So, the jury still seems to be out on whether or not the Mets have much money left to play with this offseason. But it’s clear that there are a few things left on GM Brodie Van Wagenen’s to-do list. He’s made it known that he’d like to find some more help in the bullpen, and there are still glaring holes to be filled in the areas of starting pitcher depth and impact bats, as well.
On Thursday, reports surfaced that both the Mets and Phillies have been hot in pursuit of Rangers’ swingman Mike Minor, a left-handed pitcher who pitched out of the bullpen in 2017 and out of the rotation last year.
His success levels have varied, but ultimately he’s been solid. His work out of the bullpen in 2017 (with current Mets pitching coach Dave Eliand) was quite impressive, as he boasted a 2.55 ERA and 2.62 FIP over the course of 77.2 innings for the Royals. Last season, as a Rangers starter, his results weren’t as attractive: a 4.18 ERA and 4.43 FIP over the course of 157 innings. Still, though, he was worth 2.2 Wins Above Replacement and ate a solid amount of innings.
As either a relief pitcher or a starter, Minor would be pretty valuable to the 2019 Mets. And so would a few other Rangers, who Brodie can try to acquire if we wants to get creative.
The Jurickson Profar trade that went through with Oakland (as part of a three-team trade that included the Rays) indicates that the Rangers have no interest in trying to win this year, and will likely be selling off more pieces. One such piece could be Jose Leclerc, the righty reliever who broke out for Texas in a major way last season. His 1.56 ERA and 13.3 K/9 over the course of a respectable 57.2 innings should be enough to make Mets fans salivate – a bullpen with Leclerc, Jeurys Familia and Edwin Diaz in back could essentially shut down opponents late in games.
And at just 25 years old with years of control left, Leclerc can be considered a slightly more raw version of Diaz. Not many teams in baseball have been lucky enough to have two relievers of that age and caliber at once.
On the offensive side of the ball, there’s the question of Joey Gallo, who might be the most confusing player I’ve ever followed. There are some serious red flags about Gallo, to say the least. He pulls the ball like crazy, enabling teams to play extreme shifts against him. And he strikes out at a higher rate (an absurd 35.9%) than everyone in the league not named Chris Davis.
But despite all that, his bat calculates at an above-average level, which is pretty impressive all things considered. And it’s not hard to see why. He’s only 25 years old and has already had two 40+ home run seasons. His career slugging percentage is .509.
And at times, he’s been one of the most fearsome hitters in the league. In the second half of 2018, he mashed to the tune of a .239/.340/.592 slashline, with a 52.3% (!!) hard-hit rate.
As you might expect, his homers are a thing of beauty.
Yeah, he has limitations, and who knows whether they’ll fully disappear from his game. But if he could continue to walk at an impressive rate while turning a handful of strikeouts into hits (particularly if he can do so to the opposite field), that slash line will really start looking pretty.
There is one hold-up in a potential trade: Minor has the Mets on his 10-team no-trade list, and would have to waive it if a trade is to happen. But if it turns out he’s cool with it, I could see a blockbuster looking like this:
Rangers receive: Juan Lagares/Todd Frazier (salary dump), Andres Gimenez, Anthony Kay, Thomas Szapucki
Mets receive: Mike Minor, Jose Leclerc, Joey Gallo
Obviously, other iterations could include less or more moving pieces, but something like this would have me pretty excited for the season. And it would keep the team payroll at about its current level.
Time will tell if talks between the clubs intensify, but it’s certainly worth keeping an eye on.