The Mets were 17-13 and 1.5 games back of first place in the NL East going into Wednesday. The Angels, on the other hand, were 13-18 and 7.5 games behind baseball’s lone 20 game winner, the Texas Rangers. So suggesting the Angels try to swing a deal for the Mets’ best/franchise player might qualify for the wild and careless department of trade rumors.
Fortunately, that’s where I excel. My business card includes the phrases “wild and careless” and “pick me for a free lunch.” If anybody knows where a Bennigan’s is still open, my treat.
The Angels have had a weakness at third base since Troy Glaus, and to a lesser extent, Chone Figgins, departed. That’s the perception, at least. Alberto Callaspo‘s 3.6 fWAR (Fangraphs wins above replacement) was tied for fifth best among all qualified third baseman in 2011. But a .234/.279/.281 slash to start 2012 and the Angels decision to give Mark Trumbo time to butcher the hot corner like he starred in Gangs of New York, doesn’t bode well for his future as the Angels third bagger.
Which leads me back to the protagonist of this post, David Wright. Wright struggled with a stress fracture and a power outage in 2011 but has rebounded nicely in 2012. The Mets star is hitting .375/.479/.552 in his first 117 plate appearances this year. Sure, I don’t think the .429 BABIP (batting average of balls in play) is sustainable either but Wright has looked better at the plate. Wright has already posted a 1.7 fWAR in 2012 after a 1.9 fWAR for all of the 2011 season.
The Mets own a $16 million club option on Wright for 2013 but that disappears if they trade him. So a deadline (or earlier) deal would make Wright a free agent at season’s end which would decrease his trade value. Chris Cwik made an argument at Frangraphs that Wright could be in line for a 6-year, $100 million extension. That is a steep price. The Mets might be willing to go that far to keep a face of their franchise around after Jose Reyes relocated to Miami this past offseason.
The Angels might be willing to spend that much, too. Owner Arte Moreno committed over $300 million on one day to sign Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson. Moreno did just sign a new $3 billion TV deal with Fox. So buying Pujols was like you treating yourself to a large Blizzard from the DQ after you win $20 from a scratch off. The Halos, however, still aren’t scoring enough runs to support their vaunted starting pitching staff.
Would the Angels throw another $100 million at Wright? Torii Hunter‘s $18.5 million comes off the books next year along with the $9 million the Angels are paying Bobby Abreu to not play for them. But a lot of other players are getting raises and *shutters* Vernon Wells still gets almost 25 million free dollars. So the Angels might not have the cash to give Wright the extension he’ll be looking for.
Of course, the other problem is the Angels would have to send the Mets a package of prospects/players to acquire Wright. GM Jerry Dipoto might have made this easier after signing 2B Howie Kendrick and SS Erick Aybar to four year extensions. That leaves the Angels top non-pitching prospect, Jean Segura, effectively blocked. Segura can play 2B and SS, positions the Mets aren’t exactly overflowing with possibilities. Landing Wright, though, would probably cost the Angels one of their top pitching prospects, Garrett Richards or John Hellweg come to mind, as well.
Back to the title of this post, it is just some good, old fashioned, wild and careless trade speculation but it does bring up a good “who would hang up first” scenario. Plus, if I start a trade rumor that actually happens, the baseball blogger union gives me a 14 cent per year raise and I’m so close to affording that pack of Skittles I’ve had my eyes on. So here it begins, I’m completely and unfoundedly (might not be a real word) starting the Jean Segura/John Hellweg based package to the Mets for David Wright rumor.