Jeff Roberson / Associated Press
The New York Mets managed to sign star-free agents this winter. Now it seems that they have turned to the trading market. According to Andy Martino from SNYThe club is interested in acquiring third baseman Kris Bryant from the Chicago Cubs.
It’s pretty clear that the Mets are trying to build a pennant candidate in the first year of the Steve Cohen era. So if the Mets really do everything they can to knock the Los Angeles Dodgers off the throne of the National League, they should be stalking players like Bryant. But Bryant alone won’t scare the Dodgers.
It’s great that the Mets aren’t happy with their splashy off-season acquisitions of James McCann, Trevor May, Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco. And it is even better that they direct their attention to their greatest area of need. The Mets have been struggling to find some sort of consistency on the third base since David Wright began struggling with injuries in 2015.
At one point, things were so bad that they were forced to play catcher Travis d’Arnaud on the third base in 2017. Even so, they have done little in the big league to fix this, even after Wright retired in 2018, while Brett Baty and Mark Vientos have two high-profile prospects, but both are still on the lower levels of the club’s farm system.
The Dodgers also have a third basic problem. Justin Turner, her hometown hero, should have a four-year contract be able to retire a dodger. But they’re too smart in an organization to give a 36-year-old so much concept. Your contingency plan likely includes trading with Bryant and the $ 19.5 million he’ll make to play this season before becoming a free agent. The Dodgers have passed the luxury tax threshold of $ 210 million for NL Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer – what’s a bit more tax money at this point? After all, this is the best team money can buy.
The Dodgers have a legitimate opportunity to repeat themselves as world champions and the organizational depth to withstand his departure after the next season. However, it’s harder to justify for other teams, including the Mets.
The Atlanta Braves, another team the Mets need to get their bearings in the National League, said no thanks to a year of Bryant. let Austin Riley take over on the hot corner. It did the Washington Nationals, another enemy of NL East who lacks farm depth at the upper levels of the system. It’s a lot of money to take over with no guarantees after 2021.
29-year-old Bryant has had the worst year of his career, and while that doesn’t mean the Mets should keep the Cubs down, it does mean they should look to some of the smarter teams in the National League rather than mortgaging their futures to get him.
There are reasons to believe that the season shortened by the pandemic was a fluke and not the beginning of a decline for the NL MVP 2016. As of 2017, his wRC + is 132, just like Mets rightfield player Michael Conforto. FanGraph’s steamer projections are positive for Bryant in 2021: 3.2 fWAR, 26 home runs, 115 wRC +. Should the University of San Diego’s product land in Queens, its projected value of 3.2 fWAR for all Mets position players would be in second place after Lindors’ 4.5.
Earlier this week, however, the Mets took a step to improve the depth at the higher levels of their farm system, bringing outfielder Khalil Lee into a three-team deal with the Kansas City Royals and the Boston Red Sox. Cohen has talked about not wanting to decimate a farm system just yet # 19 by Keith Law from The Athletic, so the club seems to be prioritizing construction depth after former general manager Brodie Van Wagenen traded much of it away in just two years.
If there is a chance to sign Bryant on a long-term contract, it may be worth giving up a little more now, but that’s unlikely considering Bryant is represented by Scott Boras. What the Mets need to really challenge the Dodgers, Braves, Nationals and San Diego Padres this season and in the coming seasons is sustainability. They need defense for their great pitching people, they need to invest in new technology, invest in analytics, and they need to design and develop more talent to achieve the kind of organizational depth that allows them to be competitive year after year.
It is no secret that the Mets have not been able to scout their own system well in recent years. They fall in love with the speed of mediocre pitchers and the raw tools of positional players while overlooking key contributors. Jeff McNeil comes to mind as someone the Mets didn’t really consider a “prospect”, but who turned out to be more than the Mets expected.
If they’re going to compete with the Dodgers, don’t do what they’ve done in the past and swap top MLB capable players.
You should keep Ronny Mauricio, who is ranked their top prospect by MLB.com, short, even if he’s not ready to play in the big leagues for a few more years. Its ceiling is too high. And they should definitely keep left-handed David Peterson, who has a chance to secure a rotation point this season. And if a player like Peterson has what it takes to get Bryant, Matt Chapman, Eugenio Suarez, or any other third baseman, they should look elsewhere. Perhaps Turner will opt for a two-year deal with his former club.
Bryant would be a big boost for the Mets in their quest for 2021, but a year from him isn’t worth tarnishing in mediocrity for the next three or four. If the Mets really want it, they have to get it right.