There’s been a lot of talk lately about the Padres looking to add a front-end starting pitcher, specifically Noah Syndergaard of the New York Mets. With a new general manager in Queens – one carrying no track record in this role that we can base potential moves on – along with the unpredictable AJ Preller at the helm for San Diego, this may not be as far-fetched as one thinks.
Here’s what we know: A.) The Padres made an effort to acquire Syndergaard at the July 31 trade deadline this past season; B.) The Mets have said that they’d like to contend in 2019 so Major League ready talent would have to be included in any deal.
With these two points in mind, let’s take a look at what a potential Mets/Padres swap could look like.
Noah Syndergaard, SP
With the Padres looking to contend in the very near future, they have set their sights on Syndergaard to lead their young rotation. Having the depth of other starters both in the big leagues and a year or two away, Syndergaard may soon find himself in another highly-touted starting group in San Diego soon.
Francisco Mejia, C
We’re starting with the prize piece to the transaction. With many insiders saying a deal can’t get done without top prospect, Fernando Tatis Jr., I’m not so sure. Mejia himself is still highly ranked according to MLB Pipeline (#2 catcher in the game, #26 overall, and #3 in the best farm system in baseball – Padres) and we know how badly the Mets need a solution at catcher. The Padres just so happen to have three solid catchers on their 40-man roster (assuming they add Austin Allen in the next 24 or so hours). They know what they have in Austin Hedges, the elite defender of the trio, and Allen would still provide a (potentially potent from what I’ve personally witnessed) left-handed bat from the position. That could offset what Hedges fails to give you in the batter’s box.
Manuel Margot, CF
A former highly-ranked prospect in his own right, Margot may be wearing on the patience of San Diego’s front office following two sub-par seasons offensively. That said, he’s still young enough where another team (the Mets, maybe?) still value him and see the upside evaluators liked when he was coming up.
The Padres then would have several options to replace Margot in center. They could simply lean on in-house options like Travis Jankowski or Franchy Cordero, go down the Wil Myers-in-center experiment again (very unlikely), sign a free agent like AJ Pollock or hometown guy Adam Jones (even though he’s better suited in the corners now) or use more of their minor league depth to acquire a center fielder via trade.
One of Carlos Asuaje, Cory Spangenberg or Christian Villanueva
This one depends on what the Mets are looking for in a fringe starting infielder/depth player. Any of the three can play second base and third base with different skills sets both in the field and at the plate. This actually also serves a need for the Padres in freeing up a roster spot and ridding themselves of a useful, yes, but similar type of player they already have in the other two.
Luis Patino, P
He we focus on the Padres’ depth and the Mets’ future. This could be any number of names including Michel Baez, Adrian Morejon, Logan Allen, Chris Paddack, Cal Quantrill, Ryan Weathers or Anderson Espinoza (yeah, the Padres have a lot of young arms) but the fast-rising Patino (#9 prospect in the Padres system) seems like a good bet to potentially sell high on. It also gives the Mets a chance to restock their pitching in the minors leagues with a high-upside talent.
Without giving up the farm for the Padres while filling several needs for the Mets at the Major League level, this deal seems to make sense for both sides. But is it enough of a return for Mets ownership who has come out and said the deal would have to be completely lopsided (subscription required)? This Padres brass also has a history of overpaying in transactions – save for a couple – so it may end up looking a bit more in favor for New York if it gets completed.