The Mets, after being front-runners, have lost to the Cubs in the race for Ben Zobrist. The Mets’ front office, surprisingly, was ready to pony-up and give Zobrist both the money and years he desired, but his relationship with Chicago manager Joe Maddon ultimately sealed the deal.
Notably, just moments after the deal with Zobrist, the Braves traded Shelby Miller to the Diamondbacks for 1st-overall draft pick shortstop Dansby Swanson and outfielder Ender Inciarte, whom I suggested the Mets trade for.
Anyone else sense a lost opportunity?
By simply putting Zack Wheeler or Steven Matz on the trade block, I have to imagine that the Mets could have gotten the same package in return. Inciarte, in his first full major league season, batted .303 and stole 21 bases. He would more than solve the problem in the outfield, while Swanson, the #10 overall MLB prospect, would solve obvious middle infield problems within the coming years. Now that the Braves nabbed them both, along with budding stars in infielders Jace Peterson, Hector Olivera, and Ozhaino Albies and pitchers Sean Newcomb and Touki Toussaint, Atlanta is looking awfully scary for the 2017-18 season.
So, where exactly do the most recent Hot Stove revelations leave the Mets?
Backup options on the free agent market for New York include Daniel Murphy, Howie Kendrick and Asdrubal Cabrera. The Mets have remained in contact with Murphy’s representatives throughout the Zobrist sweepstakes, per metsblog.
Pirates’ second baseman Neil Walker is an additional option on the trade market, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post. Other trade options, from pure speculation on my behalf, could include the Rays’ Logan Forsythe and the Reds’ Brandon Phillips.
In my opinion, The Mets should give up on finding a middle infielder. The teams that lost out on Zobrist—such as the Angels, Nationals, and Dodgers will swarm Murphy with money that I can’t imagine the Mets matching. If viable, then by all means, pursue him. If not, leave well enough alone and use the money you saved from Zobrist and make smart investments in the outfield, such as adding Jason Heyward or Yoenis Cespedes. Second-tier options in the outfield are deep as well, with Dexter Fowler, Denard Span, and Gerardo Parra. If you’re able to land Heyward or Cespedes, include Juan Lagares in a package that brings Walker, Phillips, or the cheaper and more versatile Forsythe to New York.
It’s in your hands now, John Ricco. All I know is that Lucas Duda and Travis d’Arnaud aren’t enough to build an offense around. Right now is the Mets’ window of opportunity—and I’ll be one upset fan if they blow it.