6:33pm: Newsday’s Marc Carig hears that the Mets have indeed discussed Aramis Ramirez with the Brewers. Any trade involving Ramirez would be more about how much of his contract the Mets would take on as opposed to what the Brewers would get in return. As for Segura, Carig writes that he’s not likely to be made available.
Though the two sides have talked, a Ramirez trade seems unlikely. FOX’s Ken Rosenthal hears that there’s little traction in Ramirez discussions because Milwaukee is uninterested in Niese (Twitter links). While Gee might be a better fit, there would be a lot more financial legwork to figure out in that scenario, per Rosenthal. Gee is owed a bit more than $3MM through season’s end, but Ramirez is owed an additional $8.8MM.
It could be argued that adding Ramirez wouldn’t be an upgrade for the Mets anyhow. While the team may very well benefit from upgrading by replacing Niese or Gee with Matz, much of that benefit could be outweighed by the lack of flexibility to make future moves as well as the possibility that Ramirez continues to produce at a sub-replacement-level pace.
5:37pm: The Mets have placed their efforts to trade a starting pitcher on hold during the draft but will now look to trade a starting pitcher “in short order,” tweets Newsday’s David Lennon. That lines up with recent reports from ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin and the New York Post’s Mike Puma stating that lefty Steven Matz could be up in the near future — perhaps before the end of June.
In order to accommodate Matz, the team seems likely to increase its efforts to find a taker for lefty Jon Niese (earning $7MM in 2015 and guaranteed $9MM in 2016 plus a pair of club options) or righty Dillion Gee (earning $5.3MM in 2015 and controllable via arbitration for the 2016 season). Both Niese and Gee could be viewed as superfluous with Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and the veteran Bartolo Colon all representing options, to say nothing of Matz or the currently injured Rafael Montero.
Furthermore, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Mets and Brewers have had preliminary trade talks, with the Mets eyeing Milwaukee’s position players (Twitter link). That might lead to speculation regarding Aramis Ramirez, though in yesterday’s report, Rubin stated that the Mets have little to no interest in Ramirez. The Mets feel that Ramirez’s skills are diminishing, and they’re still hopeful that David Wright will contribute in 2015, so they prefer more versatile bats that can handle multiple positions.
Speculatively speaking, Jean Segura would make sense for the Mets, who have long been looking for an upgrade at shortstop due to defensive deficiencies with Wilmer Flores. Of course, Segura himself is not regarded as an elite defender, though his .287/.322/.408 batting line is superior to Flores’ .245/.270/.417 triple-slash. Segura also comes with an additional three years of club control beyond the 2015 season, making the likely asking price relatively significant. As such, it’s tough to imagine Gee or Niese serving as a significant component in a trade for Segura, though the Mets could always add other pieces.
It’s worth emphasizing, of course, that Morosi categorized trade talks between New York and Milwaukee as “preliminary,” and there are plenty of other teams that may have interest in swapping a versatile, if unspectacular bat for a veteran innings eater that can stabilize the back end of a rotation.
There are a number of other teams looking for some stabilization in the rotation. The Astros and Rays, for instance, have both incurred injuries to starters and have some versatile pieces to offer. Luis Valbuena hasn’t hit especially well this season, but he’s a earning a not-insignificant $4.2MM and could add some power to the Mets’ lineup, with the injured Jed Lowrie slotting back into his position once activated from the DL. The Rays have a number of versatile pieces, including Logan Forsythe, Nick Franklin and Asdrubal Cabrera. Forsythe has probably been too valuable for Tampa to move, however, while Franklin would figure to have more trade value than that of a back-end starter, and Cabrera has played quite poorly of late. A couple other versatile pieces that could be theoretical trade fits if the Mets can sweeten the deal would be the Mariners’ Brad Miller and the Dodgers’ Alex Guerrero.
A player such as Martin Prado or Ben Zobrist would seem to be a strong fit for the Mets’ desires, as Rubin noted yesterday, though they, too, would be difficult to acquire without including pieces beyond Gee or Niese.
As the above speculation indicates, it’s difficult to find an obvious fit for the Mets, as neither Gee nor Niese is teeming with trade value. GM Sandy Alderson will likely have his work cut out for him if his aim is to both free a spot in his rotation for Matz and add a bat that can help at the Major League level in one fell swoop. One way of accomplishing the goal would be to include Montero in a trade, but the promising young hurler has been on the disabled list since late April with a shoulder issue and has not yet begun a rehab assignment.