by Mike Gallagher ( @MikeSGallagher)
The July 31st deadline is just around the corner and this time it’s different. The Mets will be unloading one huge trade chip to a team looking for that extra middle-of-the-order hitter. While the Mets have been playing better, both the fans and the organization know that this year is not the year. That means, as sad as it is, Carlos Beltran is as good as gone.
The recent news this weekend suggests that the Mets will be willing to eat the remaining $6 million on his contract once the deadline hits. Under most circumstances this wouldn’t be a big deal since most of the teams looking to acquire an extra bat tend to be the high-rolling Yankees, Red Sox or Angels. Again, this year is different.
Teams like the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cleveland Indians are currently leading their divisions and have payrolls of $46 million and $49 million, respectively. Furthermore, those two teams have fairly deep farm systems that include areas of weakness for the Mets at the major-league and minor-league levels.
The following is a list of players that Mets should be hoping to get back for a player that is arguably the best hitter on the market at the trade deadline. Just to be clear, this is just a wish list, so the likelihood of getting the one of the guys in the top five is pretty slim:
1. Julio Teheran (RHP Atlanta Braves AAA): He was up earlier in the year for the Braves and the Phillies beat him up pretty good. Make no mistake, this guy is the best pitching prospect in the NL East by a mile. Yeah, there’s no way the Mets will be able to get this guy.
2. Domonic Brown (OF Philadelphia Phillies MLB): Brown hasn’t done much this year for the Phillies by sporting a Bay-like average of .244 and a .723 OPS. Brown has all the skills in the field, on the bases and the lanky lefty should have some pop once he fills out his frame. The Phillies would really be foolish to dump their best prospect for a rental like Beltran.
3. Jacob Turner (RHP Detroit Tigers AA): Jim Leyland recently shot down the idea that Turner would be up in the near future to fill their season-long problem in the fifth spot of the rotation. Turner doesn’t really have the eye-popping numbers that go with the talent over his 105 innings pitched with a record of 3-4, a 3.49 ERA, 82 strikeouts and 31 free passes this year. It’s almost a lock that he will be starting games in April of 2012 at the latest.
4. Martin Perez (LHP Texas Rangers AAA): Perez just made his first start for Triple-A Round Rock after posting a 3.16 ERA in the Texas League. He uses his upper-90s heater to go with a changeup and both of his pitches figure to translate to the big leagues. The numbers have been improving throughout the year and he has seen his walks come down a bit, so his upward-trending skills make him a coveted prospect for a team like the Mets. However, thanks to the production of Endy Chavez, the Rangers aren’t in dire straits for an outfielder. If the Mets can reel in Perez at the deadline, they’d do very well for themselves.
5. Zack Wheeler (LHP San Francisco Giants A): Despite some command issues, Wheeler isn't quite a major-league-ready player, but he is right up the Mets’ alley for pitching needs. The Mets could always use another lefty with the way the arch-rival Phillies are laden with lefties and the Mets have more right-handed pitching on farm than lefties.
6. Jameson Taillon (RHP Pittsburgh Pirates A): Taillon is a six-foot-six beast that has already shown command as a 19-year-old pitcher. Taillon has walked just nine batters in his 56.2 innings of work this season with Single-A West Virginia. He was the second pick of the 2010 MLB Draft and there’s really no chance he heads to Queens before July 31st.
7. Arodys Vizcaino (RHP Atlanta Braves AA): Vizcaino was one of the stars of the Futures Game in Phoenix on July 10th. He showed a good mix of pitches and better command than his numbers suggest for most of the season. Vizcaino has been punching guys out with 53 K in 47.2 innings this year in the Southern League. He is only a six-footer, but his stuff is electric.
8. Brandon Belt (1B San Francisco Giants MLB): Belt has shined at every level in the minors, including Arizona Fall League with several major leaguers on those rosters. He’s not a huge power hitter and his primary position is at first base, so he’s not exactly a tailor-made player for the Mets’ lineup. However, the Giants have experimented with him in the outfield and there hasn’t been much talk of him being a complete failure.
9. Lonnie Chisenhall(3B Cleveland Indians MLB): Chisenhall is currently playing third base for the Indians in a semi-platoon situation with Jack Hannahan. Obviously he’d have to play the outfield or second base should the Mets acquire him. Although his defense at third isn’t spectacular by any stretch of the imagination making the switch a somewhat logical one. Chisenhall is a sweet-swinging lefty that should hit for a nice average and get on base quite a bit as a two, five or six hitter in the next year.
10. Jason Kipnis (2B Cleveland Indians AAA): The Arizona State product would be a huge help in a gaping hole the Mets have been trying to plug for years: second base. Kipnis was on the same ASU team with Ike Davis and the two of them together on the right side of the infield could be a pleasant sight for years to come. J.K. also touched up Julio Teheran, the top guy on this wish list, for a homer in the first inning of the Futures Game.
He’s another lefty and has much more pop at second that the most of his soon-to-be counterparts currently in the majors. Kipnis is really the first guy on this list that has a decent chance to become a Met.
11. Manny Banuelos (LHP New York Yankees AA): A lefty from Mexico? Sounds pretty scary for Mets fans after Oliver Perez, right? Banuelos has been smooth sailing for the most part with the Trenton Thunder with a 3.64 ERA and 86 strikeouts in 84 innings of work. The down side of Banuelos has been an Ollie-like 45 walks. It makes a heck of a lot more sense for the Yanks to go after a pitcher, but like Kevin Garnett said, "Anything is possible!"
12. Drew Pomeranz (RHP Cleveland Indians AA): Pomeranz is really the clear-cut second-best pitcher in the minors in the AL Central behind Mr. Turner. Pomeranz didn’t make a big splash at the Futures Game by allowing four earned runs in just 0.2 innings pitched. Yikes. As bad as that sounds, Pomeranz was one of the pitchers in Class-A with a sterling 1.87 ERA and 95 strikeouts in 77 innings pitched. Those monster numbers recently got him his promotion to Double-A and he’ll be ready for the bigs at some point next year.
13. Jarred Cosart (RHP Philadelphia Phillies A): Sadly, Cosart is known more for his public break-up on Twitter with his ex, but this guy can certainly pitch and will be giving the Mets fits in a couple years. The Texan hasn’t been dominant just yet with 4.13 ERA and 1.28 WHIP. Those numbers are a bit high due to his 38 walks in 96 innings, which should come down with more seasoning on the farm. The Phillies are the frontrunner, and Mets fans should be pretty happy to get a guy like Cosart back in return.
14. Jonathan Singleton (1B/OF Philadelphia Phillies A): Singleton had the unenviable position of being a major prospect at first base for the Phillies. Needless to say, they have that position covered for the foreseeable future. Once the Philadelphia brass was somewhat smitten with the six-foot-two, 215-pound lefty, they decided to shift him to the outfield. He is only 19 years of age, is getting on base much better than he should be, has seven bombs and has a respectable .777 OPS in 83 games.
15. Jesus Montero (C New York Yankees AAA): Montero was one of the top-five prospects on almost every board in the 2010 preseason, but he has yet to take the next step with almost two years with Scranton. Montero has really cooled off this year with getting hits. He had a batting average of .365 in April, but he hasn’t cleared the .270 mark in any month this season. The Yankees also have two other very good prospects at the catching position. Josh Thole isn’t the answer and a deal for Montero might happen as long as the Yankees don’t get an elite pitcher.
16. Will Middlebrooks (3B Boston Red Sox AA): Middlebrooks has taken a huge step since reaching the Double-A level with an average of .307 and an OPS of .867. The 22-year-old infielder is rising fast and will likely be in a big-league uniform next year. The Red Sox and Mets are covered at third base, so Middlebrooks would have to shift to the outfield a la Ryan Braun, assuming he finds himself in the bigs with either of those teams.
17. Dellin Betances (RHP New York Yankees AA): He’s six-foot-eight and he’s a New York kid. What’s not to like? Betances has been struggling with his command a bit for the Trenton Thunder with 45 walks in 80.2 innings this year. On the other hand, he has a ridiculous .196 BAA and a pristine 2.90 ERA. Once he gets his command in order, his future figures to be bright.
18. Josh Reddick (OF Boston Red Sox MLB): Reddick has been so great lately that the Red Sox might be revaluating their stance on adding an outfielder at the deadline. Reddick has Ted Williams-esque .378 average in his 82 at-bats this year and has played fantastic defense for the Sox.How he plays in the next week or so will be a huge factor in whether or not Boston will pursue Carlos.
Thanks for reading!