The New York Mets appear set to begin the season with a starting outfield consisting of Mike Baxter, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, and Lucas Duda. I honestly think you’d be hard pressed to find a scout around the league that thinks any one of those guys (let alone all three) is currently a legitimate starting outfielder, so to say this is a point of weakness for the Mets is an understatement. That is of course unless something changes between now and Spring Training, such as the team resigning Scott Hairston or making a trade that will bring a more recognizable face to patrol the Citi Field grass.
Both scenarios, however, are appearing less and less likely. This morning Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweeted that while the Mets have checked in with the Arizona Diamondbacks, who appear to have a surplus of capable outfielders after their signing of Cody Ross, the team found the price tag on Justin Upton too high and did not see Jason Kubel as a fit:
Heyman also went on to tweet that the D-Backs are looking for young pitchers in exchange for Kubel:
Much to do about nothing here, I guess. I don’t think Kubel is a difference maker so while he would help the team a bit in 2013, sending a prospect to Arizona and picking up his salary for the year doesn’t seem like a move that will come close to putting the tam over the top. Upton is a different case all together. He’s 25-years-old and a budding star, but there’s a reason why no team has ponied up to get him, Arizona is seeking a tremendous package in return. According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, Atlanta, Seattle, Texas, and San Diego have all been linked to the young outfielder but nothing has evolved:
The Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres have held on-and-off discussions about a trade involving those players since July, but the talks have failed to progress, according to major-league sources.
The Diamondbacks, however, continue to discuss Upton with other clubs, including the Texas Rangers andSeattle Mariners, sources say, while also considering offers for another of their outfielders, Jason Kubel.
The Rangers want to acquire Upton without giving up either shortstop Elvis Andrus or infielder Jurickson Profar. Their preference is to build a package around third baseman Mike Olt, and the team is willing to add a top pitching prospect and third quality piece to the package, sources say.
But the D-backs, sources say, believe they could make an even better deal for Upton with another club — possibly the Mariners, who are aggressively trying to add a power hitter.
The problem for the D-Backs in trading with the Mariners is that the M’s are on Upton’s four-team no-trade list, and sources say that he is not inclined to approve a deal to Seattle.
The Atlanta Braves also have made “strong overtures” for Upton, sources say, and other teams also might be involved in the discussions. The D-Backs’ discussions with the Padres indicate that when a player of Upton’s quality is available, teams will make creative proposals.”
I’m waiting for the Mets, who are rumored now to have money to spend, to do something here in the offseason that will have an immediate impact on the 2013 team and beyond.
Someone like Upton seems out of reach but Alderson has done a good job of cutting payroll the past couple of seasons while rebuilding the farm system. Dickey and Reyes are gone, Wright will be a Met for life, but there has to be something else. The wait-and-see approach is testing the patience of the people who pay to see the games and I wouldn’t be surprised if Sandy makes a bigger splash here in the coming weeks than most anticipate. As I wrote yesterday, the financial wellbeing of ownership is great, but only if that is reflected in how they go about running the team. So far things have not trickled down to help put a better team on the field or bringing in the big names that belong in a big market such as New York. So how long will we have to wait and where will the answers come from?
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