It’s Time for a Mets and Yankees Trade
It’s time for a New York Mets and New York Yankees trade. The cross-town rivals rarely do business with each other. However, Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen and Yankees general manager Brian Cashman are both open to making a trade. The ice might be starting to melt in New York.
Recent Mets and Yankees Trade History
The last trade made between the two teams was, surprisingly, last season. In April, the Yankees traded Kendall Coleman to the Mets for L.J. Mazzilli, but both of those players are no longer in the major leagues.
The most famous trade between the teams was back in 2001 when the teams exchanged aging players. The Yankees shipped David Justice to the Mets for Robin Ventura. There was also the 2003 trade that saw the Mets trade Armando Benitez to the Yankees. This raised eyebrows, since Benitez famously drilled Tino Martinez with a pitch back in 1998 when he was pitching for the Baltimore Orioles.
This trade proposal is not taking baby steps. It’s massive, both in terms of players and contracts. The Mets were shopping pitchers Zack Wheeler and Noah Syndergaard. The Yankees tried to trade for either of them. The Yankees won’t overpay and the Mets have to get more back.
Both teams not only have to make a trade that works for their teams but also need to appease their fan bases. That is the price for sharing the city. When this author suggested last year that the Mets should trade the eventual National League Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom to the Yankees, he was simply told no thanks. The answer was always the same. Yankee fans told him that they didn’t want to help rebuild the Mets. Even if deGrom wins the Yankees the World Series. Ouch. That is a harsh-but-true feeling between the fan bases.
The Trade Proposal
The Mets should trade second basemen Robinson Cano and starting pitcher Marcus Stroman to the Yankees for outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, relief pitcher Chad Green, and $38 million in cash. Many readers could be saying, “Why would each team do that?” Cano and Stanton are not liked by the fan bases. Many who liked the trades at the time don’t like them anymore, so there are no emotional attachments to either player.
Stroman wants to be a Yankee and unless he pitches like a beast down the stretch he has no connection to the Met fan base. $20 million of the $38 million the Mets are getting back evens out the salaries between Cano and Stanton. The extra $18 million and Chad Green are a bonus for the Mets taking the remaining years and money off the Yankees hands.
The Mets Effect
The Mets will be rid of Cano and it allows Jeff McNeil to be their starting second baseman. Stanton will become the everyday right fielder. Rookie Pete Alonso will get much-needed protection in the batting order. It also will form a potent one-two punch of power for the Mets in the middle of their lineup. Green will provide a good arm for the Mets struggling bullpen, while J.D. Davis will move to third base full time.
Now, for the starting rotation, something the Mets have to figure out. With Stroman traded, the Mets will have a hole in their rotation, but deGrom, Syndergaard and Steven Matz are still under contract. Wheeler is a free agent after the season and can be re-signed. The Mets team payroll will be around $125 million once they buy out Juan Lagares. With the Stanton and Cano contracts a wash, the Mets will have money to fill out their team.
More Work Is Needed
There is still work for the Mets to do. They need a true centerfielder and a two-way catcher. They have to decide if Amed Rosario is going to be their shortstop. Bullpen help is still needed. If by some miracle Yoenis Cespedes is healthy, he will fill the hole in left field, but Mets fans won’t hold their breath waiting for Cespedes to return.
The Stanton Side
The Stanton caveat is that he can opt out after the 2020 season. The Mets would certainly not care if he does do so. However, with the amount of money Stanton is guaranteed, that would be a long shot. Stanton also probably won’t get that kind of contract again, so it is unlikely that he will opt out unless he does not like playing in New York. Stanton also has a full no-trade clause, so there is no guarantee he would agree to the trade. The Mets might need to pick up the 2028 club option when Stanton is 38 years old to seal the trade.
Also, the National League might adopt the designated hitter during the time Stanton could be a Met. Stanton’s defense will become a liability as he gets older, making him an ideal DH for the Mets.
The Yankees Side
The next question is why would the Yankees want Cano back. For starters, it eliminates four years of Stanton’s contract and saves $100 million. It allows regular playing time for Clint Frazier if the Yankees decide to go in that direction. Cano can play games at DH or at third base as well as second base. He is a Yankee at heart and just chased the money when he signed with the Seattle Mariners.
The infield is overcrowded. Gleyber Torres is not going anywhere. Didi Gregorius will be a free agent at the end of the season. He will get a big contract and he is considered a team leader. DJ LeMahieu will be entering the last year of his contract. Miguel Andujar is coming off an injury. Gio Urshela has been a complete surprise. There is no guarantee he has the same offensive success next season, as he was a career .270 hitter in 11 minor league seasons.
Stroman will become a top of the rotation pitcher. The Yankees would be getting him without moving any of their minor league chips and can observe Stroman during the 2020 season before deciding to re-sign him. Luis Severino has not pitched this season, while C.C. Sabathia is retiring at the end of the season. Masahiro Tanaka will be a free agent at the end of the 2020 season and will not be back unless he takes a pay cut.
Yankees Need Money
The most obvious reason is financial relief. Yes, the Yankees have deep pockets and will spend anything to win, but they are making a conscious effort to stay under the luxury tax threshold. The Yankees have young star players like Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Andujar, Gregorius, and Torres, who eventually will get big contracts. There has to be a limit to how many players can make big money. Stanton is not a homegrown Yankee and has not contributed to the success of this team.
Losing Stanton will not hurt the Yankees in the win column. Green is a nice bullpen piece, but if Dellin Betances comes back, Green would be pushed further down the pecking order. This trade rids a huge contract from the Yankee payroll starting in 2024. Judge and Sanchez become unrestricted free agents in 2023, Andujar in 2024, and Torres in 2025. It is not unreasonable to think all four players will get contracts north of $100 million, in addition to what Gregorius can get this offseason if the Yankees re-sign him. Jacoby Ellsbury and his $21 million will come off the books after next season, and that will help.
This is a trade that helps both teams short-term and long-term. The trade does not guarantee a World Series title for each team. It also does not help the Mets rebuild their franchise. It just moves parts that fit better on the other team by trading players that have no positive emotional attachments to their fan bases.
Also, there are questions about how productive Cano will be with his career winding down. The Yankees can withstand a player making a lot of money and not contributing to the team, with the most recent player being Ellsbury.
Additionally, the Yankees might need to add a mid-level prospect to appease the Mets ownership for taking on $100 million dollars, but these are issues that can be easily resolved. It’s time for the Mets and Yankees to completely melt the ice and make a trade that helps each other out.
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