Mets: Justin or Bustin’ at the Trade Deadline?
Author’s Note: I fully expect the Mets to be quiet at the trade deadline this year, as I have already posted here and here. That being said, ‘tis the season for this type of speculation. In order to keep the advertisers happy with our site traffic , here is Mets Today’s contribution to the stone soup of trade deadline proposals that will be everywhere the next two-plus weeks.
The New York Mets should trade for San Diego Padres outfielder Justin Upton. Here’s why:
- Offense! He would immediately become the team leader in home runs and stolen bases this season (14 and 17, respectively) and second in batting average. His OBP would rank third among Mets regulars, but his current SLG, OBS and OPS+ rates surpass all Mets in those rankings right now. Certainly the naysayers among us will point out that the Mets are currently getting Upton-like production from Curtis Granderson. But Upton is a 3.1 WAR player vs. Grandy’s 2.2. Also Grandy, while ostensibly the Mets best hitter so far this season, is performing much better than he has in his past two seasons. Is he due for a regression in the second half? His last ten games indicate the regression has already started. Upton is faster, younger and a better fielder. Put Upton in the lineup in the three hole, bat Daniel Murphy second and whoever else is hot at the time in leadoff and you’ve got a chance for some early innings runs in support of the young arms.
- He won’t cost the farm: To get Upton from Atlanta, the Padres forked over two A ball pitchers, an AAA outfielder and a major league utility player currently slashing 254/334/352. This means he won’t cost one of the “core four.” Since Upton walks at the end of the year, San Diego is looking at draft pick compensation, so they shouldn’t expect much more than a recent high round draft pick (one not named Conforto) along with perhaps Hansel Robles or Logan Verrett. The Mets will surrender some talent, but nothing likely to come back to haunt them for years.
- Alderson “wins”: Upton was on the Mets’ radar screen when the Diamondbacks first put him on the market back in 2012-13. They supposedly asked Met GM Sandy Alderson for either Matt Harvey or Zack Wheeler, a deal Alderson refused to make. How smart would he look now to get him for far less? Plus, it’s a sneak preview for the Mets; if Upton comes in here and slashes 290/360/520-ish, while leading the charge into the playoffs, it might ease their minds somewhat towards signing him to a long-term deal. An in-his-prime, New-York-tested-and-approved slugger is exactly what “The Plan” calls for (and if not, it or should). If he comes here and pulls a Jason Bay, he can be crossed off the list of free agents that they “monitor” this offseason.
The Wright connection: OK, Michael Cuddyer hasn’t really worked out, but Upton is also from David Wright’s neck of the Virginia tidewater, which if nothing else, is a nice connection to have.David Wright is done. Speaking of Cuddyer, you can now platoon him at first with Lucas Duda and hope that one of them gets his head together for the stretch drive.
- The itch is scratched: Last but certainly not least for Alderson and the Wilpons, a trade like this will get everyone off of their collective backs for a while. Remember the good vibes here when Alderson traded for those two relievers right before Opening Day? That, coupled with the tear the club went on, lead to a six-week era of good feelings. This deal takes Met fandom’s focus off of their almost universally-disliked team ownership and front office and puts it squarely on the field, which is where it belongs. Plus Alderson can walk his dog in peace for a while.
Overall, this season has easily been one of the more entertaining ones in recent Mets history, one that we will hopefully look back on in a few years as a “(good) transition year.” I get it that you can’t mortgage a significant part of your future for a semi-long shot at a playoff berth. That’s why this Upton deal works on the levels spelled out above.
So how about you? Got a trade proposal you’re needing to share? Expect a trade or just more dog-walking? Do you like Justin Upton? Should his brother stick to “Melvin,” or go back to “BJ?” Sound off below.