Earlier this morning on the MLB Network, analyst Carlos Pena mentioned that the New York Mets should make an effort to acquire the Tampa Bay Rays’ third baseman Evan Longoria. Although Longoria would improve the Mets’ lineup dramatically, the Mets should not include him as one of their targets.
The main reason why the Mets should explore other options at third base is because the price tag for Longoria would be extraordinarily high. If the Mets were to engage the Rays in trade discussions, the Rays would most likely ask for players like Steven Matz, Michael Conforto, Zack Wheeler, and Dilson Herrera.
We also have not seen any signs from the Rays’ end that they would be willing to move the face of their franchise. The Rays currently sit in last place in the American League East, but the division also has the smallest margin of games between the top and bottom club in the entire league.
Longoria, 30, is batting .279 this season with 16 home runs and 40 RBIs in 61 games this season. He has also been arguably the hottest player in the month of June with a .349 average and seven home runs.
He’s a right-handed power bat that could slide into the middle of an order, and be the missing component the Mets need if they want to jump past the Washington Nationals in the National League East.
Longoria’s under team control through 2022 with over $100 million left on his deal with a team option for the 2023 season. For the Mets to take on that much salary for someone with David Wright on the roster with a large contract of his own would be extremely unlikely. The Mets will already be financially restricted when they have to give their starting pitchers contract extensions, and this would handicap them even further. Longoria’s no-trade clause does not kick in until the 2018 season when he will have ten years of service in the big leagues, and five years with the same team.
The Mets lost their starting third baseman David Wright in early June when they placed him on the 15-Day DL with a neck injury, and now the newest report says that Wright is considering season-ending neck surgery. If Wright does elect to have the surgery, it will be just the latest reason why the Mets need to make a move.
Internal options of who can play third base are Kelly Johnson, Wilmer Flores, Matt Reynolds, and Ty Kelly. The problem with that, however, is these players are question marks on whether they can provide consistent play the rest of the way. Kelly Johnson and Wilmer Flores have been more of utility players for the Mets, and Ty Kelly and Matt Reynolds have been back and forth between the majors and Triple-A Las Vegas.
If the Mets were to make a trade for a third baseman, they should look to acquire players like Trevor Plouffe of the Minnesota Twins and Danny Valencia of the Oakland Athletics. Plouffe is batting .240 with five home runs and 20 RBIs, and Valencia is batting .335 with 10 home runs and 25 RBIs.
Since the Rays would ask for the moon and the stars for Longoria, and with his remaining money, Longoria to the Mets seems much more like a fantasy than a reality.