Didi Gregorius Traded To New York
But not to the Mets.
The New York Yankees have completed a three-team deal to acquire shortstop Didi Gregorius from the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Bronx Bombers send pitcher Shane Greene to the Detroit Tigers, and Detroit sends pitcher Robbie Ray and infield prospect Domingo Leyba to Arizona.
According to various reports, there had been some interest from the Mets in Gregorius, but the Snakes were insisting on Noah Syndergaard. Though I like Gregorius’ glove, his bat is suspect — he hit only .229 in a half-season of MLB service last year. He has excellent range and a rifle arm, though, there’s a hint of concern that he’ll one day require Tommy John surgery — Gregorius strained his ulnar collateral ligament early in 2013.
Should the Mets have traded Syndegaard for Gregorius? I’m not sure, as, on paper, Gregorius would appear to be only a better-fielding version of Ruben Tejada. However, Gregorius did hit .310 with a .389 OBP and .836 OPS in 57 AAA games last year. Granted, those numbers have to be taken with a grain of salt, as he posted them in the hitter-happy PCL.
Most Mets fans likely think I’m nuts to even consider — for a half-second — the idea of trading Syndegaard for a good-field, no-hit shortstop. But then again, I’m not convinced that Syndegaard is the next Nolan Ryan — which seems to be the opinion of many Mets fans. Further, I can see that pitching is not nearly as valued today as it was a few years ago, while the value of young position players has skyrocketed. You may think the Mets would have been crazy to trade Noah Syndergaard for Gregorius, but guess what? The Yankees sent away a pretty good young starter in Shane Greene in order to bring back Gregorius. Granted, Greene is not a future Cy Young winner, but at age 25, he DID post a very respectable 3.78 ERA through 14 starts, competing in the AL East. Not too shabby. You might consider him a younger version of Dillon Gee — and that’s what it took to get a 24-year-old who appears to have the potential to play stellar defense at shortstop, but may be a #8 or #9 hitter. If the Mets want to acquire a shortstop who is a little bit better than their current options, that’s the market rate. However, what they’re willing to offer — veteran starters who have iffy health — isn’t what most teams are trying to get in return for their top young position players.
While Gregorius is off the table, that doesn’t mean the Mets can’t still make a deal with Arizona. The D’Backs still have Chris Owings, Nick Ahmed, and Cliff Pennington. After trading Gregorius, it would seem to me that Owings will be the starter in Arizona, with Pennington as the back-up, and maybe Ahmed could be available. Pennington is entering the final year of his contract, so I don’t know that the Mets would be interested, and further, the noise from Arizona is that they like Pennington and plan to keep him around. Ahmed is similar to Gregorius — an excellent fielder, but not much bat. I don’t think he’d cost Syndegaard, mainly because he has very little MLB experience and his minor league numbers do not suggest he’ll be an offensive success (whereas Gregorius did succeed at the MLB level in the first half of 2013).
What’s your thought? Do you care one way or the other about Gregorius? Answer in the comments.