John Buck joins a couple notable names that may be jettisoned come late July.
Maybe the Mets surprise this season and have a great first half. It's possible. Not many gave them any chance of hanging around the first half of 2012... and just prior to the deadline the Mets were in the thick of things.
But going the other route, assuming the Mets won't be in serious contention until 2014 or 2015, the Mets may have a few valuable trade chips come deadline time:
(1) Johan Santana - 2013 will be his third season removed from surgery. Not many expected the brilliance he showed prior to his no hitter. I'm leaning towards the optimists side here and am going to say that Johan does very well in the first half of 2013. Hands down the best case scenario is that Johan jumps back into Ace mode and will be there for the picking come July.
(2) Frank Francisco - Yes... his 2012 numbers were no good. But let's assume for argument and histories sake that FF returns to norm. "Norm" being a low to mid 3 ERA, a whip of 1.2ish, and he continues to do what he did fairly well last year... save games. Seeing that 2012 was hands down his worst statistical year of his 7 full seasons, I don't think these assumptions are too outlandish.
(3) John Buck - Here's a guy who's hit double digit HR in 7 of his 9 MLB seasons. He brings some pop and has shown the ability to drive in 50-55 runners consistently and was an All-star 2 seasons ago. A catcher with some pop can be a nice commodity for a team looking to add gear up for the postseason.
Again, hoping the Mets are in contention and aren't selling at the deadline, but it would take all the right bounces to be in contention.
These three chips all have contracts expiring at the end of 2013 and may further help fortify a rapidly improving farm system.
The Mets supposedly shopped Santana during winter meetings (with premise of eating part of his salary) with NO response/offer. Maybe the Mets will be able to attain a one or two mid level prospects for Santana, but I see a limited market for an aging pitcher with a medical related shutdown and current salary.
Would you honestly trade away a blue chip prospect for a aging starting pitcher that has started only 21 games in the past two years? Would you gamble your job for a pitcher that may not make it to the playoffs?
Santana- if he is having any kind of year, yea you have to trade him at the deadline.. Hopefully paying the money will help us get a prospect.. I have faith in Sandy as far as that goes..
Francisco- If he is having a good year and gets Type-A free agency the compensation sandwich pick might be better than any player the Mets would be offered..
Buck- Mets will be lucky to a D- rated prospect for Buck..
i am really hoping Santana has a nice bounce back year. If so he can be a nice trade chip for a contending team and we can probably get a nice piece or two.
Remember Beltran had zero to no trade value with his high salary and bad knees...then he comes out and has a great year and he turns into Zach Wheeler one of the best pitching prospects in the game.
Santana comes back pitching well and we are out of it maybe we can net something nice.
Harvey, Niese, Wheeler are our core. Gee is a solid 4th or 5th. Than hopefully Snydergaard becomes a nice pieces down the road with Fulmer but in the meantime we can survive with a veteran piece.
If Santana pitches as well as he did into the beginning of July last year then there is no doubt in my mind that we will have multiple teams offering a top prospect for him...if we eat all or most of the salary of course. If Santana is traded, there is NO REASON why we shouldn't be picking up the entire contract. If he is owed 10m at the time of the trade, we better be sending the receiving team 10m...not 7...not 5....and certainly not a pure salary dump move. Dealing Santana should have the MAXIMUM return available in mind.
Francisco could have a little bit of value if he racks up some saves at a respectable ERA. Could bring back a decent prospect if we ate the whole salary. He could even be packaged with Santana or Buck to increase the return.
Buck could maybe bring back a low A guy or relief pitcher if he is having a good year...probably could be packaged in another trade for something better.
You mean like an aging outfielder with bad knees that was shifted to right field because he didn't have the range to play center anymore and had missed most of the previous season... that guy... traded for one of the most coveted right arms in baseball?
If Santana pitches through July like he pitched through last July... there's potential to bring back a very good piece. A good chunk of salary would be eaten, just like it was with Beltran.
I know we all would love to trade Santana and get back a good prospect, but there are so many obstacles to this I just can't see it happening.
Typically, teams looking for pitching at the deadline are doing so because they are making a playoff push. By all accounts, the Mets are expecting 150-180 innings out of Santana. If that's the case any team acquiring him would not be able to count on him down the stretch or into the post season.
But let's say Santana is completely healthy and pitching well and we're willing to eat his salary.
He still has a 2014 option at $24 million that converts at 215 innings. Last season he made 17 first half starts and threw 103 innings. In his career he has never made 30 starts and pitched less than 215 innings.
Those first 17 starts took him to July 6th. The Mets are going to have to limit his starts and innings to make him a viable deadline acquisition.
I would be shocked if it happened.
But GMs today seem to be slightly mentally r.etarded, so we can't rule it out. He would have to have a great first half with zero hiccups as far as his health is concerned, however.