Mets minute: Trade stance softening, uncertainty on left side of infield

Nolan Arenado Mets
Nolan Arenado has been linked to the Mets in trade talks.
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Over the course of three weeks, the New York Mets’ stance on the different avenues of acquiring players has slowly turned. 

Team president Sandy Alderson said at the end of November that the Mets were focused on free agency and were unwilling to trade prospects for upgrades. 

That viewpoint has softened since then.

“There are some interesting players on the trade market, too,” he said on Thursday. “At this point, we need to make sure that we’re actively engaged in both areas.

“We don’t want to give up prospects and we’ll be very careful about doing that, but on the other hand, there might be something out there that makes us say… ‘this makes sense to us’ and while we don’t want to give up prospects, maybe there’s a way we can do this.”

His response came on the heels of reports claiming that the Colorado Rockies want the Mets to get involved in trade talks for superstar third baseman, Nolan Arenado

The 29-year-old is signed for the next six seasons with a $199 million pricetag connected to it. Working out a deal for him without significant financial concessions from the Rockies would take a considerable chunk out of the Mets’ salary-cap space under the league’s luxury tax threshold. That would mean losing out on either center fielder George Springer or starting pitcher Trevor Bauer — both of whom would fulfill the most pressing of team needs.

But Alderson admitted that — after bringing on James McCann as the team’s No. 1 catcher — those two notable needs won’t be the only thing the team is looking for. They’ll be looking everywhere, including at third base, where Arenado just so happens to play. 

As of now, JD Davis is projected to be the Mets’ Opening Day third baseman, bringing questionable defense to the position after struggling through the 2020 season. 

Andres Gimenez, who impressed in his professional debut last season, could be seen as a backup option but only if he’s not the top guy at shortstop, which is his natural position. 

He could usurp Amed Rosario for the starting job as the 25-year-old was unable to build on a strong second half during the 2019 season. Even manager Luis Rojas hinted that the position is not exclusive to just Rosario

“Some of the things that I thought about Rosie is to expand his versatility,” Rojas said. “I know the outfield position has been mentioned before but that’s not something he’s doing and something we’re not planning to do with him. He’s working at shortstop as his main position but to expand… playing a little bit of third base is something that will definitely help him and the team. We’ve had conversations about it, throwing from that angle… learning the position a little bit.”

It leaves the Mets with a bevy of hypotheticals to contend with at the position, which Alderson realized — and will only fuel the Arenado trade rumors further.

“Defensively, our third base situation is a little up in the air. Is it as glaring a need as a third or fourth starter? I don’t think so.

“If there are ways to make our team better in areas that we’re not the weakest but could use an upgrade, those are things that [general manager Jared Porter] and the organization would have to consider.”

Of course, such uncertainty evaporates if some combination of Davis, Rosario, or even Gimenez is traded. Alongside Arenado, the Mets have continuously been linked to a potential trade for Cleveland All-Star shortstop, Francisco Lindor.