The price of young hitting is at an all-time high

Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer

In the wake of last month’s non-waiver trade deadline, I’ve heard from several MLB insiders who say the price of young hitting is at an all-time high.

For instance, one AL executive said, “The Cubs wanting Cole Hamels (in a deal for one of their young infielders) should be an indicator to everyone that they’re not taking just any pitching prospect.”

It was a year ago that I first heard from friends at Wrigley Field that Starlin Castro would cost at least Zack Wheeler, who had made just 10 or so big-league starts at the time of the conversation. Castro is a three-time All Star, plays shortstop, has four straight years of at least 10 home runs and just turned 24.


MLB: Chicago Cubs at Philadelphia Phillies


Put it this way, given how much scoring is down all across baseball, and given how limiting the free agent market has been for offense, if Castro was on the Mets, what would it take to have you trade him away? What would a GM have to give you to get him in a deal?

In other words, “If the Cubs are trading one of those hitters, they’re obviously going to want a proven pitcher, and probably another top minor-league arm in the deal,” the same source said.

The Marlins will try to sign Giancarlo Stanton to a contract extension this winter, or look to trade him if talks end up going nowhere, say people familiar with the situation.

Last winter, buzz in Miami said a Mets package for Stanton would essentially need to be their best three or four prospects, including Matt Harvey, which is silly-talk if you ask me. However, Boston columnist John Tomase speculates that recently-acquired OF Yoenis Cespedes could be part of a package from Boston for Stanton, which could also include OF Jackie Bradley, among other highly-touted prospects (Boston Herald, Aug. 12).


USATSI_8007396_110579513_lowres

In the end, a situation like Carlos Gonzalez with the Rockies may end up making the most sense for the Mets, if for no other reason than prospects can be off-set with money to cover his sizable, remaining contract. Stanton, Castro, etc., are making very little money right now, so their price can only be made up in players.

The point is, though, we like to talk about Sandy Alderson acquiring a ‘big bat,’ it’s going to be easier said than done. He has the pitching prospects — and young catchers — to make a quality deal. However, it’s going to be quite complicated and the competition is going to be fierce…




234 comments
Pat Brady
Pat Brady

Castro isn't as cheap as you think though. His contract is a bargain but it's 63 mill over the next 6 years right? I know that's like 2 years of Tulowitzki but it's not like we're talking about no money at all and you have to remember that you're talking about the WILPONS here. 

Ben Senecal
Ben Senecal

Mets offseason plans should be very simple.. Stay away from tulo and Gonzalez. I love tulo but in reality he's not worth giving up a whole farm system for at 30 years of age and a injury prone career. I say package Syndergaard to chicago for either Baez or Castro. Preferably I'd want Baez considering he has more pop in his bat. We have the pieces to do it, and along with that I'd go after both Cuban outfielders Castillo and Tomas. I love Tomas is bat when I look at him I see a similar version of cespedes.

Mark Phelan
Mark Phelan

Underperformance by what should be our hitters:  Wright, Granderson, Duda is our problem.  Imagine if these guys were all heading toward 25-30 HR years?  Who needs HR's from a SS?


Sadily, we are stuck with 2 of these 3 for a long time.


Yes, let's get a LF who can hit....we might already have one coming up.  Yes, let's get a SS who improves production from that spot.  I agree that trading Murphy and sliding Flores over is probably an option.

Brian McCarthy
Brian McCarthy

How about visit Kemp trade again?Would not cost as much with contract.Has shown signs of being healthy.Then trade Murphy and bring up Herrera.Money for Murphy does not make sense, when we have someone that shows they can hit and also field there position.Love Murph but he will cost to much and be road block for farmhands.Then trade for ss or sign FA.

Mickey Jennifer Wind
Mickey Jennifer Wind

lol. gotta get somewhere. braves, nats, marlins will all be able to match our pitching based on what they have and willingness to bring in top end vets when needed. all also have better offenses that even our top prospects wont come close to matching. if we dont spend to get offense we will continue to battle for third regardless of how many Harvey's we have. these other division foes are pitching stacked too. they have better offenses, even the Marlins got 3 starting fa position players. only one of them had no recent track record. mets only sign crappy guys off down seasons. its a joke. no excuses. geta new ss and corner of for next year. i dont believe our pitching gets us higher than 3rd in our div without it.

qualcomm
qualcomm

Will Hanley Ramirez really make more than Tulo? I get it if they're outbid, but I'm missing why he isn't the main target here? 

Why trade young pitching for a bat you have to pay when you can just pay the bat without giving up the young pitching?

Bryan McEntee
Bryan McEntee

If they don't want our pitching that's fine. I'll go to war with Harvey, Wheeler, Syndergaard, DeGroom, and Niese and lets see how "elite" your hitters are after facing that rotation

imwith28
imwith28

The Mets should just sign J.J Hardy in the offseason to a short term contract to hold shortstop until Herrera/Reynolds is ready to take over. Starlin Castro worries me and is up and down. Also hardy won't break the bank in terms in money like a Tulo and you can hold onto prospects. As for left field I think Cargo would be a smart buy low move. He is making reasonable money for a player of his caliber and wouldn't cost as much in return of prospects as Tulo or Stanton. Also cargo is coming off a down year in performance and injuries so it will be cheaper to aquire him than it was last year. I think a package of Montero, Matz, Plawecki, and Gee can get it done. Is it little expensive, yes, but star caliber hitters don't grown on trees and we can really can use some now with David wright on the downswing of his prime. And I believe cargo has only 3 years left on his contract so of he's a bust it doesn't hold us down for a while.

Jim Yager
Jim Yager

It sounds like Matt is going to concede 2015? With the FA market as poor as it is and bats at such a high price, what ever is poor Sandy to do? We give him another free pass for next season? Without another bat or two added to this team the best that we can hope for is a repeat of this year.

Erik Scheibe
Erik Scheibe

I haven't heard it yet, but what the Mets should be doing is rattling the cage over in Cleveland.  By all accounts, their top prospect, Francisco Lindor is an elite fielding shortstop and ready for the majors.  I would do almost whatever I had to (within reason obviously to get him as our shortstop for the next 5-7 years. Cleveland has a glut of middle infielders and a desperate need for pitching.  I would offer Niese, Montero, Mejia and if necessary Flores.  If they are looking to dump Michael Bourn's salary, I would take him back and throw Den Dekker in.  You could pop Bourn into the leadoff slot for a year or two until Lindor is ready and slot Lindor in at SS without hurting too much of any of our depth.  Our bullpen should be able to handle losing Mejia anyway with Parnell back and Familia and Black developing nicely (I don't really think he is closer material anyway).  Lindor is an elite, can't miss prospect, but Cleveland could with one fell swoop re-load their rotation and/or pen.  They also have other options for the future at short if needed.

Jimmy
Jimmy

Please No Cargo. This would be yet another Met FA mistake.

Outfield Options: Shane Peterson, Joc Pederson, Stephen Piscotty, Josh Bell.

OR have the Wilpons make a withdrawal from Billion Dollar Sterling Equities and sign Cuban Yasmani Tomas.

Geez, can somebody in this Organization think outside the box, do something creative, and at least try to make a splash to change the culture around here?

Wilpons- You need to find more money to raise the Payroll, or sell the team.

Sandy (or whoever his replacement is)- The Fans are done waiting. We need a legit Offseason from our GM if the Mets will be legitimate in 2015. The dumpster diving days are over.

And for goodness sake, can we move on from the Terry Collins Era already?!

Rich Anderson
Rich Anderson

Don't want to come across as a Sandy apologist- but no way i give up the farm for a guy like Castro. We have little faith in developing our own bats- and yet another anemic performance tonight underscores the need for offense- but can't see gutting our only strength for either overhyped vets or equally questionable "prospects."

supert
supert

It never fails whatever the Mets don't have and need is "at an all time high cost" and the guys they have to trade are worth nothing more than B - C prospects.  Another day on Metsblog.

blackwood1
blackwood1

Another article that enforces my point that we should deal prospects for a high end almost cant miss prospect like Pederson from the Dodgers. Montero, Plawecki & Nimmo For Pederson & a good A ball prospect. Let him & Lags and soon enough Conforto make up a young good outfield with a good young pitching staff.


Use the money on players who make us better not just for the sake of signing somebody. Get the young guys in position to take us on a good long run & buy the vets to complete the roster.

rock44
rock44

This is just Sandy setting up the excuses for this winter. Spend money! Get Nelson Cruz and one of the Cuban defectors as free agents !

Kyle Suta
Kyle Suta

All we are talking about is who to give up for some "Big Bat". On here and on the fan the mets fan base including myself is excited. The reality is we don't know what alderson's plan is. We don't know what the wilpons are going to spend next year and beyond. That is why I am telling you that while there is reason for hope, the recent antics by the Wilpons (such as telling us they won't invest in the team until we fill the ballpark) tell another story.

Kyle Suta
Kyle Suta

To add to my last comment, Cargo wouldn't be that risky. If the mets miss on him he will still be what Harper is this year or Heyward. That isn't that bad considering our lineup now.

Robert Hess
Robert Hess

While there are more young pitchers remember that there also seem to be many more pitching injuries.  Yes, I want the Mets to make atrade but remember too that had the Mets been better at the beginning of the season they would very likely be over .500 at this point.  With Farnsworth, Valverde and Chris Young they lost quite a few games.  The Mets also lead the majors in walk off losses..  I really feel that Sandy stayed way too long with Young just as they did with Jason Bay.  If a team can better their record by 7 - 10 games over the course of a season it makes a big, big difference.  Think of it this way.  If for every 10 games you play you  go 6 and 4 instead of 5 and 5 you improve considerably.  Every game is important - think about the game the Mets lost to the Phillies after leading 6 - 1.  Sure that happens to every team but the poorer teams lose more of those games than teams that contend.  One last point.  For most of the season the Mets have had at the most 3 players that were contributing in their lineup.  Once D,arnaud starting hitting and den Decker came back up you are getting more production.  I'm not saying that anyone is a season game changer but you have to have at least 6 of 8 of your starters hitting above the Mendoza line.  Look at the Yankees, very little offense along with weak pitching.  It's the well rounded teams that obviously stay competitive.

Keith Appell
Keith Appell

Matt Harvey and Jacob DeGrom are two of the best young pitchers in baseball. They're both hurt.  Yet some say trade Wheeler, trade Syndergaard, or others.  I'm as beyond impatient as everyone else, I want it to be fun again like everyone else. But I think the road to success is in stockpiling good young pitching. The main reason I can't stand the Atlanta Braves is because I had to watch them win 15 division titles in a row.  That's the kind of dominance I want to see the Mets achieve, and the way to do it is the way the Braves did it. I know the wait can be excruciating, but the payoff might be worth it.

Kyle Suta
Kyle Suta

Cargo will be easier to acquire than people think.

1) he's injury prone

2) He is owed money

3) splits

4) Rockies have 3 starting OFs

This is similar to the braves acquiring Justin Upton, who was coming off of a down year. Cargo is still young and can be a star. He should only cost Plawecki Montero and Gee. Maybe you throw in a guy like Fullmer or an A ball hitter.

fhc1224
fhc1224

@Mark Phelan In case you have not noticed, Duda is heading towards a 30 home run season along with 90- 100 rbi's with a .260 - .270 batting average.  He should not have been included in your group of 3.  If anyone should be included it would be d'Arnaud but even that is debatable seeing his increased production since his return from Vegas.

Jonathan Springer
Jonathan Springer

@Mark Phelan Duda will reach 25 possibly 30 HR, and if Grandy did not get off to that awful start he would have done so too. Wright is having a down year and has no protection. It would be a mistake for the Mets to trade more than 3 of the top prospects for 1 bat, whether it be a SS or an OF. I think it pays for the Mets to be creative and not play into the market too much. Murph is replaceable, but is at a premium position and can be packaged in a deal where we get some serious value back. I agree Mark Phelan, trade Murph, slide Flores over, and make a trade for a Cargo or Kemp whose price tags are going to be much cheaper than Staton, Castro and Baez. If the Mets can get Baez for Wheller or Syndegard straight up, I would pull the trigger!

Erik Scheibe
Erik Scheibe

@Brian McCarthy  Before the deadline I was suggesting a deal with Murphy, Colon and a mid-level pitching/middle infield prospect like Mazzoni, Verrett, Tovar or Ramos.  For Dee Gordon and Matt Kemp.  Throw in another decent prospect if LA is willing to swallow about $5M/yr on Kemp's deal.  Move Gordon back to short, Flores to 2B and you have SS, LF and leadoff filled with minimal expenditure of prospects or money for a good long while.  You have no holes and still have budget room and a wealth of pitching depth that you could trade for an elite player if one becomes available.

dave42
dave42

@Brian McCarthy  I liked the idea of trading for Kemp when he was hitting .230.  I'm in, provided we can get the Dodgers to eat a good bit of his contract. 


I do think making a play for Tomas or Castillo has the best risk/reward.  They at least cost only money, no prospects, draft picks or international free agent allocations. 

anymos
anymos

@qualcomm I think its a given that he will want more money than we can spend.  And honestly, even if we could afford him, I'm not a huge fan.  He's been in and out of the lineup a lot over the past four years, and prior to last season was really pretty bad.  Not sure he's a guy I want to give a 4 or 5 year deal to at age 30, and he likely will be moving off SS in the near future, further hurting his value.

David Jay
David Jay

Congrats, you're also going to war with Tejada, a declining Wright and a non-hitter like Den Dekker in the OF.

Let me know how that works out for ya

Pat Brady
Pat Brady

@imwith28 I personally don't think they're getting a bat for LF that would be a long term contract. Conforto according to every scout was the most advanced bat in college. I don't think they see him as a guy that's going to spend 3 years in the minors.  I think one full season and he could be in LF. Nimmo is also a year away as is Herrera. Reynolds can probably play in the big leagues right now. Not all of them are going to hit but they have a few guys that are pretty close. 

Erik Scheibe
Erik Scheibe

@imwith28  the difference between Cargo and either Den Dekker or Nieuwenhuis is not worth those four prospects, Tulo, yes, Stanton, even more

Pat Brady
Pat Brady

@Jim Yager - Next year they'll have Harvey and Syndergaard though right so the pitching should better. They have d'Arnaud who looks to be much better than he was at the start of last year, the bullpen is much better than it was at the start of this year. Matt Reynolds is an option at SS or 2B and Herrera is hitting like ,350 at AA. Alderson has a lot of flexibility to do things without spending a lot of money. 


Pinning the blame on Alderson seems like misplaced anger too. I know everyone is out a patience but when you walk into a situation where the owners ask you to cut payroll and rebuild on the cheap with one of the worst minor league systems in baseball you don't have a lot of options. He got back value where he could and let some of the other bad contracts expire. He's misspent here and there but the situation the Mets are in now is a TON better than it was when he walked in. 

Glenn Blasius
Glenn Blasius

@supert Its a sign of an organization being reactive, rather than proactive.  5 years ago, some bright spark said "hey, we need to groom young pitchers like Atlanta/TampaBay/Oakland/St Louis/SanFran/Detroit!!   So, we sell Reyes, and stockpile pitchers.  While at about that time, the group above slowly began rotating out of that trade into controllable elite position players (e.g., Posey, Cespedes, Donaldson, Simmons, Cabrera, etc).   Now we are long pitching (not a disaster!), but everybody else is going the same way - but the guys leading the pack.    Look at the leaders to predict our upcoming strategy!  We'll be waving sluggers into the farm system when they are going the opposite way!  

hankypanky
hankypanky

There are no "can't miss" prospects in baseball. Promising prospects, yes.

Kyle Suta
Kyle Suta

He already said Cruz doesn't fit here with what he wants. Forget about jj hardy since he doesn't get on base. So there's Hanley, but oh wait he will cost a lot and should be moving to third. So we are down to Jed Lowrie and Nick Markakis as free agent targets.

Tarheel11
Tarheel11

@Kyle Suta So hypothetically, they go get Cargo but then have to move Murphy to offset some of Cargo's money, you okay with that? Especially when Cargo is missing 30+ games a year?

ponzies86
ponzies86

Anybody is tradable for a Stanton who is an everyday player and a guy on his way hitting over 500 HR for his career if healthy.

realityck
realityck

@Kyle Suta I like Cargo, but he isnt worth that much, especially if we eat all the money he is owed

sylow59
sylow59

1, 2, and 3 are reasons to avoid him

Pat Brady
Pat Brady

@Jonathan Springer @Mark Phelan - Duda is going to finish with respectable numbers. It's amazing that some Mets fans still haven't realized that yet. Granderson is producing about at the level they're paying him so he's not a liability either. I'm a big Wright fan but he's hurting them this year by not putting up Wright like numbers. We have to hope he bounces back. I read a few days ago that he's been doing what d'Arnaud was doing which was changing his swing on a daily basis hoping something sticks. 

anymos
anymos

@dave42 @Brian McCarthy This is where our ownership kills us (well, among the many ways).   Just like we couldn't get involved in Abreu.  As more of these international FA's come here and succeed- the price to sign them goes up and up, and the teams who have owners with big boy pants will be willing to take the risk.

Pat Brady
Pat Brady

@David Jay - You've already determined den Dekker can't hit? What about Conforto and herrera? Nimmo is having a good year too. The Mets have some bats coming so it's silly to pretend they have nothing. den Dekker by the way has hit at every level. I know he's not exactly young but who cares? He was the best hitter in the whole Pacific League but you already have him as a "non-hitter". :-/

qualcomm
qualcomm

@David Jay There are free agents... it's not like they are trading for free players.  Just buy it. 

sylow59
sylow59

@Kyle Suta 

"He already said Cruz doesn't fit here with what he wants"

Is that because the NL doesn't have a DH?

rock44
rock44

He's gonna sign a one year contract guy , like Byrd or young.

Kyle Suta
Kyle Suta

My point is that we have great farm system but we don't know what the payroll will be like or who is available.

hankypanky
hankypanky

Once again, the Mets will never come up with a contract to KEEP Stanton. Trading away the pitching staff is a different matter.

Anthony Gaetano DeCesare
Anthony Gaetano DeCesare

Neise, Montero and Nimmo for Cargo? Trading neise who makes 9 million off-sets cargo's money a little and open's up a spot in the rotation. Colon will probably shipped off too for something....nothing great.

2015 rotation-Harvey (better be healthy), Wheeler, Degroom, Gee, Syndergard....

Trade for Cargo, sign Jimmy Rollins for SS?

Add parnell back to bullpen?

anymos
anymos

@sylow59 @Kyle Suta Details, details.  And lets just gloss over how bad he's been since the end of May while we're at it.  I'm sure we'll never regret signing a 34 year old DH to a multi-year deal to play LF for us.

Anthony Gaetano DeCesare
Anthony Gaetano DeCesare

I guess you can always go get jimmy rollins for SS as a fa and go get either Michael Cuddyer as a free agent or trade for Andre Ethier's money and trade no prospects, just take the salary...you won't get fans out to the ballpark that way though...