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‘Borrowing’ a player from each of the Mets’ NL East rivals

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Don’t worry, we’ll give them back.

MLB Washington Nationals Spring Training Photo by Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via Getty Images

It is currently “Rivalry Week” at SB Nation, so now is a good time for a fun exercise in jealousy: taking a look at each National League East team and choosing which player would most improve the Mets for this season. The choices are for this upcoming season only, independent of each other selection, and contracts are not taken into account.

Atlanta Braves

The candidates: Ronald Acuña, Ozzie Albies, Freddie Freeman, Max Fried, Mike Soroka

Soroka had a fantastic rookie season, but the jury is still out on whether or not he can continue to suppress his ERA to the extent that he did last season. Fried has big breakout potential, but he needs to take that next step before he’s a serious contender. There are a number of better options among the position players, and one sticks out above the rest; Acuña is an absolute stud. Playing above-average defense to go along with one of the most dynamic power / speed packages in the game, he would plop down right in the heart of the Mets’ lineup and immediately transform it into one of the best in the league. Freeman, Albies, or Marcell Ozuna would also upgrade the lineup, but to a slightly lesser extent. That being said, I am taking The Freeze.

The pick: Acuña

Poll

Which Braves player would you borrow for the 2020 season?

This poll is closed

  • 81%
    Ronald Acuńa
    (274 votes)
  • 3%
    Ozzie Albies
    (12 votes)
  • 6%
    Freddie Freeman
    (23 votes)
  • 0%
    Max Fried
    (3 votes)
  • 6%
    Mike Soroka
    (22 votes)
  • 0%
    Other
    (2 votes)
336 votes total Vote Now

Miami Marlins

The candidates: Sandy Alcántara, Brian Anderson, Sixto Sánchez, Jonathan Villar

You may notice that the above candidates are much less impressive than every other team’s offerings, which is not surprising considering how bad the Marlins were last year. Alcántara can throw hard, but needs to learn to miss more bats and miss the strike zone less. Sánchez has even more impressive potential than Alcántara, but he’s just too much of a wild card right now. If he had a few more months of seasoning in the minors, or if this were for a full 162 game season, he might be the pick. Pablo López, Trevor Richards, Caleb Smith and Jordan Yamamoto are all interesting arms as well, and Smith’s strikeout upside is particularly intriguing, but I don’t think I’d seriously consider any of them until I see more. Villar is coming off of a great season, but has been up-and-down over his career and there’s good reason to be skeptical about him carrying over his success into this season. So that leaves Brian Anderson, an unexciting choice, but perhaps the best fit for the current Mets roster. His strong defense at third base would let Jeff McNeil to play all over, while allowing for everyone else to get more time at DH as needed.

The pick: Anderson

Poll

Which Marlins player would you borrow for the 2020 season?

This poll is closed

  • 27%
    Sandy Alcántara
    (71 votes)
  • 33%
    Brian Anderson
    (86 votes)
  • 19%
    Sixto Sánchez
    (51 votes)
  • 11%
    Jonathan Villar
    (29 votes)
  • 8%
    Other
    (22 votes)
259 votes total Vote Now

Philadelphia Phillies

The candidates: Bryce Harper, Aaron Nola, J.T. Realmuto, Zack Wheeler

Adding Bryce Harper would give the Mets’ lineup a huge boost, especially during the first sixth of the regular season. Realmuto is one of the best catchers in the game, and is someone the Mets will likely be interested in should he reach free agency. He would be a huge defensive upgrade with the potential to provide a sizable improvement on offense as well. And that’s not even to say anything about how much better of a base runner he is than Wilson Ramos, one of the slowest players the Mets have had since John Olerud. As good as Wheeler has been the past two years, Nola would be the choice if we decide to go with a pitcher. Nola had a relatively disappointing season after his fabulous 2018, but he’s still established himself as a rock solid top-of-the-rotation pitcher over the past three seasons. Even if he’s just the #2 he was last year, that would go a long way towards filling the hole left by the injury to Noah Syndergaard. This is basically a toss-up between Realmuto and Nola, with Harper just a half-step behind. The deciding factor is that having another potential ace in the rotation would be paramount come playoff time, and isn’t the main goal here to win a championship?

The pick: Nola

Poll

Which Phillies player would you borrow for the 2020 season?

This poll is closed

  • 14%
    Bryce Harper
    (47 votes)
  • 16%
    Aaron Nola
    (51 votes)
  • 60%
    J.T. Realmuto
    (192 votes)
  • 8%
    Zack Wheeler
    (27 votes)
  • 0%
    Other
    (1 vote)
318 votes total Vote Now

Washington Nationals

The candidates: Patrick Corbin, Max Scherzer, Juan Soto, Stephen Strasburg, Trea Turner

This is perhaps the toughest choice of all. We can scratch Strasburg and Corbin off the list; as good as they both are, if we’re taking a Nationals pitcher for one short season, it’s going to be Scherzer. Turner would be an upgrade at either middle infield spot, but if we’re taking a hitter, it’s got to be the one who put up a .392 and a .394 wOBA in his age 19 and 20 seasons, respectively. Soto, like Acuńa, would immediately transform the Mets into an offensive powerhouse. Unlike Acuña, Soto has a stone cold ace on his team. Against my better judgment, I would pass over the young stud for the aforementioned ace. At 36 years old, Scherzer is still one of the elite pitchers in baseball, and would more than fill the gaping hole in the Mets’ rotation.

The pick: Scherzer

Poll

Which Nationals player would you borrow for the 2020 season?

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    Patrick Corbin
    (5 votes)
  • 57%
    Max Scherzer
    (176 votes)
  • 28%
    Juan Soto
    (87 votes)
  • 4%
    Stephen Strasburg
    (14 votes)
  • 7%
    Trea Turner
    (24 votes)
  • 0%
    Other
    (2 votes)
308 votes total Vote Now