Catch up here: It's Time To Sell Part 1 OK, good? Then let's get right to the listing.
6. Luis Castillo
Contract Status: Owned $18M over the next 3 years. But you already knew that.
Free Agent Compensation: Believe it or not, he's almost a B.
Value: If Castillo had a bounce back season, the pennant was ours, right? Anyway, Luis has made a nice recovery after his overblown, but trade value crippling 2008. His legs look better, his BABIP is higher, and his range has improved from abysmal to average. While he can't beat out balls like in the glory days, Castillo has managed to remain pretty productive by basically becoming a parody of himself, refusing to swing at anything. .388 OBP is useful.
Why He's Ranked Here: Despite his value according to WAR probably exceeding $6M this year, Castillo's contract length will probably preserve the perception of him as a sunk cost. The Mets would be wise to trade Castillo to anyone who would take on part of the contract, while he's still getting away with not swinging at anything. Eating all the money and seeking prospects or swapping bad contracts are also possibilities, as long as the bad contract is more Milton Bradley than Jose Guillen.
7. Bobby Parnell
Contract Status: 400K, not year arbitration eligible, under team control for the next six years.
Free Agent Compensation: N/A
Value: With a 3.71 FIP and a 4.13 tRA, Parnell's value has been anything between a tenth or a third of a win, which makes him a good value, but an unspectacular reliever. He's a power arm making league minimum, and seemingly every trade rumor comes down to some team asking for him.
Why He's Ranked Here: I asked if the Mets should trade Bobby back when I thought his value was peaking, and his ERA has become significantly less pretty since then. I just don't see anything special about Parnell, he doesn't get groundballs or swinging strikes and doesn't have particularly good control. He throws hard, but he's more predictable than Pelfrey with the fastball. There's some power-reliever potential there, but I'd seriously consider that rumored Halladay offer if I was the Mets.
Verdict: Hold, unless someone in need of bullpen helps offers a legitimate starting or position player prospect in return. Youth saves him.
8. Francisco Rodriguez
Contract Status: Owed $37M over the next three years with a $17.5M option for a fourth year, that will mostly likely vest. Limited no-trade clause allows him to block trades to ten clubs of his choice.
Free Agent Compensation: Type A
Value: With another sterling ERA and a boatload of saves, many still view Francisco Rodriguez as one of the premier relievers in the league. Of all the players so far, he's the one most likely to fetch a legitimate package of prospects.
Why He's Ranked Here: While the ERA looks good, the perihpherals continue to decline for Frankie. After his strikeout rate dropped from 12 to 10 K/9 last year, it's down all the way to 9 this year. His walk rate has increased similarly. His. 236 BABIP is not sustainable, and his ERA is likely to move closer to his 3.56 FIP as the season moves along. As hard as it is to accept for some, he's just a 1 WAR player right now, worth ~$5M not $12.5M and certainly not $17.5M.
Verdict: Sell. He may never look this good again, and the market is full of buyers. It's better to cut bait now than to accept the Titanic of vesting options later. I doubt this one gets explored by the team, and that's a shame.
9. Jeff Francoeur
Contract Status: Owed $3.375M this year, arbitration eligible.
Free Agent Compensation: Type B
Value: He's fixed! Chance of scenery worked!
Why He's Ranked Here: Now flip him to the Royals.
Verdict: Well they didn't ask me the first time.
10. Carlos Beltran
Contract Status: Signed through '11, owed $18.5M each season. Full no-trade clause.
Free Agent Compensation: A...plus
Value: There aren't any other consistently 6+ WAR centerfielders in baseball.
Why He's Ranked Here: Don't shoot! I don't want to trade 'tron either, but with the recurring knee injuries I wanted to throw it out there for discussion. If you're into the trading the core idea, Beltran would seem like the first to go, considering the potential for long-term diminished range and his fantastic, yet comparatively large, contract.
Verdict: I want to see Beltran get a ring with the Mets. Just thought I'd say it.
Finally, please remember the purpose of this list: to identify the players the Mets would most benefit from trading, considering their contracts and future worth to the team. I'm not sure what each player would fetch on this market, and criticisms that run along the lines of "you wouldn't get a ___ prospect for ___" are relevant but can border on inane, especially when the critic doesn't really have any unique knowledge of the situation. Besides, saying a given player could help another team is within my realm of judgment, but obviously does not make that team automatically interested. So take this list for what it's worth, especially these five, who are very unlikely to get traded.