12:23am: And Jaye Chapman is being sent to Chicago as part of the deal. 2/2 with identifying what AAA players Wild Card teams would be willing to move.
10:56pm: Oh, hey look, Reed Johnson traded to Atlanta…so 2/2 with trades that end up busting hours after post. Can’t wait for tomorrow’s.
The Trade Deadline is quickly approaching, and the Mets, thankfully, are looking more like sellers as each loss piles up. While Sandy Alderson and his personnel were looking for pieces to buy as recently as three weeks ago, the abrupt struggles by the Mets leave them little time to work out trades with the still-contending teams.
For help that nobody in the Mets’ organization will ever see, and mostly for my personal amusement, I’ll be developing a trade a day until the trade deadline. Each one makes sense on paper and will help the Mets for a run next year.
Without further ado, today’s trade suggestion:
OF Scott Hairston, RHP Jon Rauch, 3B Wilmer Flores and cash considerations to the Atlanta Braves for 2B Tommy La Stella, RHP J.R. Graham, and RHP Jaye Chapman.
The Braves need a lefty killer. Hairston is one of the best in the bigs, with a season slash-line of .308/.341/.617 against southpaws. He’d be an immense upgrade over the struggling and injured Matt Diaz.
Rauch has a history of being a solid reliever, and if the Mets pick up his whole salary (something a team needs to do in order to get better return), he’ll find a spot in Atlanta’s bullpen. I mean, he’s a better option than Luis Avilan at least.
Wilmer Flores is a 20-year old Mets prospect. After being hyped up by the media upon his arrival as a A-Rod type of player, he’s had some below-average seasons in the minors, and moved from SS to 3B, decreasing his value. Right now though, he’s looking he may be able to stick at 3B, and the Braves could definitely use another 3B in a year. He’s also hitting very well for the first time since signing with Mets, so selling him high would be a good idea.
Quick side note on the Braves’ 3B situation. They too have a 3B prospect who may not stick (Edward Salcedo). Adding Flores gives them an increased chance of having an impact 3B for the next 10 years, and, at the worst, gives them a strong fourth outfielder.
In return, the Mets would grab a bat-heavy 2B in La Stella. While scouts question whether or not he can stick at 2B, they get excited about his bat. La Stella has the potential to be a Daniel Murphy 2.0 player, with a bit less contact, and a bit more pop.
J.R. Graham would be the prize of this deal. A 4th round pick out of Santa Clara University from last year’s draft, Graham has a 2.27 ERA over 170.1 minor league innings so far. With a fastball that averages around 96mph, and a wicked slider, his floor looks like that of an elite closer while his ceiling is tremendous. With the Braves already having two top-50 pitching prospects in Julio Teheran and Randall Delgado, and young pitchers like Tommy Hanson, Mike Minor, and Brandon Beachy, and the Braves have a starting five for the next four-to-five years.
Jaye Chapman is a minor league reliever that is close to being big-league ready. He’s not overpowering, and doesn’t have filthy peripherals, but he’s solid. He has good command to go with the average fastball and would be a good bridge guy to the 8th inning electric arms. At this point, he’d be an immediate upgrade over the Acostalypse.
Why would the Braves do this? For starters, they’re rivals with the Mets, and trading with rivals means paying a premium. Hairston would give them a bat they would really use in a run for a Wild Card spot. Rauch would be a free upgrade this year over marginal relievers the Braves have, and Flores is a decent prospect. In return the Mets get a bullpen arm for 2013, a possible #2 starter or dominant reliever, and Daniel Murphy. That’s not a bad haul for Scott Hairston, Jon Rauch, and an overhyped prospect.