A version of this article was originally published on Dec. 20, 2019
Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |
The Mets had trade discussions earlier this season with the Indians about Francisco Lindor and discussions with the Astros about Carlos Correa. Both of those players are tremendous talents, with Lindor offering more certainty and Correa being a player you can dream on.
But while Lindor and Correa would both be franchise-altering additions for the Mets, neither -- due to what it would take to trade for them and the limited team control they have -- is a perfect fit. Mookie Betts could be, but he could easily fall in love with Los Angeles and re-sign with the Dodgers this offseason.
While it's fun to envision Lindor or Correa or Betts in orange and blue, the player it makes the most sense for the Mets to set their sights on is Nolan Arenado.
Soon after rumors about Arenado started swirling in December, Arenado had an in-public spat with Rockies GM Jeff Bridich. While things have cooled down since then, the main issue at hand -- Arenado not believing the Rockies are close to contending -- remains.
And Joel Sherman of the New York Post wrote on Wednesday that an Arenado trade again feels inevitable.
If the Rockies do wind up making Arenado available and he is willing to eliminate the opt-out from his contract as a condition of a trade, the Mets should pounce.
With Arenado, the Mets would be getting a soon-to-be-29-year-old who is elite on both sides of the ball and under team control through the 2026 season.
They would be getting a player who has slashed .295/.351/.546 during his seven-year career while averaging 36 homers, 40 doubles, and just 104 strikeouts per 162 games played.
They would be getting a seven-time Gold Glove award winner and five-time All-Star who has finished in the Top 10 in MVP voting each of the last five seasons.
They would be getting another infield cornerstone to go along with Pete Alonso.
Like Lindor or Correa or Betts, the Mets would be getting a franchise-altering talent. But Arenado -- if he is willing to eliminate the opt-out --would be in Queens through 2026.
As is the case with most players who call Coors Field home, Arenado has home/road splits that are rather stark. His career slugging percentage at home is .615 and just .476 on the road. In 2019, he slugged a ridiculous .645 at home and a still-elite .521 on the road.
While those splits should give any team a tiny bit of pause, it should also be noted that while Rockies players benefit from playing at Coors Field, they are also at a disadvantage due to having to adjust to different air qualities each time they leave the thin air of Colorado to go on the road.
In any event, it's fair to say that any team would rightly gamble on Arenado remaining a beast if he no longer played his home games at Coors.
For the Mets, trading for Arenado would allow them to shift Jeff McNeil to left field and give them the option of trading J.D. Davis to fill other needs or having him on the bench as someone who can fill in at third base or left field. And with Arenado in tow, the Mets' lineup one-through-eight in 2020 could look something like this:
1. Brandon Nimmo, CF
2. Jeff McNeil, LF
3. Nolan Arenado, 3B
4. Pete Alonso, 1B
5. Michael Conforto, RF
6. Wilson Ramos, C
7. Robinson Cano, 2B
8. Amed Rosario, SS
As far as what it would it take to make the above dream a reality, that would depend on how much of the money due to Arenado the Rockies would be willing to absorb and the kind of prospects they would prioritize getting in return.
For the Mets, it could likely mean letting go of some combination of Brett Baty, Matthew Allan, Ronny Mauricio, and Francisco Alvarez -- arguably their four most highly coveted prospects, all of whom have blue chip potential.
When it comes to how Arenado could fit financially, that's a different story. And any trade for Arenado or another highly-paid player might have to wait until the ownership situation is resolved. But if Arenado is out there, the Mets need to go for it.