ESPN’s Buster Olney does not list Mets RHP Bartolo Colon on his list of 15 players who could be traded through waivers in August (ESPN Insider, Aug. 1).
That said, Olney does list Rangers OF Alex Rios, Reds OF Ryan Ludwick and Rays infielder Ben Zobrist, as well as Phillies LHP Cole Hamels.
“By the way,” Olney adds, “the Mets should put in a claim on Hamels, to block a division rival from conducting business. And who knows, if the Phillies actually listened to an offer, Hamels would be a great add for the Mets at this stage of their rebuilding, as a leader of the staff.”
Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
I expected to see Colon’s name on Olney’s list. I asked Buster why he left him off, and he texted back saying teams were hesitant to trade for Colon in July because of his age, PED history and the $11 million due to him next season, which will be the same in August. Joel Sherman of the New York Post wrote something similar late last week. So, if a team fears being stuck with ALL of Colon’s money next season, it’s safer to not claim him at all, even if he might be able to help in a pennant race this year. Nevertheless, you never know, a team like the Mariners or Orioles may see him as worth the bet, considering the opportunity in front of them this season.
On the other side, if I were Alderson, I’d try to snag Rios, who has a $14 million option for next season. I like Rios, not because I think he can again hit 20 home runs, but because he’s a known player with some credibility, capable of being better than he’s doing right now for the Rangers. And, given the nature of the standings, the Mets can probably get in a claim.
There was talk that Texas was only shopping Rios to gauge his value, helping to determine what they should do with his option this winter. However, if they’re truly willing to let him go, I’d take him. With an outfield of Juan Lagares, Rios and Curtis Granderson, with a step up at shortstop, this pitching staff, the current version of Lucas Duda and Matt Harvey coming back, I think the Mets can make a nice run next season. And if they don’t, Alderson can always trade Rios and his remaining $7 million at a time when bats will again be at a premium. By my count, there were at least five teams interested in acquiring Rios last week (as well as during the previous summer) and I’m sure that will again be the case 11 months from now.
That said, if acquiring Rockies OF Carlos Gonzalez is a legit possibility, I can’t get Rios now. I have to wait. I’m not acquiring both, regardless of whether they both fit in the budget or not, because there are only three outfield spots and I want Lagares patrolling center field.
Oh, and yes, I’m trying to ignore Olney’s idea for the Mets about Hamels. I suggest you do the same. It’s just easier that way…