Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
There appears to be a realistic scenario where, for roughly $8 million, the Mets could essentially turn Ike Davis in to a young pitcher and Kendrys Morales.
“A good team-friendly deal could develop for the Mets with Morales in February or March,” ESPN.com’s Buster Olney said earlier this week on Twitter. The player’s agent says Morales is being pursued by both National and American League teams (Morosi, Dec. 18).
According to Olney, the Mets can release Davis during Spring Training for just $600,000 of his projected $4 million salary. I’m sure the Mets would prefer to trade him and get something for him, but, if they need to save the money or open a roster spot, cutting him is always an option.
That said, I think Davis will eventually be traded for a helpful pitcher making the league minimum. If they do this, and if Morales is still available because no one wants to give up a first-round pick to sign him, the Mets could try to sign Morales to a one-year deal that ultimately nets out around $8 million after eliminating Ike’s money from the payroll. By the way, Lucas Duda still has an option and can be sent to Triple-A to start the year without passing through waivers.
Morales would cost the Mets their third-round pick. Their top pick is protected (10th overall), which is not the case for teams reportedly showing interest in him. The Mets lost their second-round pick when signing Curtis Granderson. The talk earlier this winter was that Sandy Alderson would certainly surrender one pick this winter, but he was unlikely to part with two.
Does Alderson even like Morales, who would be expected to hit 20 or so home runs, 30 doubles, switch hit and play serviceable defense? So far, there are no substantive rumors indicating any sort of interest.
Can Morales survive as a regular first baseman in the National League? Interleague play, occasional rest and Josh Satin will mean Morales will need to be in the field about 100 times in 2014. He played the field just 31 times in 2013.
If the Mets want Morales, is there price for him that would make Alderson reconsider giving up his third-round pick? If so, will Sandy have enough money (or be given extra money) to sign him, which I assume would be contingent on first moving Davis in a way that saves on 2014 payroll?
It’s a stretch. But, like I said, there appears to be a path for this to happen, assuming everything breaks right and both sides are still interested.