Mets, Cubs and the shortstop deal just waiting to be made
When the Cubs traded Jeff Samardzija last week in a deal that landed them shortstop prospect Addison Russell, they were left with a glut of high-ceiling shortstops in their organization. Russell and Javier Baez are both uber-prospects blocked by current starter Starlin Castro.
Enter the Mets, who spent most of the offseason fruitlessly searching for a shortstop to replace incumbent Ruben Tejada. General manager Sandy Alderson balked at signing Jhonny Peralta, passed on multiple chances to ink Stephen Drew, and never delved too deep in trade discussions for Arizona’s Didi Gregorius or Seattle’s Nick Franklin or Chris Owings.
The Mets, meanwhile, converted Wilmer Flores to shortstop, where he is currently raking at Triple-A Las Vegas, then watched Flores’ success spark some semblance of a renaissance in Tejada. So their need at the position is not as great as it once was.
Yet neither Tejada nor Flores is a guarantee, and acquiring a shortstop of Castro’s caliber would allow the Mets to deal second baseman Daniel Murphy before he becomes a free agent after next season. It makes sense on multiple levels for the Mets to pursue Castro, provided they can stomach giving up young pitching to do it.
The Daily News’ John Harper estimated that the Cubs would ask for a package of Zack Wheeler and Jacob deGrom, or something similar, which would almost assuredly make Alderson balk. Most likely, the Mets could center a deal around their own top prospect, Noah Syndergaard, who is struggling at Las Vegas but still boasts an immense ceiling.
What’s clear is that the Mets and Cubs are ideal trade partners on paper leading up to the deadline. Whether they can consummate a deal will go a long way toward understanding the mindsets of both.