Yeah, we’re all pretty bored right now. We’re recycling the same rumors and news hoping that something is going to happen that is going to open the spigots. In our neck of the woods, it’s even worse, as there’s no real buzz at all happening here, with a fan base that’s resigned to more of the same when it comes to the roster in 2018.
So rather than rely on the mainstream media to provide us with something to chew on, let’s start our own rumor. Let’s not get crazy and throw out some trade that has no chance of happening, such as Mike Trout for Robert Gsellman (ha ha.) But let’s find something that has at least a stone’s throw chance of happening (that is, if Yoenis Cespedes is throwing the stone … and let’s hope he can do so without tearing a hamstring). Let’s start our very own rumor with no basis in fact, and see if it catches on:
Mets receive: 3B Evan Longoria
Rays receive: 1B Dominic Smith, INF Wilmer Flores
Disclaimer: The author of this rumor does not endorse of authorize this trade.
This is merely an exercise in trying to figure out what is going on in the heads of the respective general managers (and owners). This does not mean I endorse trading both Smith and Flores. And honestly, I don’t endorse trading Wilmer Flores at all. But let’s look at some circumstances that could come into play:
The Rays are selling. There are rumblings that Tampa Bay could start a sell off which could land anywhere on the scale between B.J. Upton and the 1998 Florida Marlins. Evan Longoria is their franchise piece that’s due to make $81 million over the next five seasons before a buyout season comes up at either $13M or $5M. For the Rays, that’s a lot. For the Mets, it might actually turn into somewhat of a bargain if salaries keep rising.
Why The Mets Would Do This: The Mets would do this because this would fall under the heading of “creative”. And it would bring them their star to bring fans into the ballpark on days other than gnome giveaways. It would give Mets fans an actual third baseman to replace David Wright and perhaps this satiates the crowd that is frustrated with Wright’s contract, in a weird sort of way. And it’s win/win in the fact that if Wright doesn’t play, his insurance money pays for Longoria. If Wright does play, he’s playing first base.
Also, the Mets seem intent on not giving Flores a real shot so in their minds, why not trade him now?
Why The Rays Would Do This: Dominic Smith and some lesser lights from the minor league system would be a fairer deal. But let’s face it: The Rays aren’t trading their first franchise icon for fair. They’re not even trading him purely for salary relief. They’re trading him for conquest. I know, not a lot of fans show up to the park. But would the Rays risk what few fans make the long trek across the Sunshine Skyway Bridge to see a game by trading Longoria for nothing? Besides Smith, are there any Mets prospects you would trade a franchise icon for?
Why I Will Wind Up Hating This Trade: Remember, just because I’m starting a rumor doesn’t mean I endorse it. I am a fan of Longoria, but trading Flores for somebody on the other side of 30 seems to be a bit of organizational suicide. Longoria is projected to hit .262 with 23 HR and 77 RBI with an OPS of .770 … decent numbers compared to what they had at 3B last season. But is it worth it to trade Flores when he could give you what Longoria averaged between his age 27-30 seasons, which is 28 HR, 88 RBI, and a .266 average with a .793 OPS? If you believe that Longoria has a better chance of putting up those numbers between ages 32-35 than Flores does between ages 26-29, then you do this deal. I’m not sure I believe that, as long as Wilmer also averages 160 games played a season which … well, good luck getting that with 75 infielders in Flushing.
Why You Will Wind Up Hating This Trade: You will hate this trade because it won’t be backed up by a big time first base signing like, say, Carlos Santana. And that’s always been the Mets problem, right? Make the first move to make fans happy and make sure they stay in the ballpark, but not make the second move which makes perfect baseball sense to give the Mets any sort of illusion of being rich in their roster. If you make this deal and sign Santana, which makes a lot of sense with the Callaway connection, then it’s a chance worth taking. If you make this deal and make first base a patchwork position with David Wright and some fringe player like Philip Evans or T.J. Rivera, then embarrass yourselves by having to teach Michael Conforto to play first base in June while signing Nori Aoki to a pro-rated contract, then you’re right back where you started from except you have Longoria staring down the barrel of sweet decline.
So while we all probably hate this trade for one reason or another, when you look into the minds of each team’s hierarchy, it’s plausible at the very least. So does this have a snowball’s chance in Hell’s Kitchen of happening? I have no idea. But I’m willing to see if this rumor catches on because we’ll look for just about any rumor to talk about, whether it’s reported by Ken Rosenthal or dreamed up by me. Let’s spread this for the sake of spreading it, and make a mockery of the rumor mill.
It will please me.