The Giants were able to trade top pitching prospect Zack Wheeler to the Mets because San Francisco was deep in young pitching. Well, that’s a position in which the Mets currently find themselves, so perhaps they are in a position to make a similar, even better deal.
There are reports out of Arizona that the Diamondbacks might be willing to listen to offers for Justin Upton. If that is indeed true, the Mets should be in on those talks.
Upton is just 24-years-old. He is struggling a bit this season, but last year he finished fourth in the MVP voting, hitting 31 homers and batting .289. The right fielder is signed through 2015 at about $42 million, so this would not be a short-term deal.
Upton would not, and should not, come cheap. I propose sending Jenrry Mejia and Lucas Duda to Arizona for him.
I am hesitant to sacrifice Mejia, but here is why I would do it: the Mets have four top pitching prospects to go along with Jonathon Niese, Dillon Gee and R.A. Dickey, who looks like he’s going to be here for a while. They all can’t fit into the rotation. If the Mets can turn on of those pieces into a potential superstar (and not simply for a bullpen arm), they should do it.
If the Mets could substitute Gee for Mejia, that would be fine, although I suspect the Diamondbacks would want someone with more upside. I also suspect they would prefer Mejia over Jeurys Familia, since Mejia is closer to the major leagues. I would not trade Matt Harvey or Wheeler — they are the two top prospects.
As for Duda, I like him and I think he will be a solid major leaguer, but he doesn’t strike me as the type to be a huge difference-maker. Upton has already proven that he is that type of player.
Exchanging Duda’s left handed power bat for Upton’s righty power stick would help balance the Mets lineup. With Ike Davis, Daniel Murphy, Josh Thole and Kirk Nieuwenhuis (who looks destined to be the starting center fielder for 2013 and beyond), the Mets have more than enough lefty batters. That weakness is constantly being exposed.
This is not just a trade for now — this is also a trade for the future. Upton is the type of player you build around. The Mets are in a position of strength to get him. I think they should.