A report has come out from Mike Puma of the New York Post that the Mets are beginning to look for relief help on the open market. The team is currently in a second place in a competitive National League Eastern division. They trail the Washington Nationals by six games and are tied with the Miami Marlins. They need to make a move and now is the time.
The San Diego Padres are definite sellers at the trade market. The team has already moved James Shields and Fernando Rodney so far this season as they look to get younger. Ryan Buchter and Brad Hand are a couple of very productive lefties that could be of some use to a playoff bound team. The report from the N.Y. Post indicates the Mets are looking at both players as the Mets try to shore up their bullpen. Buchter would probably be the more expensive of the two players to acquire.
Here is the Mets’ priority heading toward the trade deadline: https://t.co/eCqsvaQA4E
— Mike Puma (@NYPost_Mets) July 14, 2016
Buchter has been lights out this season going 1-0 with a 2.61 ERA and striking out 55 batters in 38 innings pitched. The big lefty has virtually come out of nowhere to be a huge part of the bullpen. A.J. Preller might be hesitant to deal him, but Buchter is 29 and definitely not a young prospect. He could have a very nice long career, but the Padres also could view him as a great sell-high candidate. Buchter is very inexpensive and you cannot argue with his production so far in the major leagues. If the Mets want him, they will need to pay the price.
Brad Hand was acquired via waivers from the Marlins and has really taken off under the tutelage of Daren Balsley and Doug Bochtler. He is presently 2-2 with a 3.10 ERA and has struck out 60 batters in 49 innings pitched. The 26-year-old has really blossomed as a Padres after being shuttled back and forth between the majors and minors with the Marlins. He is more aggressive in attacking hitters and has only allowed 38 hits so far in 2016. Hand can get a little wild from time to time but has improved in that are too.
What do the Mets have to offer?
Their farm system isn’t the strongest in areas where the Padres need help, but there are some options for the Padres. Immediately the idea of Zack Wheeler makes sense for the Padres. They are surely looking for starting pitchers, but Wheeler is fresh off Tommy John surgery and there are recent reports he is not close to returning to the mound. He may have had a minor setback, and with that, he is a big injury risk. The former 1st round pick of the San Francisco Giants is a solid pitcher and at the ago of 26 it is really early to write him off. In 2014 Wheeler started 32 games for the Mets going 11-11 with a 3.54 ERA. He struck out 187 batters in 185 innings pitched and looked on his way to stardom. An elbow injury has sidetracked him, but his ability would be very enticing to the Padres. Buyer beware, but the ceiling is very high with this young man if he’s healthy.
Left handed hitting outfielder Brandon Nimmo seems ready to contribute at the major league level, but the Padres are loaded in the outfield at the upper minor league levels. He is a nice prospect in need of a new franchise, but the Padres probably aren’t that team. Thomas Szapucki is a left-handed pitcher who is a better fit for the Padres. In dealing Hand or Buchter, it would be nice to get a young lefty prospect in return and Szapucki could be that man. He is 1-1 currently in Rookie Ball with a 0.42 ERA and a 0.88 WHIP in 21.2 innings pitched and four starts. He was the teams 5th round pick in 2015 and has a bit of a funky motion. Word is that his delivery needs refinement, but he has the ability to throw three above-average pitches. He tops out at 94 MPH on the radar gun and has an excellent slider to boot. His change up is also solid, but he needs to resolve his control issues. Szapucki is an interesting option.
Josh Smoker and Robert Gsellman also make sense for the Padres. Smoker is a 27-year-old left-handed pitcher at the Triple-A level and could be a decent pickup. Gsellman is also in Triple-A where the 22-year-old was recently promoted after having a great first half in Double-A. He is more of a pitcher than a thrower and could help booster the Padres upper minor league pitching staff. The team is weak with high level pitching talent and will surely look for prospects who are closer to being major league ready with their next round of acquisitions.
A.J. Preller is certainly doing things. Between the draft, the International Market opening up and the trade deadline, the Padres have revamped their entire minor league system. All that is left is to clean house at the major league level and get rid of high salaries and make room for the kids. Austin Hedges, Hunter Renfroe, Carlos Asuaje and Manuel Margot must play. The team must see what we have with each young player. If that means dealing Matt Kemp, Melvin Upton Jr., Derek Norris and Jon Jay... then so be it. The Padres should be active this month. A.J. Preller is surely taking trade with just about any team that has talent to offer. Stay tuned Padres fans. It is going to be interesting.