The New York Mets, along with the Philadelphia Phillies, are said to be showing the “heaviest trade interest” in Texas Rangers LHP Mike Minor, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. However, the Mets are on Minor’s ten-team no-trade list, which could make it more difficult for the two sides to finalize a deal. Anthony DiComo of MLB.com also added that nothing appears imminent.
Minor, the seventh overall pick in the 2009 MLB Draft, began his career as a starting pitcher for the Atlanta Braves. He established himself as serviceable starter during that time, posting a 4.10 ERA, a 3.90 FIP, 7.8 K/9, and a 2.6 BB/9 in five seasons with Atlanta. After missing the entire 2015 and 2016 seasons following surgery to repair a torn labrum, he re-emerged as a relief pitcher for the Kansas City Royals—where he worked with current Mets pitching coach Dave Eiland—and enjoyed his best season in the major leagues. He finished 2017 with a 2.55 ERA and a 2.62 FIP, both career bests, in 77.2 innings out of the pen.
He signed a three-year deal with the Rangers last December and moved back into the rotation. He made 28 starts for Texas in 2018 and posted a 4.18 ERA and a 4.43 FIP, which was good for a 3.8 bWAR. While his strikeouts dipped from the previous year (20.6% strikeout rate), he did post the second-lowest walk rate of his career (5.9%). Minor is signed through 2020 and is set to earn $9.833 million over the next two years.
The 30-year-old Minor would likely serve as the primary left-hander out of the Mets’ bullpen and would provide some much-needed starting pitching depth. The team, as currently constructed, has a lack of options at Triple-A, should any of their pitchers miss significant time with an injury. Outside of the team’s five starting pitchers—and with Seth Lugo likely destined to remain in the bullpen—the next-best options to start are Corey Oswalt and Chris Flexen.
It’s not clear what it would take to acquire Minor, although DiComo noted that the Rangers asked the Mets about pitching prospects David Peterson and Anthony Kay during the Winter Meetings. Peterson and Kay are currently ranked fourth and fifth, respectively, on the team’s Top 30 prospects list, according to MLB Pipeline. Given Minor’s price tag, the team could look to move one of their own expensive contracts in the deal. This could include third baseman Todd Frazier ($9 million), center fielder Juan Lagares ($9 million), or starter Jason Vargas ($8 million).