In the wake of last month's non-waiver trade deadline, I've heard from several MLB insiders who say the price of young hitting is at an all-time high.
For instance, one AL executive said, "The Cubs wanting Cole Hamels (in a deal for one of their young infielders) should be an indicator to everyone that they're not taking just any pitching prospect."
It was a year ago that I first heard from friends at Wrigley Field that Starlin Castro would cost at least Zack Wheeler, who had made just 10 or so big-league starts at the time of the conversation. Castro is a three-time All Star, plays shortstop, has four straight years of at least 10 home runs and just turned 24.
Put it this way, given how much scoring is down all across baseball, and given how limiting the free agent market has been for offense, if Castro was on the Mets, what would it take to have you trade him away? What would a GM have to give you to get him in a deal?
In other words, "If the Cubs are trading one of those hitters, they're obviously going to want a proven pitcher, and probably another top minor-league arm in the deal," the same source said.
The Marlins will try to sign Giancarlo Stanton to a contract extension this winter, or look to trade him if talks end up going nowhere, say people familiar with the situation.
Last winter, buzz in Miami said a Mets package for Stanton would essentially need to be their best three or four prospects, including Matt Harvey, which is silly-talk if you ask me. However, Boston columnist John Tomase speculates that recently-acquired OF Yoenis Cespedes could be part of a package from Boston for Stanton, which could also include OF Jackie Bradley, among other highly-touted prospects (Boston Herald, Aug. 12).
In the end, a situation like Carlos Gonzalez with the Rockies may end up making the most sense for the Mets, if for no other reason than prospects can be off-set with money to cover his sizable, remaining contract. Stanton, Castro, etc., are making very little money right now, so their price can only be made up in players.
The point is, though, we like to talk about Sandy Alderson acquiring a 'big bat,' it's going to be easier said than done. He has the pitching prospects -- and young catchers -- to make a quality deal. However, it's going to be quite complicated and the competition is going to be fierce...