There are probably conversations taking place this week between David Wright and his reps with Sandy Alderson and his crew, trying to get a handle on the Mets future plans, with the intention of making Wright a long-term offer.
The hope is that the sides will come to an agreement, one that will probably be worth well more than $100 million.
But what if the groups emerge from these meetings without a contract?
Then, the Mets would have to look into trading Wright.
The team that would take Wright on a one-year deal, without the promise of re-signing, would have to be one that thinks his acquisition betters their chances at playing in the 2013 World Series.
It would have to be one that can absorb Wright’s salary for next season.
And the team would have to be one with enough talent at positions of Mets need (outfield, catching, pitching depth, not to mention a replacement for Wright) to pique their interest.
There are three teams that we can’t see the Mets sending Wright to, even though a personnel fit may exist: the division-rival Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies and the crosstown-rival New York Yankees.
But what other teams might give Alderson a call?
Here are a few guesses:
The conversation starts with …The Diamondbacks have a spare outfielder in 25-year-old Gerardo Parra, who has put up good defensive numbers at the corner positions and has stolen 15 bases in each of the last two seasons.
Parra is two years removed from a good season, one in which he posted a .357 on-base percentage, .784 OPS and 2.8 WAR.
The Diamondbacks have a potential replacement for Wright in Chris Johnson (.281 BA, 15 home runs), whose 132 strikeouts and 31 walks (and an 0.7 WAR) may be a turnoff for Mets management.
The alternative to Johnson would be Matt Davidson, a 21-year-old who rated borderline top-100 in both Keith Law’s and Baseball America’s prospect rankings last spring. Davidson had 20 and 23 home runs the last two seasons, the latter with Double-A Mobile.
The conversation gets intriguing if …It includes one of the Diamondbacks top pitching prospects- Archie Bradley, Trevor Bauer, or Tyler Skaggs. The three were all ranked ahead of Zack Wheeler in Keith Law’s preseason Top 100 prospects ranking from 2012 spring training.
The one caution: the Diamondbacks shut down both Bauer and Skaggs at the end of the season because of drops in their velocities.
Chicago White Sox
The conversation starts with …an understanding that the White Sox may not have the pieces to make this kind of trade. One of the pieces would probably be centerfielder Alejandro De Aza, who had a .349 on-base percentage and 26 steals last season.
The conversation gets intriguing if …the White Sox show a willingness to move some of their young arms, such as Jose Quintana, who had a 2.04 ERA in his first 10 appearances in 2012 before fading and finishing with a 3.76 ERA, or closer Addison Reed (29 saves, 4.75 ERA).
The conversation starts with ...the combination of centerfielder Drew Stubbs and starting pitcher Mike Leake, but that's not too appealing considering they were worth a combined 0.4 WAR last season.
The conversation gets intriguing if ...the Reds open the door to some of their more appealing names. Homer Bailey and Todd Frazier seem like unrealistic asks (unless the Reds were in immediate position to sign Wright long-term), but catching prospect Devin Mesoraco would seem to have significant value if the Mets deem him ready for everyday work.
Los Angeles Angels
The conversation starts with …remembering that last year there were reports that the Mets were interested in outfielder Peter Bourjos and pitcher Garrett Richards.
Despite posting a 4.8 WAR in 2011, Bourjos, a defensive stud, was demoted to a fourth-outfielder role in 2012 due to the presence of Mike Trout, Vernon Wells and (now free-agent) Torii Hunter. When Bourjos did play (he also had a hip injury), his offensive numbers were terrible, including a .606 OPS, down from .765 in 2011.
The 24-year-old Richards has a 4.87 ERA and 1.58 WHIP in 85 major-league innings. The Angels primarily used him out of the bullpen last season.
The conversation gets intriguing if…it includes Jordan Walden, the former Angels closer, who lost his job early in 2012 and missed time due to a bicep injury. Walden’s appeal is his velocity. His fastball peaks at 99 miles-per-hour, but he doesn’t have an effective second pitch. He threw his slider for strikes less than half the time last season.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The conversation starts with …the thinking that this might be a tougher fit than dealing with the White Sox.
Beyond Matt Kemp, the Dodgers roster is crowded with expensive players (such as Hanley Ramirez) that the Mets probably wouldn’t want and young players (like Dee Gordon) who play positions at which the Mets don’t have a need. At 31 years old, A.J. Ellis, who recorded a .373 on-base percentage, would be the most appealing major leaguer and realistic get for the Mets.
The conversation gets intriguing if …The Dodgers offer up No. 1 pitching prospect Zach Lee, one of the few blue-chippers left in the organization after the deals for Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez, and Carl Crawford.