In the wake of trading Chris Sale to the Red Sox, multiple reports indicate the White Sox have started shopping several of their high-priced players.
So far, I have yet to read or hear of any rumors connecting the Mets to the White Sox. However, Chicago clearly has players that should be of interest to Sandy Alderson, specifically closer David Robertson, 1B Jose Abreu, and OF Adam Eaton...
David Robertson, RP (5-3, 3.47 ERA, 75 K's, 64 IP, 37 saves)
Trading Jay Bruce straight up for Robertson should appeal to both sides.
Bruce is due $13 million this season, after which he's a free agent. Meanwhile, Robertson, 31, will earn $12 million in 2017, $13 million in 2018, and then be a free agent. He's pitched big games in New York for the Yankees, he's a closer, he's been a setup guy and he's exactly the type of experienced, battle-tested, versatile pitcher Alderson has said he wants for this coming season.
I'm sure the White Sox would prefer to deal Robertson for upper-level prospects. And, if the Marlins, Yankees, Dodgers or Nationals miss out on free-agent closers Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen, maybe they'll meet Chicago's asking price. But, if they don't, trading Robertson for Bruce makes sense, since it would give the Mets a legit setup man and temporary closer, while eliminating $13 million from Chicago's 2018 budget.
Sure, Alderson probably doesn't want a 32-year-old, brittle relief pitcher (Robertson) making $13 million on his roster in 2018. But, there are worse problems to have, since Robertson, Addison Reed, and Jeurys Familia would be a terrific, powerful back of the bullpen.
Adam Eaton, OF (.284, .362 OBP, 14 HR, 29 2B, 14 SB, .428 SLG)
Eaton, who is good center fielder but an incredible right fielder, put up numbers last season that would be worth $30 million a season on the open market. Instead, he earned $2.7 million. He's due just $19 million during the next three season. In other words, he's a total bargain, plus he has affordable options for 2020 and 2021.
Yes, yes, obviously, I would love to see him in center or right field for the Mets, playing next to Michael Conforto and Yoenis Cespedes. The thing is, while his name will come up in the rumor mill, I don't believe the White Sox will actually trade him this winter.
The only argument for moving him would be that he, more than anyone else, is capable of bringing back multiple, top-quality prospects. At the same time, he's hugely productive, 28 years old, under contract and making little money during the next five seasons. He's the kind of player a rebuilding team might want to build around, not trade away. Plus, in a year when so many outfielders are available, it would make far more sense for Chicago to wait, let him do his thing, then trade him this summer or next winter.
Jose Abreu, 1B (.293, .353 OBP, 25 HR, 125 Ks, 100 RBI, .468 SLG)
Lastly, while I'm OK with the Mets starting 2017 with Lucas Duda at first base, I'm intriguing by Abreu, especially if the White Sox will take Duda back in trade.
Aug 30, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu (79) hits a single in the fifth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Abreu recently opted out of the remaining three years of his contract, instead letting his salary be dictated through the arbitration process. The way it stands, he's estimated to earn, say, $40-50 million during the next three seasons, though he can be non-tendered at any time.
Meanwhile, Duda is expected to earn $7 million this season, after which he is a free agent.
Abreu is a mostly average, occasionally below-average-fielding first baseman. In other words, in the field, he's about the same as Duda, with similar range and a similar arm. However, unlike Duda, he's had at least 600 plate appearances every year of his career, he hits righties and lefties, he hits home and away, and he's been incredibly consistent (month over month) during the last two seasons.
Abreu is not in the upper class of first basemen. Instead, I rank him below Freddie Freeman and Edwin Encarnacion, but better than Eric Hosmer and Wil Myers, who rank better than Duda.
Mets 1B Dominic Smith is not likely to reach the big leagues until late this season, at which point he isn't a candidate to start every day until 2018, maybe not until 2019. Smith is an awesome fielder and a great kid, but the jury is still out on his ability to hit for power in the big leagues. I'd hate to see the Mets pass up a chance to add a legit, consistent, fifth-in-the-order, power-hitting first baseman, like Abreu, because Smith might one day develop in to a full-time option.
What would I do?
In the event the White Sox decide they simply want to cut salary and not acquire multiple prospects, I'd pitch trading Bruce and Duda for Robertson and Abreu.
By doing this, the Mets would add better players at important positions and for only an additional $4-5 million in 2017. Similarly, the White Sox pick up a one-year first baseman with 30-home run potential and get Bruce for one season, who they could trade this summer. And they shed $40 million in future salary.
Later tonight, Robert Brender and I will be recording our final Winter Meetings Podcast, recapping the day and looking forward to what's on tap for Thursday.
If you have a trade idea and want to leave a voicemail with a question or comment for the show, call 1 (860) 245-9851 or use the following recorder (please remember to leave your name and city)...
Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) has been the lead writer of MetsBlog.com since 2003, as well as Executive Editor and Director of Digital Content for SNY.TV and host of the MetsBlog Q&ACast, pres. by Citi.