Prior to last night’s Mets’ 4-0 loss to the Pirates at Citi Field, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson announced David Wright could have season-ending neck surgery.
This shouldn’t be surprising. Wright has played through an injury since spring training. It never got better for him. It was hard to believe his neck and back would get better as the season progressed.
The Mets are going to have to do something at the hot corner. They can’t rely on Wilmer Flores to play third base. He’s not an everyday player that will be a difference maker in the lineup. They know that, too.
The logical move would be playing Neil Walker at third base. That’s a situation that can be solved.
Who plays second base? It can’t be Dilson Herrera. It’s hard to trust a young player like him in a pressure cooker. What the Mets need is a proven veteran that has been through the playoff wars and pennant chase. Similar to what Yoenis Cespedes did last year when the Mets acquired him in the trade deadline.
They need to get Ian Kinsler, and to get him, the Mets have to give up a valuable player. They shouldn’t hesitate trading Michael Conforto if it comes down to that.
Now if Conforto produces like he did in his call up last year, that’s a different story. Right now, he’s struggling. The Mets can’t afford for him to develop while they are in a position to win a championship.
In a perfect world, Conforto would stay while Brandon Nimmo, Dominic Smith or Gavin Cecchini would be traded.
We don’t live in a perfect world. Teams want players that are ready to produce now. The Tigers agreed to trade Cespedes to the Mets last year because the Mets gave up a pitcher who was ready to contribute now in Michael Fulmer, who currently has a 28 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings streak for the Tigers.
Conforto could help the Tigers or Reds right away. Either of those teams can build around him. He can progress at his own pace. It’s not going to happen for him in a market that demands excellence every game in New York. That’s hard for a young hitter to go through.
He has struggled for a month now. He can’t hit lefties. He can’t even hit righties anymore. He is guessing at every pitch. He has yet to make adjustments against major league pitching.
The way he is going, he should be earning a trip to the minors.
There’s no question Conforto is going to be a good player. He has shown he has a flair for the dramatic. He showed that in his call up last year, and he played well in the postseason.
Still, the Mets have to wonder if they can wait too long for his development. It isn’t like the Mets are giving up the second coming of Darryl Strawberry if they trade Conforto.
The Mets outfielder is a fine player, but he is replaceable.
Trading any of their young starters does not make sense. The Mets need them to improve their chances of winning the NL East, so Conforto is the only viable option.
What the Mets need is a player that knows what he is doing in a pennant race. Kinsler or Bruce fit that criteria.
Kinsler should intrigue the Mets. He’s a gamer. He will give everything he got. He is the type of player that would shine in a big spot. He would give the Mets an edge that is needed to do well in October.
He and Curtis Granderson would be fine tablesetters for Cespedes to drive in runs.
Kinsler has been one of the Tigers’ best hitters this season. He is hitting .314 with a .367 on-base percentage and a .543 slugging percentage. He has 81 base hits this year, and he has 14 home runs and 44 RBIs. He is also a great fielder.
With Walker moving to third, the Mets could find their second baseman in Kinsler if they can get him.
The Mets need a proven player that knows what he is doing in October, and Kinsler is that player.
This offense isn’t bad like last year’s, but with Lucas Duda, Travis d’Arnaud and Wright being unreliable to be healthy, the Mets have to look at ways to improve their offense during the trade deadline
The problem with the Mets right now is their hitters are hurt, which is why the offense has been struggling. Their role players are not good enough to play everyday. Trusting young players in a pennant race is risky, and it’s not conducive to player development.
The Mets need to find their Cespedes again this summer for them to win the NL East.
Conforto is their best chip to net a Cespedes-type player in return.
This should be a no-brainer with the Mets being in dire straits offensively.