the Mets have a team option on him for 2012 that they won’t pick up; as such, they will be forced to pay a $3.5M buyout. With the shortage of experienced closers out there, and teams losing late-inning games because of it, there will be plenty of market for a closer of his pedigree.
It remains to be seen how effective Rodriguez is.
When he came to the Mets in 2009 they still had hopes of being competitive, but injuries and poor play doomed the team. That, coupled with his late season off-field (not far enough off-field though) troubles in 2010, has somewhat clouded a true judgment of his abilities.
He has been fairly solid this year, although the Mets have not had an abundance of save opportunities. Regardless, he has successful closer experience and history shows that teams will pay through the nose for it.
Will he be traded? Almost definitely.
Should he be traded? Absolutely.
Money remaining on his contract at the deadline: $9.25M
The Mets seemingly gave Beltran a massive contract based on one postseason. In their defense, it was an incredibly hot postseason. The massive contract was for $119M over 7 years, which ends this year.
A side note about this contract: This was one of the first in a series of bad contracts that the Mets signed, leading them down the hole that they are currently stuck in. Most of these deals happened under the watch of former General Manager Omar Minaya.
Back to Beltran—he never seemed to materialize into the player that that one postseason made him out to be. Beltran has been a competent enough player, but surely not worth the money that was doled out to him.
This trade deadline would certainly seem like the perfect opportunity for The Mets to unload him, shedding the approximate $9M that will be due to him for the last half of the season—perhaps they can pick up a few prospects at the same time.
Although, as of now, Beltran is not exactly setting the world on fire.
He does seem to be fully recovered from the knee injury that ended his season prematurely last year, and he can add some experience to a young team in the playoff hunt.
Will he be traded? Likely.
Should he be traded? Why not?
Money remaining on his contract at the deadline: $9M
Who needs him? Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants
The great Johan Santana. Imagine him on the trading block.
The Mets committed a lot of money to Santana three years ago, and he still has three years left on that deal. He will be owed roughly $61M at the deadline. Santana is currently rehabbing from an off-season shoulder surgery.
Santana is entering the twilight of his years as a pitcher, highlighted by his current injuries. When healthy, he is extremely effective on the mound, but the question remains as to how healthy he will be for the rest of his contract.
The biggest obstacle in trading Santana would appear to be the massive amount of money he is owed. That, matched with his inability to stay off of the Disabled List, would make a trade difficult and, as such, somewhat unlikely.
There is one team in particular for whom money never seems to be an obstacle. As it turns out, that team is also in dire need of starting pitching help. Should that trade happen, Santana wouldn’t even need to move.
This is the risk with long-term contracts to ace pitchers: rarely are they worth the amount of money that they are due by the end of their deals. Hence, Carlos Zambrano, Barry Zito and Johan Santana.
Will he be traded? It is unlikely that a suitor will be found.
Should he be traded? If at all possible, yes.
Money remaining on his contract at the deadline: $66.5M
Who needs him? Everyone needs quality starting pitching (except The Phillies), but only the New York Yankees, and possibly The Boston Red Sox, could afford him.
Here lies the biggest problem for the Mets: Their most valuable player is also the face of their franchise.
They would most definitely get the most of any of their trade possibilities for Wright, but can they betray their fan base by trading him? It would surely be taken as a sign that the Mets have given up, at least for the next few years.
Wright makes $14M this year, will make $15M next year and there’s a $16M option for 2013. It’s slightly high for a player of his caliber, but by no means outrageous.
He is still very much in the prime of his career and has a knack for staying healthy. He could almost certainly make a huge difference for a team with playoffs in their sights.
Wright was having a decent 2011 until a recent injury. The injury is not serious and as such he is still a very viable candidate for a trade. His power numbers are down in recent years, but that can be attributed to playing in cavernous Citi Field. He plays exceptional defense and can still steal plenty of bases.
It still remains to be seen whether the Mets can let the anchor of their team go. As mentioned above, this is a very tough decision for the team. Conversely, this should allow the Mets to sit back and really ask for the world for Wright, ensuring that any deal involving him would be a smart and successful one that the fans would approve of.
Will he be traded? Probably not.
Should he be traded? Tough call.
Money left remaining on the contract: $23M
Who needs him? St.Louis Cardinals
Young Talent for a Few Years?
Total Amount Saved By Trading All Players Listed In This Article: $113.25M over 2.5 years
The Mets have a nice, tight, young core with players like Ike Davis and Ruben Tejada.
Jason Bay is beyond the scope of a trade, so he will most likely be there for a few more years.
If they keep Wright, are able to trade the rest and get some young pitching talent back, their return to competitiveness and financial manageability may not be as far down the road as it seemed two years ago.
With new management in place that seems to be bent on corralling the payroll and focusing on young, athletic talent, that goal can easily be obtained.
Now, if they can just get around that pesky billion-dollar lawsuit…