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Assessing The Mets Second Base Trade Targets

Looking over the free agent roster and the Mets internal options, second base may be the most difficult position to fill.  Asdrubal Cabrera, Wilmer Flores, and T.J. Rivera each have the bat, but they don’t have the glove. Additionally, Rivera is coming off of Tommy John surgery.  Gavin Cecchini and Phillip Evans have the glove, but they don’t have the bat.

Accordingly, the Mets may best suited to make a trade for a second baseman.  There are some interesting, yet flawed, candidates available:

Dee Gordon

2017 Stats: .308/.341/.375, 20 2B, 9 3B, 2 HR, 33 RBI, 60 SB, 16 CS
Advanced: 3.4 bWAR, 3.3 fWAR, 94 OPS, 92 wRC+, 3 DRS
Salary: 3 years, $37.9, 2021 option ($1 million buyout)

For Mets fans, Gordon seems to be the cure to many ills.  He is a top of the order hitter who steals bases and has a good defensive reputation.  The problem with Gordon is much of his reputation is based upon a career year in 2015, and he has yet to replicate that season.  Overall, he’s been a great base stealer, average defender, and someone who does not walk nearly enough to hit atop the order.  Between that and the salary, the Mets should look elsewhere.

Josh Harrison

2017 Stats: .272/.339/.432, 26 2B, 2 3B, 16 HR, 47 RBI, 12 SB, 4 CS
Advanced: 3.3 bWAR, 2.6 fWAR, 101 OPS+, 104 wRC+, 6 DRS
Salary: 1 year, $10.25 million (Team options next two seasons)

Harrison seems to be the type of player the Mets covet this offseason due to his versatility.  He’s been a good defender at second, and he can handle himself at third and both corner outfield positions.  He also has a reasonable contract with reasonable team options in succeeding years.  There are two caveats with Harrison.  First, Harrison does not draw many walks.  More importantly for a Mets team unable to keep players on the field, Harrison has his own injury issues.

Ian Kinsler

2017 Stats: .236/.313/.412, 25 2B, 3 3B, 22 HR, 52 RBI, 14 SB, 5 CS
Advanced: 2.1 bWAR, 1.5 fWAR, 90 OPS+, 91 wRC+, 6 DRS
Salary: 1 year, $11 million

With the season Kinsler just had, it’s fair to question whether he’s done at 35 years old.  Even with the dropoff, he was still a good defender at second, and he maintained a respectable 9.0% walk rate.  Like most of his career, he had a good start to the season, hit lefties well, and he tapered off as the season progressed.  It’s possible being put in a new situation with a new manager will be able to rejuvenate him.  Even if it doesn’t, you’re still getting a good defender with a solid clubhouse presence at a somewhat reasonable cost.

Jason Kipnis

2017 Stats: .232/.291/.414, 25 2B, 12 HR, 35 RBI, 6 SB, 2 CS
Advanced: 0.4 bWAR, 0.7 fWAR, 81 OPS+, 82 wRC+, -2 DRS
Salary: 2 years, $28.3 million ($16.5 million 2020 option)

After being a reasonably healthy player, Kipnis had an injury plagued year that kept him off the field and helped lead to a career worst year.  Ever the team player, Kipnis came back from the disabled list, and with him having been supplanted at second base by Jose Ramirez, he went to center field.  With Ramirez playing a terrific second and the emergence of Yandy Diaz, it’s rumored the Indians may be willing to move Kipnis.

It’s also likely it’s going to be a high price tag.  Kipnis has a reasonably salary, and the Indians could use him at either first of the outfield depending on what happens with Carlos Santana and Jay Bruce.  Considering he’s a 4.0+ WAR player when healthy, he might just be worth whatever price the Indians demand.

Ben Zobrist

2017 Stats: .232/.318/.375, 20 2B, 3 3B, 12 HR, 50 RBI, 2 SB, 2 CS
Advanced: 0.5 bWAR, 0.3 fWAR 79 OPS+, 82 wRC+, 5 DRS
Salary: 2 years, $29 million

After the 2015 season, the Mets thought Zobrist might be the player to take them over the top, and they vigorously pursued him in free agency.  The Mets were proven to be correct when Zobrist was the 2016 World Series MVP.  For those that believed Zobrist’s deal was going to be harsh at the tail end, they seemed to be proven correct with Zobrist having a poor year where he looked every bit of his 36 years of age.

Still, Zobrist is just one year off of being a good major league player, a good defender at second, and every bit as versatile as he’s always been.  While he’s not officially on the trade block, the Cubs are nearing a bit of a roster crunch with Albert Almora staking a claim in CF and Ian Happ proving he should be an everyday player.  Unless the Cubs want to pay Zobrist big bucks to be a utility player, they may look to move him, and the team has been known to like Seth Lugo.  This isn’t saying that’s what gets it done for both sides.  Still, it’s interesting the Cubs have a player the Mets want, and the Mets have a player the Cubs want.  This could lead to trade discussions, and Sandy getting a player he has long coveted.

Overall, the Mets would be improved by getting anyone of these players, but that does not necessarily mean that is the best allocation of resources.  Given the contract length and what should be a relatively low sales price, it would seem Kinsler should be the Mets top target.  If the Mets had more talent available in their farm system, perhaps then you may be more willing to pursue a Kipnis or Harrison.

5 thoughts on “Assessing The Mets Second Base Trade Targets”

  1. Gothamist says:

    Well, my questions are:

    Where do the Metsies have surplus and can sell high?
    Are we looking to sell tickets or is there belief that they can compete?
    Who of the bunch is being shopped?
    Who has speed?
    Who has outfield assists?
    Who does not make critical throwing errors?
    Who has been a top of the order table setter?
    Who can cover the entire plate and foul off pitches he can not hit?
    Who has good splits after inning six and who hits the upper tier pitching?

    Who wants Cespedes?
    SF or Oakland?
    What do they have to offer!

    WHO IS A GREAT ATHLETE AND DURABLE?
    Who is 28 or younger?

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Mets really don’t have any surpluses or sell high candidates. The one exception might be Nimmo after his good OBP stretch closing out the year, but I really don’t see a big market for him.

  2. Gothamist says:

    Sandy has already tried to move Nimmo.

    No one thanks the heavens as dramatically or with more neck bend than Brandon?
    He is is so grateful he has done this even after getting a BB.

    Give Sandy credit, Brandon was his first #1 and one of the very rare draftees since 2011 to make a club for ywo consecutive years.

    Add Cessa and Fulmer to that list.

    I have said repeatedly that I like Brandon and root for him all the time.

    I wonder if an AL club not in the market for speed, one with an easy left field porch can leverage Wilmer as a versatile infielder and a DH?

    Yet know Wilmer will be earning much more money I am certain that if the COO and GM have already decided to move Wilmer it may be coming sooner vs later?

    They are rumored to be looking for a first and second baseman?

    Maybe a team with money like LAA has a need?

    If Nido is to be ready by August, can Sandy trade Travis now?

    Wheeler had two years to study pitch sequence I am pessimistic that he has the confidence to stick with any plan…

    Speaking of which Montero lost his value with his deep regression in September.

    Maybe he was tired and plus there was not much any of these guys played for in the waning weeks of the season?

    It is time to trade Lagares for he is now not injured.

    Traded to a playoff club or a team with dreadful outfield defense…

    The Mets can never rely on him and the Mets do not have stocked talent in AAA if he as one of four outfielders and gets hurt again.

    Well in 2018 they are not going to compete anyway. This year it is ok to keep him.

    Hey, with football now so dangerous maybe the African Americans will again commit to the sport?

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Nido won’t be ready next year, and personally, I question if he’s anything more than a strong backup defensive catcher.

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