I have resisted writing about the Mets alleged search for a new shortstop because they are not really looking for anyone. But now everybody is asking me about it, so I guess it’s time.
First we have Jung-ho Kang. So much ink (real and virtual) was wasted on whether the Mets would make a bid for him. There was never a chance of a bid, and of course, the Mets were not the team who won the bidding. It is hard to fault the Mets for this. Kang’s Korean numbers would not translate to the major leagues (some have equated it with AA). Still though, Kang’s 38 home runs (or 40, depending on whom you believe) in 2014 would probably mean 10 here in America. Not bad for a shortstop, but Wilmer Flores can easily eclipse that at close to the major league minimum.
Which brings us to Troy Tulowitzki. The Mets blogosphere was salivating over “reports” that the Mets and Rockies were talking about a swap for the superstar. Any deal started with Noah Syndergaard, and would have to include the likes of Zack Wheeler or Jacob deGrom or Gary Gentry or anyone currently or formerly associated with the Mets.
Then came more reports that the deal had like a 5% chance of happening, dousing the earlier reports. The problem? The Mets would not deal the necessary prospects or take on the $118 left on Tulowitzki’s contract. That sounds familiar.
The Padres have no problem emptying their farm system to acquire players that could make them instant winners. But Sandy Alderson will do no such thing. Perhaps that’s a good thing; maybe these prospects will make the Mets winners someday. But how long do we have to wait for that someday? The time to make a move is now. And Alderson will not do it.
But is trading for Tulowitzki the right move, anyway? If he is healthy, absolutely. But the guy is never healthy. Although if he could be had for minor league players, it still might be worth a shot. Syndergaard looked great last Spring Training, but he was average during the AAA season. Other prospects like Kevin Plawecki and Steven Matz have not proven themselves at the major league level; do you deal them for a sure thing like Tulowitzki, who when healthy (there’s that word again) is one of the best players in baseball and fills a gaping hole in the lineup?
It is a tough question, one the timid, cautious Alderson would probably love to avoid answering. Fortunately he can because the Wilpons can not and will not pay Tulowitzki’s salary. And that is where the conversation ends.
It is always about the money with the Wilpons. Which is why I never bothered to write about this in the first place. But I got sucked in. Ah, peer pressure.