In his latest notebook column for FanRag Sports Network, baseball insider Jon Heyman says that the Mets are casting a wide net in their search for a second baseman on the trade market. All “possibly-available” players at that position will be considered, and that includes Ian Kinsler, Cesar Hernandez, Dee Gordon, Brian Dozier, and Jason Kipnis.
New York has already re-signed Asdrubal Cabrera, but the club has made it clear that it wants the veteran infielder to play third base while a new second baseman is added from outside the organization. We’re previously heard that the Mets have talked to Detroit about Kinsler, who has just one year and $11 million left on his current deal, but Heyman says that New York is not “currently engaged” with the Tigers.
Hernandez would be a similarly affordable option, as he has three years of team control left, plays great defense, and posted a .373 on-base percentage last season. However, all those things seem to make him worth holding onto for Philadelphia, a team that is due to start competing again sooner rather than later. On the other hand, the Phillies’ deep farm system, which includes middle infield prospects J.P. Crawford and Scott Kingery, could make Hernandez expendable.
If the Mets are going to trade within the division, Gordon might make more sense. The new Miami ownership group has made it known that it wants to cut salary, and the three years and $37 million remaining on Gordon’s contract could prove cumbersome. Gordon will be 32 years old when his deal expires, but he could provide the Mets will a good deal of speed and athleticism that their lineup lacked last year. Plus, he might not cost too much in terms of prospects if New York is willing to take on all the money he’s owed.
Kipnis is an interesting buy-low option because he hit like a star player in both 2015 and 2016, but struggled mightily last season while fighting through neck and hamstring injuries. He’s the guy that Mets fans will groan about due to his recent history, but Kipnis was also a great player for a long time who Cleveland doesn’t seem to have a position for right now. The club moved him to center field late last year and he could be open to switching franchises if he’s able to return to his natural position.
A move for Dozier is probably more likely this July than it is right now because the Twins are coming off of a postseason run. If they fall back down to Earth, moving Dozier in the final year of his deal would make sense, but right now, trading such a star offense player — at least 30 home runs, 15 stolen bases, and five WAR in each of his last two years — would disillusion a fan base that is still riding high off of 2017’s incredible campaign.
Dozier is the centerpiece of Minnesota’s offense, and Hernandez is too important to Philadelphia’s future for the club to give him up cheaply. Instead, look for the Mets to focus on Kinsler, Gordon, or Kipnis in the coming months. Each guy doesn’t quite fit in with his current club and could give New York’s offense a major boost in 2017.