We recently discussed the possibility that the Padres would want to go big in a deal with the Cubs, putting together a big enough offer to net a package of BOTH Willson Contreras and Ian Happ. This morning, Jeff Passan mentioned that the Cubs getting involved in some kind of package trade – various iterations – was “far likelier” than dealing all their best pieces one by one on deadline day.
So it’s unsurprising that the latest rumors involving the Cubs and Mets is on a package we’ve speculated about for weeks.
The Cubs can be a one-stop shop for the Mets:
The discussions are ongoing, and Ragazzo cautions that no deal is close. But Contreras, in particular, appears to be a focus for the Mets (as he should be).
The challenge in trading BOTH Contreras and Robertson to the Mets? Their farm system is exceptionally top-heavy, with their two best prospects, Francisco Alvarez and Brett Baty, wholly off-limits according to Ragazzo. I don’t like it, but I understand it.
From there, you’d be talking about a volume of guys who are outside top 50 consideration (but many of whom – Ronny Mauricio, Alex Ramirez, Mark Vientos, Matt Allan, etc. – are guys who could take a big step forward; they’re on that cusp). Of course, the Mets did also just add two first round picks to their farm system, though Kevin Parada and Jett Williams could not be traded for about six months (meaning they’d have to be SUPER awkward Players to Be Named Later … traded, but still being “developed” in another organization).
I say all that, and then I do have to remind myself: both Contreras and Robertson are rentals, and there are arguments that they are each of lesser value than the trio of big bats the Cubs dealt at the deadline last year. So maybe it isn’t realistic to pine for a top 50 prospect in a deal like this in the first place. It’s not like getting multiple guys in the 50 to 100 range, and/or just outside of it, would be a bad on-paper return.
Basically, I gotta start digging in more on the Mets system as it stands today, rather than where the prospect rankings were at the start of the season. I know that Mauricio and Vientos, for example, have taken steps back in the eyes of some, after previously being in that 50 to 100 range. Whereas Ramirez is kinda looking like he might be a stud. Allan is a Tommy John flier, but he’s the only pitcher in the group. For what that’s worth.
One reason to pay extra close attention to the Mets rumors today? The Mets, unlike – for one example – the Padres, are highly unlikely to be in the mix for Juan Soto, given the expected intradivisional costs. So the Mets might be willing to/wanting to jump the market a bit to get their preferred pieces before the Soto dust settles and other teams start scrambling. (Of course, that is a reason for the Cubs to want to wait as long as possible, or until they get a massive offer from the Mets.)