The Padres and the Mets, man. They want everyone. Good for them, I guess?
How this plays into today’s big trade to acquire Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco, well, we’ll touch on that in a moment. First, the rumor, via USA Today:
[SEE UPDATE BELOW.]
The Mets acquired one of the top players in all of baseball, landing four-time All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor, along with veteran starter Carlos Carrasco while sending shortstops Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez, minor league pitcher Josh Wolf and outfielder Isaiah Greene to Cleveland.
Oh, the Mets still are also engaged with free-agent center fielder George Springer and free-agent closer Liam Hendriks, and have had recent trade talks with the Chicago Cubs for third baseman/outfielder Kris Bryant.
Sensing an opportunity to take advantage of a market that doesn’t really want any good players who make decent money, the Mets pounced on a low acquisition cost for Lindor and Carrasco, and why wouldn’t they try to do it with other players, too? Especially when your acquisition today was very much about winning in 2021 with a new owner and front office at the helm?
So, then, do I think the Lindor trade closes the door on Bryant? Well, not necessarily. The Mets might be MORE insistent on making additions now, and certainly the phrasing in the report suggests that’s the idea. Not to be too simplistic here, but Bryant and Lindor don’t, you know, play the same positions. (Also Bryant can play in the outfield if it comes to that.)
The Mets have also indicated that they prefer not to be dealing from their dwindling farm system right now, instead preferring to leverage their available dollars. Of course, like the Lindor-Carrasco trade, you could argue it *is* dollars that would be doing most of the work in a trade for Bryant. Sadly. So that also probably doesn’t close the door on a trade.
It’s not hard to conjure a trade fit here when you think about the Cubs’ likely inability to acquire a substantial impact return anyway, the Mets’ new GM (Jared Porter) having been in the Cubs’ front office, the Mets’ ability to take on salary with ease, and the possibility of moving around big league parts to make a trade work. That is to say, the two sides have a lot of possible angles available to put a trade together *IF* the Mets simply decided they wanted to absolutely max out on 2021 (and believed in a Bryant bounce-back). The Mets could put Bryant at third base, let Jeff McNeil go to second base, and could maybe move J.D. Davis in another deal (or back to the Cubs)? Or move another outfielder out? Dom Smith has to be too valuable at this point, right? There’s also the possibility that the universal DH can pop back up for the 2021 season, making the position player shuffling that much easier.
Tricky to say how this could play out for the Mets, but it is true that third base (or second base (or DH)) is a spot where the Mets could add a big bat.
I guess my point is just that you can’t rule this out, given the new owner, the new front office, and the clear push in 2021 to take advantage of this market. The report doesn’t indicate mere “interest” or some other generic, internal thing like that. It says recent trade talks. As in, the two sides have actually talked about this. According to the report, anyway.
My other point would be a reminder that the Cubs do not want to eat salary in a Bryant deal (though maybe taking back a big league contract is different?), so if something did happen here, you would not want to expect an eye-popping trade return. That’s the reality.
UPDATE: The original USA Today article has been updated in a small but significant way. The key sentence now reads: “Meanwhile, the Mets still are engaged with free-agent closer Liam Hendriks and center fielder George Springer, and have had trade talks with the Chicago Cubs for third baseman Kris Bryant.”
Catch the difference? They removed the word “recent.” Let me suggest that you only ninja edit something like that where you published, and then a source contacts you to correct the record. That is to say, either the initial source misspoke or was misunderstood and then called to correct, or, after seeing the report, someone with the Mets or the Cubs called out to say, nope, wasn’t “recent.” That seems a pretty notable update – probably one that should’ve been made more obvious – since a whole lot has changed among the Cubs and Mets over the past, say, week and a half. If the trade talks were back in November, that’s one thing. If the trade talks were this week, well, that’s something else entirely.
UPDATE 2: Well, now there is a report out of New York that says there have been recent talks …