In the past week the New York Mets have been linked to several right handed outfield bats, most notably Justin Upton, Mike Morse, and Scott Hairston. While each would fill a huge need for New York, there are significant obstacles to obtaining all three.
Arizona Diamondbacks General Manager Kevin Towers has been proactive in shopping Upton, his 25-year old all-star caliber right fielder, but his asking price is through the roof. No less than seven teams have engaged Arizona in trade discussions involving the Norfolk, VA native since the winter meetings and Towers hadn’t fielded an offer to his liking until he came close to pillaging Seattle’s farm system last week. The Mariners agreed in principle to ship their top pitching prospect Taijuan Walker, their best minor league bat Nick Franklin, and two of their young bullpen arms, Charlie Furbush and Stephen Pryor to the desert, but Seattle was one of four teams (along with Boston, Chicago Cubs, and Toronto) on Upton’s no trade clause, and the veteran nixed the deal. A similar package from the Mets would include Zack Wheeler, Wilmer Flores, Jeurys Familia, and Josh Edgin, and that is just not a trade that makes sense for New York at the present time.
The Mets have made it clear they won’t trade Wheeler, Matt Harvey, or Travis d’Arnaud under any circumstances and based on that alone it makes it unlikely the two clubs could come to an agreement. If Arizona were to lower the price the Mets may be able to put together a package centered around Flores, and Noah Syndergaard, the AA pitcher they got from the Blue Jays in the R.A. Dickey trade, but don’t hold your breath.
Morse may make even less sense for the Mets, as he’s already 30 years old and only has one year remaining on his contract. The Nationals had planned on playing the veteran at first base this year after trading for outfielder Denard Span, but when they resigned Adam LaRoche, Morse seems to be the odd man out. He did hit .303 with 31 homeruns in 2011, but the Nationals are seeking young left handed bullpen arms in return for him, and New York won’t surrender either Josh Edgin or Robert Carson to a division foe.
In regards to Hairston, the veteran makes the most sense as he’s a free-agent and New York wouldn’t have to trade anything for him. But, after crushing 20 homers last year, the third generation big leaguer is holding out for a multi-year deal and the Mets simply don’t want to commit more than one. New York has a ton of money coming off their payroll following the 2013 season and wants to keep their options open heading into next winter.