The Mets need hitting — in particular, a hitting shortstop. The Cubs like the Mets’ young pitching. A lot.
Obviously, there’s a deal waiting to happen, right? As former Cub manager Dale Sveum might say, “kind of a no-brainer.”
Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer acknowledged as much as the Cubs’ opened a four-game series against the Mets at Wrigley Field on Monday, saying the Cubs’ fourth-year front office and the Mets’ fifth-year regime have discussed trades.
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“We haven’t made a deal yet, but there’s been matches that made sense, and I’m sure we’ll talk to them in the future,” said Hoyer, who has a relationship with Mets player-development executive Paul DePodesta going back to their time together in the Padres’ front office.
Cubs president Theo Epstein and Mets GM Sandy Alderson also have a good relationship.
“I guess when you factor in the hitting and the pitching, I guess people think it’s unusual,” Hoyer said of the fact the teams haven’t hooked up on a trade.
“But it’ll happen at some point.”
The Cubs talked about minor-league right-hander Noah Syndergaard last year while he struggled at Class AAA Las Vegas, but with Syndergaard looking like a stud again and joining the Mets’ rotation for his big-league debut Tuesday, don’t count on that.
And don’t expect a deal that sends Starlin Castro to Queens anytime soon, despite the flurry of rumors about such a deal throughout last summer and into the offseason.
Those rumors reached boiling heat in August when the Cubs went to New York six weeks after acquiring touted shortstop prospect Addison Russell from the Athletics in the Jeff Samardzija deal.
But the Mets aren’t interested, certainly not at anything close to the return the Cubs would need.
More likely, it could be something involving Javy Baez, who has played some shortstop since rejoining Class AAA Iowa on April 30. He has played well enough that one evaluator said he looked better at that position than Castro and Russell.
One problem with any Baez deal is that the Cubs would be selling low at this point, at least until the big-swinging slugger shows some control for an extended period in his swing and the strike zone.
That still might not be enough to swing one of the big arms from the Mets’ stable. They haven’t seemed willing to part with any of their top young arms, a stance that looked especially wise when the team learned this spring that Zack Wheeler would miss the season after Tommy John surgery.
The Mets, who rank near the bottom of the league in offensive production, might yet seek more hitting, especially if their strong start holds up into the July trading period.
Until then, talk figures to be pretty cheap.
There is a deal to be made here and I hope one happens at some point. While I would be happy with any of the shortstops as a return from the Cubs (Castro, Russell, Baez) my preference would be Russell followed by Baez then, Castro, in that order. Russell seems to have the best shot at being a two way, all around player. He seems to have the best plate discipline with potential for some power as well as solid defense in the field. Baez has immense power and okay defense but so far has struggled to make contact and understand the strike zone. Castro, the most experienced, is signed to a decent contract, has great ability at the plate but often loses focus on defense and appears disinterested or lackadaisical at times. Again, these are all upgrades compared to Flores and Tejada, and they are all very young, but it all depends on what would be going to the Windy City in return.