The premise of this post is simple. The Mets have no room for Wilmer Flores. David Wright is the franchise cornerstone at third base, Daniel Murphy has second base locked down, the first base job looks like it will go to either Ike Davis or Lucas Duda, and shortstop is a complete mess, but it doesn't seem like the Mets are willing to give Flores the starting shortstop job. With that being said, the Yankees are going to be without Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano this year, which means they will be relying on Kelly Johnson and Brian Roberts for regular at-bats. Needless to say, the Yankees might be interested in a more youthful, athletic option. It seems to make perfect sense that the Yankees might want to trade for Wilmer Flores.
If you take a look at the Mets' needs, the first thing on the list is a shortstop. They are getting one from the Yankees. Move on. What else do we need? Matt Harvey, but once again, the Yankees can't help us. While the Mets have improved their starting outfield this year, they really do not have any top outfield prospects other than Cesar Puello, who is a huge question mark, and Brandon Nimmo, who is another huge question mark. The Yankees have a dearth of outfield prospects, so why not try to swing a trade for one of them in return for Wilmer Flores?
With the recent extension of Brett Gardner as well as the recent free agent additions of Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran, the Yankees have their starting outfield under contract for the next three seasons. They should have no reservations trading one of their outfield prospects if they have an opportunity to acquire an impact infielder of Wilmer Flores' caliber.
Taking a look at the Fangraphs Top 10 Prospects List as well as Keith Law's Top 10 Prospects List for the Yankees, there are four outfielders in their system who catch my attention: Mason Williams, Slade Heathcott, Aaron Judge, and Tyler Austin. Let's take a look at which ones might be the best match for the Mets.
Fangraphs rank in Yankees system: 4
Law rank: 3
A 21 year-old who reached AA in 2013, but had a disappointing season. Probably will never be a star, but has a good chance to be a solid everyday player.
Highest level: AA
Fangraphs scouting report: "The Scouting Report: Williams’ stock slipped in 2013 as he showed up a little out of shape and with inconsistent effort on the field. He lacked pop last year and, while he’ll probably never be a power hitter, he needs to keep his swing short and quick to the ball. When he’s right, Williams has above-average speed and the ability to swiped 20+ bases. Defensively, he’s a strong fielder with a good arm and range, as well as solid reads."
Fangraphs rank: 5
Law rank: 5
A toolsy player who is adept at getting on base and has a lot of range in center field, but has always been plagued by injuries due to his aggressive style of play.
Highest level: AA
Fangraphs scouting report: "To say Heathcott hustles is an understatement. Unfortunately, his all-out play lends itself to injuries — both of the serious and of the nagging varieties, which have cut into his development time and hindered his effectiveness. His aggression gets the better of him at the plate and he strikes out too much for someone who should be building his game around getting on base and letting others drive him in. Defensively, Heathcott plays a very good centre field with excellent range, good reads and an average arm."
Fangraphs rank: 6
Law rank: 6
A first round draft pick in 2013, gigantic size at 6'7'' and 230 pounds. Comes with enormous power potential and has a great arm for right field, but also strikes out a lot and has bad contact skills. He is kind of a lottery ticket because he has yet to play professionally.
Highest level: College
Fangraphs scouting report: "As expected with his size, Judge’s most impressive tool is his power but he struggles to keep a short, compact swing due to the sheer length of his arms. As a result, he may never hit of a high average but he should walk enough to produce a respectable on-base percentage to go along with the power output. Defensively, he has a very strong arm and enough range to stick in right field."
Fangraphs rank: 10
Law rank: 2
Doesn't have enough range for center field but should perform well defensively at a corner outfield spot. He has always been a big power hitter but a wrist injury hampered his power this year.
Highest level: AA
Fangraphs scouting report: "Seemingly, the wrist injury sapped much of Austin’s power in 2013 and he struggled to consistently drive the ball. His bat was noticeably slower last year. When he’s right, the outfielder shows good gap power with enough over-the-fence pop to make things interesting. He has a solid eye at the plate and isn’t afraid to take pitches and work the count. Defensively, Austin is an average corner outfielder with good arm strength."
Personally, while I love Judge's potential, I would like the Mets to get somebody closer to the big leagues. They already have a lottery ticket in Brandon Nimmo, and I would prefer somebody who can step up and contribute at the big league level starting in 2015. For that reason, I would like Mason Williams in return for Wilmer Flores. I think Mason Williams compares very well to Wilmer Flores. Neither of them projects to be a star in the big leagues, but in the right situation, both of them can be solid everyday players.
Do you think the Mets should try to trade Wilmer Flores to the Yankees? Which of the Yankees outfield prospects would you like in return? Would the Yankees be up for this?