Mets Rumors: Shortstop won't come cheap, especially good ones
The New York Mets find themselves slumbering for offense with a core of mediocre players such as Ruben Tejada. Shortstop is one of the positions the Mets must upgrade to make a run at the division or even a wild card push. But some of the options that would make sense for the Mets would have to involve big prospects going the other way. The Noah Syndergaards of world have to be included to get anybody's blood flowing. The Mets can also ship other alternatives such as Rafael Montero and/or Wilmer Flores, who does not appear to have a future role with the big club. The Mets find themselves once again on the border of bad teams as the offensive woes run upon them. The Mets will have pitching depth with Jeremy Hefner (rehabbing) and Matt Harvey coming back to form for the 2015 season.
The shortstops I think that would make sense for any GM to trade are ones that have large salaries attached to them. Three shortstops I think could help the Mets be a steadier at that position are Troy Tulowitzki, Elvis Andrus, and Starlin Castro. But they all could be to pricey for this Mets organization.
Andrus, a perfect lead-off hitter for the Mets has still yet to turn 26 and is already in the midst of his sixth consecutive above-average season. Though he has limited value at the plate, he rates as an excellent base-runner and defender. Despite signing a massive eight-year, $120MM extension that does not even kick in until next year, and which allows him to opt out if he is able to meet or exceed expectations, he is playing on a club that has fallen out of contention this year and which has several even younger options waiting in the wings.
In a somewhat similar situation is Castro of the Cubs, who has $44MM in guaranteed money remaining on his deal, including a buyout of a $16MM club option for 2020. The Cubs are clearly sellers, and the 24-year-old has returned to form (.276/.326/.433) after a disappointing 2013. Of course, Castro could be an important piece in the team’s turnaround plans, but there are several top prospects filtering up behind him. Needless to say, it would take a significant package to pry him loose. In lesser deals involving a minor league shortstop, prospect Javier Baez has been mentioned to be a more likely candidate to be on the trading block with the arrival of Addison Russell from the A's trade for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. Not to mention another top skill shortstop in the organization Arismendy Alcantara. But Baez is known for power and speed with adequate defensive skills. Alcantara and Baez are listed as two of the top 100 prospects in baseball.
Speaking of large returns, Tulowitzki would obviously represent the prize of the market — and not just that of shortstops. He has been both outstanding (offensively and defensively) and healthy this year. His contract includes $118MM in guaranteed money, but with it comes seven years of control (the last via club option). That may price several teams out of the market, but many would jump at the chance to add one of the game’s true superstars at a below-market price. Owner Dick Monfort did publicly state that the Rox have no plans to deal Tulo, who is the face of their franchise.