The Cubs and Mets Match Up So Well, But Maybe Only for a Bigger Trade?

Yesterday, Mets President Sandy Alderson joined the New York Post’s baseball podcast, where he described his team’s deficiencies at DH, as well as in the bullpen, in addition to their known needs behind the plate.

“We’ve got among the lowest DH productivity in the game,” Alderson said. “Take Alonso out of it and it’s been very poor. … We’ve been waiting all season for one or two of those players to ignite, and that hasn’t happened.”

You can read the rest of Alderson’s comments from Will Sammon at The Athletic, particularly about the bullpen, which Alderson says “needs to be strengthened” and Sammon calls a “concern that New York must address.”

So to recap those needs: bullpen, catcher, DH.

As you should know by now, the eminently available Willson Contreras is not only an All-Star catcher and frequent designated hitter this season, he’s also the best bat available on the market. Throw in the fact that Cubs closer David Robertson is often considered the best available reliever on the market, while his primary two setup men, Mychal Givens and Chris Martin, are also attractive trade targets, and, I mean… there just aren’t many dots to connect here: The Cubs and Mets match up exceedingly well in terms of talent available/sought ahead of the 2022 deadline.

Meanwhile, the Cubs are *clear* sellers, while the Mets have pushed all in on this season, but have just a 2.5 game lead over the surging Braves.

But there is one additional wrinkle (the purpose of this post), which brings us back to Sammon’s article at The Athletic:

Leading up to the Aug. 2 trade deadline, it’s seemingly a concern that New York must address, though industry sources say doing so could prove tricky for the Mets….

The expectation, according to industry sources, in terms of prospect cost for a rental reliever this summer should be what it usually is: a lower B-level or C-level prospect….

The issue for the Mets is that their farm system does not contain many of those types. New York has a few elite prospects, but in the eyes of evaluators from other teams, the depth after the top guys is weak.

The Mets have the No. 2 prospect in MLB, Francisco Alvarez, who is absolutely not being traded. And the same probably goes for Brett Baty, a consensus top-40 type, who’s ranked much higher to some lists. Those guys just don’t get dealt much anymore. There are a couple of back-end top-100 types, who could maybe be available in the right deal, but it really thins out after that.

For a little added reference, the Cubs have 14 prospects with a 45 or higher future value ranking according to FanGraphs. The Mets have seven, including their two untouchables.

So what’s my point? Well, it’s possible that the only sort of deal that could work for both the Mets and the Cubs is one that includes a package of big leaguers leaving Chicago (as in Contreras and maybe one of the relievers*) for a deal centered around one of the better prospects in the Mets system (ie those back-end top-100 types) — or possibly some of the younger, big league talent on the Mets roster.

I’m speculating, but given all the information we have, it seems to add up.

I’m also not pulling this concept completely out of nowhere.

According to Sahadev Sharma and Patrick Mooney, last deadline, the Cubs and Mets discussed “A larger potential deal — which included other big names coming from the Cubs and more prospects from the Mets,” before it was ultimately scraped. Maybe second time’s the charm. Or maybe the Mets will be more willing to include some of their younger, big-league talent to help facilitate a deal. Either way, it seems that a deal between the Mets and Cubs – for however good they match up on paper – might require a much bigger overall scope to get across the finish line.

*My gut tells me that the Cubs are going to want to deal David Robertson in his own deal in an effort to maximize their total deadline returns, but I also don’t think a package is entirely out of the question.

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