The following are insights, ideas and notes gathered from recent conversations with team sources, rival executives, reporters, front office assistants, and talent evaluators...
Is Mookie Betts ever going to get traded?
According to a variety of reports, it seems the Dodgers and Padres are the teams involved in talks with the Sox.
My quick survey of insiders points to Betts being on the Red Sox come Opening Day.
The Dodgers are viewed as a better fit because they have more attractive big league talent to deal and Boston still wants to contend in 2020. The Padres, on the other hand, prefer to put the emphasis on prospects in exchange for moving salary and that is not necessarily Boston's goal.
In my view, the Mets have the parts and pieces to acquire Betts. However, taking on a $30 million player right now is almost certainly not something they want to do.
The money can be offset by including Jed Lowrie and/or Jeurys Familia, but that is predicated on Boston wanting either of those two guys.
Why did the Pirates trade Starling Marte to the Diamondbacks and not the Mets?
I asked this question of a few people aware of these talks and it's my understanding that Arizona's offer had been sitting for several weeks on Pittsburgh's desk. So, during that time, the Pirates wisely continued asking other teams to offer more either in quality of prospects and/or affordable, high-ceiling big league talent.
I wrote several times -- as did SNY's Andy Martino and others -- that the Mets were being asked for a combination of big league players and prospects. It was also often reported that the Pirates had interest in Brandon Nimmo.
It has long been the consensus among insiders I know that a 26-year-old Nimmo making roughly $2 million in 2020 with another two years of team control is a far better short- and long-term bet than a 31-year-old Marte being paid $11.5 million this season and $12.5 million in 2021.
So, at this late date and with Nimmo off the table, the Pirates finally accepted the deal from Arizona. Case closed.
"Bumgarner taking less in 2020 is evidence that Arizona was confident they could acquire Marte -- or at least someone comparable in terms of talent and salary," a rival, veteran executive who likes to educate me on how the market works, told me.
That same evaluator also said "these deals aren't made in a vacuum."
For instance, he cited how the Yankees felt they had the best offer on the table for Gerrit Cole when the Pirates traded him to Houston in 2018. It also seems multiple teams felt they had a better offer on the table for Chris Archer when he was dealt that same summer from Tampa to Pittsburgh. So, why did a lesser offer get accepted? Because the receiving team has the right to like and need prospects in a way that is different than the popular, published prospect reports.
"Just because you or I or Baseball America think these guys are 'top 100,' or 'top 10 in a system,' that doesn't mean the Pirates see it that way," the same executive concluded.
The three way deal
Similar to Betts, my hunch is the Mets are not heavily involved in talks for Nolan Arenado or Kris Bryant. I think, as was the case for Marte, they're an option for Colorado or Chicago, but not a top option.
To get a big deal done, multiple insiders suggest the Mets have to find a third team to help meet the needs of Colorado (for Arenado) or the Cubs (for Bryant). Their feel is that while Van Wagenen has high-value prospects to trade, to get a deal done with his existing system and roster, he'll have to part with a big league pitcher such as Steven Matz. If he then wants to replace Matz with a comparable pitcher, it becomes difficult because the free agent market is dry and the cost of trading for Jon Gray or Matt Boyd is way too high.
In other words, a byproduct of trading for an elite third baseman would not just be trading off top prospects but also swapping in Michael Wacha for Matz. This is why, to add desired talent to the deal for Chicago or Colorado, the Mets would need another team to foot the bill.
For what it's worth
The time has passed for the Yankees to deal Clint Frazier.
There will be a lot of talk this summer about the M's fielding offers for Kyle Seager.
Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) is a senior writer of MetsBlog.com, which he created in 2003. His book, The New York Mets Fans' Bucket List, details 44 things every Mets fan should experience during their lifetime.