To briefly recap, Monday I wrote about the Jose Reyes trade chatter so far this season and rather or not the Mets should or would trade them. The question I raised was if they did shop him around to other teams who might they call and which teams could inquire about obtaining Reyes. I decided to look at the AL first and eliminated a few prospective teams. That left me with four potential suitors for the SS’s services. Since the Mets needs, particularly pitching, are somewhat immediate I predominately focused on AAA or AA talent when talking about minor leaguers.
Let’s check out the first team.
Postseason play is a pipe dream in ’11 for the O’s or is it? A quarter of the way into the season and the baby Birds are nipping at the heels of .500, only 3. 5 games back. It’s early but with the Yankees relying on the likes of Freddy Garcia and a retooled Bartolo Colon not to mention the Bosox maddening inconsistency, Baltimore could conceivably make a run. They’re an up and coming team that has a lot of talented young arms (something the Mets need) and J.J. Hardy as their SS. Nothing against Hardy but when you have a chance to acquire a premier talent in his prime like Reyes you don’t hesitate.
This team is still a year or two away. They also have their own highly touted SS prospect in 18 year old Manny Machado. So do you jettison Machado in a deal for Reyes? Probably not, and the Mets would most likely not be interested since losing Reyes would create a large void on the left side of the diamond that would need to be filled immediately.
Taking a look at the Birds AA/AAA affiliates, other than a couple of intriguing possibilities, there’s really not much to choose from on the farm. At AAA top prospect Ryan Adams currently hitting .297 for Norfolk appears to be for real and former first rounder Brandon Snyder is carrying a .462 SLG percentage and appears ready for MLB action soon. AA Bowie slugger Ronnie Welty has some pop and lefty reliever Pedro Viola throws gas but neither could be a centerpiece of a deal. Most importantly, aside from Viola, none of them address New York’s primary need-pitching.
For a deal to materialize Orioles GM Andy MacPhail would have to part with one of his young starters: Chris Tillman, Zach Britton, Jake Arrieta, Brad Bergesen or Brian Matusz. If they put a package of say Matusz or Arrieta along with Viola or Welty and Hardy (the Mets will need a SS, and he’s more than serviceable) then possibly an ancillary A or low A player it could make an interesting scenario. The wild card would be if the Orioles were willing to part with Matt Wieters. The Mets would definitely ask and the O’s would most like say no.
Unless the Orioles centered a deal around one of their young stud major league arms or Wieters the possibility of Reyes in black and orange is nil.
Kansas City Royals
The surprising Royals are looking more like contenders than pretenders at this point. It’s only May however and when Bruce Chen is your ace, well you need a lot of things to fall in your favor. A raft of youngsters await the call to arms in Omaha but throwing a pack of untested hurlers into the heat of a pennant race is not usually a recipe for success.
But let’s say the Royals find themselves still in the hunt around the All Star break. A move for an established arm and an electrifying shortstop atop a line-up featuring Alex Gordon, Eric Hosmer, Billy Butler and possibly Mike Moustakas would be tempting for any GM. Tempting enough to part with one of their Grade AAA Prime pitching prospects? If it is, this could be one helluva a trade. Yes, the Royals have young, slick fielding Alcides Escobar at SS but that is exactly why this is a deal that if the pieces fall into place could get done. A caveat would be that Mike Pelfrey continues his recent streak of solid starts or maybe Chris Capuano stays healthy and pitching well.
Let’s say the Mets offer Reyes and KC has interest, the Mets obviously would want one of those stud pitchers in the pen down on the Royals farm. The Royals however need a 2 or 3 to shore up their current rotation, someone to provide some veteran savy for their next generation staff. So the Mets package Mike Pelfrey (or Chris Capuano) with Reyes. Now the Mets are solving two of KC’s immediate problems and by sending Escobar in return the Royals are providing the Mets with a replacement shortstop who was recently a highly sought after prospect. At 24 he is also still young enough to develop into something more.
At this point the Mets would look into that deep well of AA and AAA Kansas City pitching talent, drop some lines and go fishing.
(L) Mike Montgomery 2.84 ERA at Omaha (L)-Danny Duffy 41K’s in 32 IP at Omaha (L)-John Lamb 3.49 ERA at AA and (L)-Jake Odorizzi 3-0 1.97 ERA at high A. (R)-Jeremy Jeffress is pitching well in relief for KC and although (R)-Chris Dwyer is struggling this year at AA, he rung up 113 batters in 102 IP last season.
Lesser known Royal prospects like AAA righty Kevin Pucetas 3-0 1.57 and hard throwing Wil Smith (NWArk) are more examples of the depth within the KC minor league pitching vault. Farmhands RF David Lough, ex-Brewer Lorenzo Cain, C/OF Wil Myers and SS Christian Colon are position players who also fit well with the Mets current needs.
There are so many options here that trade possibilities are endless. Reyes and Pelfrey for Lamb, Pucetas, Lough and Escobar. Reyes and Pelfrey for Myers, Escobar and Dwyer or Odorizzi, Reyes for Myers and Escobar, Reyes for Escobar and Duffy, etc…
Royals GM Dayton Moore would want to lock up Jose long-term before finalizing any deal. The question is would Reyes take his act from the bright lights of the Apple to the “show me” state. Kansas City does have a few things going for it though: great bar-b-que, Blues plus he’d have a lot of fun in the coming years on top of that developing line up. As dynamic as a KC/NYM trade could be, I believe the Royals would have to be in serious contention heading into August for anything to develop. The Mets would also, in effect, have given up on their season. If that scenario develops a trade to the Royals I believe would hinge upon Reyes signing a pre-trade deal with KC.
Would Reyes sign on the dotted line and say yes to the Royals?
In my opinion Reyes is the kind of ballplayer who prefer’s a bigger stage to perform on. That’s not a criticism of him or the city of Kansas City. It’s just that some players live for the bright lights and adulation found in places like New York, Los Angeles or Chicago for example. Jose likes the limelight and he’d be to far away from it here. Reyes in Royal blue? No way, Jose.
(next we’ll look at the two other possible American League destinations for Reyes)