As the August 2nd trade deadline creeps closer, trade negotiations have begun to heat up. The New York Mets, whose offense has struggled mightily as of late, are in dire need of an addition. While they have put together a successful offensive season thus far, they will likely need to acquire another bat if they are to compete.
Last offseason, the Mets’ splash acquisition was Chicago Cubs’ second baseman Javier Báez. Trevor Williams, who is still with the Mets, was acquired alongside Báez. The Mets gave up young outfield prospect Pete-Crow Armstrong in exchange for the pair.
A year later, the trade has panned out slightly differently than either team likely expected. Báez is now floundering with the 39-58 Detroit Tigers. His batting line this year of .260/.377/.637 is his worst career mark.
In contrast, Williams has been mostly successful for the Mets and has been a staple in their bullpen thus far in 2022. His ERA of 3.43 is the best mark of his career. He has also struck out 8.4 batters per nine innings.
Crow-Armstrong has been strong for the Cubs farm system. He is now listed as their 3rd best prospect, with an estimated arrival year of 2024.
In need of new pieces to bolster their roster, the Mets have reengaged with their former trade partners. This morning, Pat Ragazzo of FanNation reported that the Mets have interest in the Cubs’ catcher Willson Contreras and reliever David Robertson.
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Contreras has generated one of the best years of his career thus far, producing 14 home runs in 81 games behind the dish for the Cubbies. He has also maintained a slash line of .258/.374/.473 to boot. His WRC+ for the season currently stands at a career-best of 140. Compared to the rest of the league, he has been phenomenal. He stands in the 80th percentile or better in Average Exit Velocity and Pop Time to 2nd Base. He is the 90th percentile or better in Max Exit Velocity, HardHit%, and xwOBA. Whichever way you look at it, Contreras has been out of this world.
In addition to Contreras, the Mets would receive closer David Robertson. A 14-year veteran, Robertson is having perhaps the best season of his career in 2022. His ERA for the year of 1.83 is a career-best. He is also producing a K/9 of 11.4, one of the best marks of his career. Robertson has also stacked up phenomenally against the rest of the league. His fastball has the best spin rate out of any qualified pitcher in baseball. In addition, he ranks in the 90th percentile or better in xBA, xSLG, K%, and Whiff%.
According to Ragazzo’s report, the swap will send prospects to Chicago. The Mets have made it clear that they will not be sending either of their top two prospects. The first untouchable is third baseman, Brett Baty. The second is catcher Francisco Álvarez. These two are ranked as the 20th and 2nd best prospects in baseball, respectively. The Mets seem willing to deal any prospects outside of this pair to reach an agreement.
A likely package will include shortstop Ronny Mauricio and third baseman Mark Vientos. Mauricio was once the top prospect in the Mets system. Since then, he as not developed at the rate the team expected. This has sunk him to the third rank, below Baty and Álvarez. In addition, Mauricio is blocked by superstar Francisco Lindor, who is under contract through the rest of the decade. The Mets would struggle to find a position for Mauricio in the big leagues. This makes him a valuable trading piece and a player who I would expect to see go to Chicago in this deal.
Vientos is a nearly MLB-ready prospect. However, he has struggled in AAA. His exceptionally high K% of 32.1% is largely responsible for keeping him from reaching the major leagues. In addition, Vientos will likely be retroactively blocked by Brett Baty. Although Baty will reach the majors after Vientos, there is a strong chance he will receive the starting spot at the hot corner. After all, Baty has been recieving David Wright comparisons for years now.
Baseball Trade Values projects this trade to be heavily leaning in favor of the Cubs. However, this is primarily because of the fact that both Robertson and Contreras are rental players. If the Mets were to be able to re-sign Contreras, this would make the trade more than worth it. The trade would not be bad even if Contreras walks this winter. The Mets must do whatever it takes to compete this year, even if that includes giving up a couple key prospects.
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