By all accounts the Blue Jays are shopping Jose Bautista and/or Edwin Encarnacion. Should the Mets make a play for either of them?
Both players would bring what the Mets sorely lack — power. Bautista has hit 55 home runs over the past two seasons, even though he missed considerable time with injury. He hit 54 and 43 homers in 2010 and 2011, respectively. Encarnacion hit 78 home runs the past two seasons.
Bautista plays the outfield while Encarnacion is a first baseman. Both are needs for the Mets, but the outfield is a bigger need. Bautista just turned 32 while Encarnacion will turn 31 in January.
Jose Bautista is more expensive; he is signed for two more years for $28 million. Encarnacion is also signed for two more years for a total of $19 million.
So either player would be a fit for the Mets. But they will not come cheaply.
The Blue Jays are still in win-now mode and they need major league-ready pitching. So that means either Jonathon Niese or Dillon Gee would headline the deal. They could use an upgrade at second base, so Daniel Murphy could go to Toronto. That would not be enough to get it done, so a couple of prospects, and likely one top one, would have to be included as well.
Sandy Alderson has said that he is reluctant to trade pitching for hitting, but he said he would do it if the right deal came along. Is this the right deal?
It would be much easier to make this trade if Matt Harvey were around for 2014, but he is not. Trading Niese or Gee would leave three opening in the starting rotation, and that is a tough hole to fill even for a team with money to burn, let alone a team like the Mets with their budgetary limitations.
My guess is Alderson would not make this deal, or any deal that involves trading his established pitchers. Alderson is just too skittish to take such a risk. Hell, he can’t even choose between trading Ike Davis or Lucas Duda.