With the stove heating up sooner than everyone expected, I've found myself playing armchair GM even more than usual and been thinking about some trade possibilities for the Mets. I've included the ones I'm most proud of here, with some explanations as to why I like them.
At first glance, this trade doesn't seem to make much sense. The Mariners are quite possibly on the verge of signing Robinson Cano, and while this would make Nick Franklin expendable, replacing him with another second baseman doesn't make much sense. So what gives? The acquisiton of Murphy can give the Mariners a more dependable option at second base should they fail to sign Robinson Cano, and should they sign him, they can move Murphy to either third or first base.
Kyle Seager currently mans third for the Mariners, and Justin Smoak currently mans first. Seager, however, would become a very good trade chip for the Mariners. The market for third basemen is barren, and Seager would immediately become the best option available. In the midst of his controllable years, Seager has the athleticism to play third or second quite well, can hit for power, and is an overall above average ballplayer. Seager could become the headlining piece in a trade for Matt Kemp. Throw in one or two prospects, and the Mariners now have Murphy at third, Cano at second, and Kemp in the outfield.
If the Mariners plan on keeping Seager, Murphy can easily be slotted at first base. Defensive metrics peg Justin Smoak as a horrid defender at first, and moving him to DH could improve their infield defense immensely, regardless if they sign Cano or not.
For the Mets, the trade does a few things. First, it allows them to clear some payroll to acquire a free agent like Stephen Drew or perhaps a substantial starter. Second, it allows them to do so while mitigating the potential downgrade at second base. Eric Young Jr. relies primarily on his stolen base ability to be productive, and he has yet to play second base on a regular basis at the MLB level. Additionally, Wilmer Flores needs to work on being adequate defensively and developing his approach at the plate. Nick Franklin would become the team's best option at second base for Opening Day. Finally, Stefen Romero provides the potential to be a solid contributor with the bat combined with the ability to play corner outfield, corner infield, and second base. This deal is a win-win.
Despite his struggles at the plate, Ike Davis has struck out 10% less than either Astros 1B Brett Wallace or their DH, Chris Carter. Astros top 1B prospect Jonathan Singleton is also struggling mightily in AAA, where he had trouble even before getting suspended by the MLB. Simply put, if Ike Davis can even replicate his 2012 in the hitter-friendly Minute Maid Park, he's a huge improvement over any option the Astros currently have at his position, with the potential to possibly be had on a cheap extension. Given that Nick Tropeano isn't a favorite to start the year in the Astros rotation, and that Feliz isn't even one of the Top 5 pitching prospects in the Astros system, the potential gain by adding Davis mitigates the loss.
For the Mets, they get to unload Davis and acquire two non-trivial pieces: First, they receive Tropeano, a tall righty out of a SUNY school who projects to be a Dillon Gee type that can provide serviceable innings, and second Feliz, a power pitcher who projects to be either a relief ace or an interesting back end of the rotation piece.
Teams do not seem to be in any rush to acquire Davis, so this may be a reasonable return for the struggling first baseman.
Royals receive: Daniel Murphy
The justification for the Royals here is that they can upgrade at second base without losing Emilio Bonifacio, and if Mike Moustakos still struggles, they can move Murphy to third and start Bonifacio at second. Coleman is a great reliever, and Wade Davis is quite useful from the bullpen, but the team still has Holland, Crow, Collins, Hochevar, Herrera and more as relief aces. The other option on the trade market for them is Howie Kendrick, who would likely cost a starting pitcher, a luxury that the Royals cannot afford to lose.
On the Diamondbacks side of things, they lose A.J. Pollock, a decent hitter and a gifted center fielder, but they gain a controllable relief ace in Louis Coleman who can become the third shut-down arm in their bullpen, a solid pitching prospect in DeGrom who may become very important to them if they trade away a pitcher like Tyler Skaggs or Randall Delgado in a deal, and Nieuwenhuis.
The outfield mix for the D'backs would consist of Gerardo Parra and Cody Ross in the corners with Adam Eaton and Kirk Nieuwenhuis in center, with Tony Campana for speed. As the season progresses, the team can move Martin Prado back to a corner as well to allow Matt Davidson to get his reps at third base.
For the Mets, they lose Murphy and the salary associated with him, and receive a strong outfielder who can occasionally spell Granderson against lefties, Lagares if he struggles, or Young at times as well. Additionally, they receive Davis, who can either be deployed as a relief ace or as potential starting pitching depth.
Well that's all I got so far. Leave some creative trade ideas in the comments, and criticize mine!