Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |
With the Mets interested in trading for Brewers closer Josh Hader, one question is how much the Mets would have to give up in order to land him. Another question is how much they should be willing to give up.
Arguably the best reliever in baseball, the 25-year-old Hader has immense value. He is entering his first of four arbitration years, and will likely get more expensive each season from 2020 to 2023.
It can be argued that with their farm system still in the midst of being rebuilt that the Mets should be focused on the free agent market when it comes to improving the bullpen. But if they are serious about going for Hader, it could make sense to also take back Ryan Braun (and a sizable portion of what he's owed) in order to provide the Brewers even more salary relief and make what they send to Milwaukee hurt less.
Here are some packages they can try to entice the Brewers with...
Mets get: Josh Hader, Ryan Braun
Brewers get: J.D. Davis OR Dominic Smith, Edwin Diaz, Mark Vientos
The 36-year-old Braun will count for $21 million against the luxury tax payroll in 2020, during what is his final year before hitting free agency. If the Mets take back Braun and a sizable chunk of what he's owed, they will be providing the Brewers with a ton of salary relief for 2020 and also adding someone who can play left field for them for one season.
In the above scenario, the Mets add Hader and Braun, play Braun in left field, and use Jeff McNeil at third base. For the Brewers, they could use Davis in the outfield or try him at first base. The same goes for Smith, who can play left field or first base.
The issue here for the Mets would be selling incredibly low on Diaz just one year after trading Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn in the deal for him. It can be argued that if Diaz (who is the same age as Hader and under control for one fewer season) returns to dominance in 2020, he'll be nearly as valuable as Hader. The Mets should be looking to add potential dominance to their bullpen, not subtract it or break even.
Mets get: Josh Hader, Ryan Braun
Brewers get: Dominic Smith OR J.D. Davis, Andres Gimenez, Mark Vientos
In the above scenario, the Mets subtract Diaz and add an additional prospect to the mix.
This is the kind of trade that makes more sense for the Mets, with them potentially not having a starting spot open for Davis and it seeming like they definitely don't have any spot at all for Dominic Smith.
If the Mets can get this done by dealing Davis or Smith plus Gimenez and Vientos, they would have to think very hard about pulling the trigger. The Brewers have a need at first base and maybe they can use Smith to fill it. Or maybe they think Davis can become a first baseman and fill that hole.
But the Brewers also need pitching (the Mets shouldn't be parting with any of their highly-touted arms right now), and have a good situation in their middle infield (where Gimenez would be).
In any iteration of the deals above, the Mets are taking on substantially more money than the Brewers and giving up many more years of team control of the players they're parting with.
When you're trying to trade for arguably the best reliever in baseball who is just 25 years old and is relatively inexpensive, it's going to hurt. But it just doesn't seem like this is the kind of trade the Mets should be making right now, nor does it seem like the Mets and Brewers match up particularly well.
The Mets should be making 3B Brett Baty, RHP Matthew Allan, C Francisco Alvarez, and INF Ronny Mauricio off limits in nearly every deal they discuss. It should go without saying that Jeff McNeil should also be off limits. They should also be trying hard to hang onto LHP David Peterson, who can be a solid starting rotation option as soon as this season, and RHP Josh Wolf.
Two of the Mets' other more intriguing pitching prospects -- Thomas Szapucki and Franklyn Kilome -- probably don't have the clout necessary to be a key piece in a deal for Hader.
New York should also not be selling low on Diaz, who is a prime rebound candidate for 2020 and who is just one season removed from being basically as valuable as Hader.
So unless the stars align when it comes to a Hader trade, it would be wise for the Mets to sit this one out and instead turn to the free agent market to improve the bullpen.