First on the Mets to-do list once their season mercifully ends on Oct. 3 will be General Manager Sandy Alderson aggressively looking into swapping outfielder Jason Bay for anything he can possibly get in return.
The likelihood of the Mets actually being able to find a crazy enough trade partner who would consider taking on an outfielder who is hitting .155 with eight homers in 187 at-bats is admittedly slim. That isn’t even taking into account that Bay is owed $19 million next season, including a 2014 buyout.
However, as Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork pointed out in an article on Tuesday, there are other “toxic” contracts that other teams will be looking to rid themselves of.
The Mets might be able to capitalize on this by swapping one financial headache for another team’s contract of similar digestibility and hoping that a change of scenery might net them a player who catches lightning in a bottle.
One particular team that might be a match for the Mets is the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Jays are currently in last place in the AL East and are boasting a 68-86 record. Much like the Mets, the Blue Jays have a few undesirable contracts that could be worked into a larger deal for both clubs.
Also, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports recently wrote that the Blue Jays are looking to aggressively shop around this offseason in an effort to shore up needs in other areas.
Two names on the Blue Jays that could fit the bill of being a bad contract and also a possible producer in 2012 in a potential deal are: left fielder Adam Lind and shortstop Yunel Escobar.
Lind is currently owed $5 million in 2013 and is hitting .240 with 10 HR and 40 RBIs for the Jays this season. With buyouts of option years, the minimum amount the Jays will have to pay Lind is a cool $7 million.
Lind, while under-performing, could platoon with Lucas Duda in left field, leaving the Mets with only center field as their most pressing outfield need.
Escobar, while a bit of a headcase, is likely to be traded by the Jays after hitting .255 this season for Toronto. The shortstop is owed $10 million next season, and would allow the Mets to either shift Ruben Tejada or Escobar to second base.
If you are doing the math, the trade looks like this so far: Bay ($19m) for Lind ($7m) + Escobar ($10m). Not all that exciting for the Blue Jays.
Rosenthal said the Blue Jays are looking into upgrading their starting rotation, second base and left field. All of which the Mets can consider parting with.
Last offseason the Mets and Jays had reportedly discussed a deal that would have sent Mets hurler Jon Niese to Toronto for catching prospect J.P. Arencibia.
While Niese should not be traded (in this particular scenario), another combination of Mets starting pitchers or prospects could be considered as an option. Plus, the team could now afford to trade incumbent second basemen Daniel Murphy.
Perhaps the Mets could package Collin McHugh or Dillion Gee into the deal. Anything at this point would be worth considering if it meant the team could rid themselves of the sight of Bay trotting out onto the diamond at Citi Field.
So how is this for an armchair GM deal:
METS GET: Adam Lind ($7m) + Yunel Escobar ($10m) + J.P. Arencibia ($490k) | TOTAL: $17,490m.
BLUE JAYS GET: Jason Bay (19m) + Daniel Murphy ($512k) + Dillon Gee ($502k) + Prospect | TOTAL: $20,014m.
Both teams rid themselves of ugly contracts, fills holes in their roster and, in the Mets’ case particularly, it sheds salary after the 2013 season—supposedly when we can expect the Mets to be decent again.