We all know Ruben Tejada isn’t a long term solution at SS. There also is very little in the farm until Cecchini or Rosario gets here (unless you trust Flores at SS), for at least 2-3 years away. The free agent market looks promising, but also expensive. So what to do?
Well lets take a look at the Mariners. The Mariners have a glut of middle infielders; Robinson Cano, Nick Franklin, and Brad Miller. It is a well known fact that there are only 2 middle infield positions. It seems like a deal could be made. When looking at the Mariners needs it appears that they would want an outfielder or starting pitcher.
They currently have three viable SP on the DL and King Felix. The other 4 in the rotation now range from very bad to awful. So, even if everyone is healthy they still need another SP. Their OF is also a mess. We can’t help that much in the OF department, but we do have some excess of starters. The Mariners are hoping to make a playoff run this year, so someone who could help right away would be preferable to them.
So, then the question is which one of the Mariners middle infielders should we target? Cano is out for obvious reasons. The Mariners seem set on having Brad Miller be their starting SS. That leaves Franklin. But, I don’t want Franklin. He is not really a short stop. I think it is very important for our young pitchers to be able to trust the defense behind them. A Murphy Franklin middle infield combo would not allow them to do that. In addition, he would leave us without a leadoff hitter. You want your leadoff hitter to have an OBP above .350. He does not, not even close. Now obviously SS does not have to be where your leadoff man goes, but on our team that is the only open spot. The final point against Franklin is that the Mariners will demand a lot fro Franklin, more than I would give.
So then who? No, not Nick Evans. Rather another Mariners middle infielder, Chris Taylor. Chris Taylor is a 23 year old SS currently playing in Tacoma (AAA). Here is part of what Fangraphs had to say about him:
"Taylor is an all-glove shortstop who is doing a great job at shoving that label up the backsides of clubs who passed on him for that reason."
Here is Sickels, who gave him a B-:
"Looks to have a broad base of skills, good defense, on base ability, speed, gap power, has outhit expectations so far."
He does not have that much power, he posted a .090 ISO in AA last year. But, scouts say he still has some room to fill out. He strikes out a fair amount, 18-20%, but also walked at a 13% rate last year. Last year in AA his line was .293/.391/.383. Now, some of that was BABIP influenced, but even if it fell 40 points he would still have an OBP above .350. Plus, given his speed he should have an above average BABIP. Which reminds me, he is fast. Last year he was 38 of 43 stealing bases, an 88% success rate. For what it is worth he is also hitting well this season. He could probably be up around July of this year. All in all sounds to me like a good leadoff hitter, great defensive SS and a perfect fit.
So what would it take to get him? Here are some hypothetical trade packages:
1. Jacob Degrom for Chris Taylor. Both are B- prospects according to Sickels, so the value is about even. Degrom can slide into their starting rotation if needed.
2. Eric Young for Chris Taylor. They need an OF, they can have EY. Plus this way Collins will never be able to consider benching Lagares for EY. Probably not enough to get the trade done.
3. Jacob DeGrom or Vic Black to Cardinals, Chris Taylor to Mets, Jon Jay to Mariners. Jay is a solid outfielder, a center fielder with a career OPS of around .750. But, he has no spot in the Cardinals OF now. This season he was bumped into the 4th outfielder role. But, Oscar Taveras, one of the best prospects in the game, will be called up soon and make him next to useless. He would slot in nicely in the Mariners outfield. If you think that is not enough for Jay add in a lesser prospects for the Mariners or Mets.
These are just a few possible ways to get a deal done. Hopefully I convinced you that Chris Taylor would be great for the Mets. Now, I am not necessarily advocating for doing this right now, but I would love to see it happen sometime before the trade deadline. He would solve our leadoff and SS problem, and be relatively inexpensive to acquire.