It sounds as if the New York Mets are still looking to trade one of their veteran outfielders; if for no other reason, to clear the way for the team to re-sign Michael Conforto. Could the Cincinnati Reds enter the sweepstakes with an eye toward improving their decimated lineup?
Our friends over at Rising Apple, FanSided's New York Mets website, have suggested that perhaps the Mets will need to "lose" a trade in order to re-sign the most sought-after free agent remaining on the open market.
Tim Boyle of Rising Apple calls New York's roster "pretty tight", citing the plethora of plethora (J.D. Davis, Jeff McNeil, and Dominic Smith) likely to be part of the Mets' 26-man roster to begin the 2022 season. If New York is looking to re-sign Conforto, they'll likely have to jettison one of the aforementioned trio. The Reds could swoop in and possibly make a solid acquisition.
Could the Reds and Mets work out a trade for J.D. Davis?
Of the three players mentioned by Boyle, he views J.D. Davis as the most likely player the New York Mets would look to trade. I tend to agree. But what might the Cincinnati Reds have to give up in return?
First, let's assess the need for a player like Davis. Should the Reds even entertain this idea? From where I'm sitting, as long as the price tag isn't too much, Cincinnati should certainly inquire. After trading away Eugenio Suárez and losing Jose Barrero to start the season, the Reds infield depth has taken a hit.
Now, Davis is not an elite defender. The 28-year-old was worth -7 defensive runs scored last season and has -26 DRS for his career at the hot corner. But the Reds would not be looking at Davis for his glove, but rather for his bat.
J.D. Davis has a career slugging percentage of .446 and a wRC+ of 118. Last season, Davis posted a slash line of .285/.384/.436 and a wRC+ of 130. Given that both Suárez and Jesse Winker are both off to Seattle, the Reds could certainly use a bat like Davis' in the lineup, esspecially with the National League now instituting the designated hitter.
The slugger doesn't come without flaws, as Davis owned a 32.2% strikeout-rate last season. In case you forgot, Suárez had a 29.8% strikeout-rate in 2021 and Reds fans were appalled. So, if Cincinnati were to make a trade for Davis, they'd be looking a player who's most likely going to strikeout, earn a free pass (11.4% walk-rate in 2021), or send one over the fence.
Now, for what the Cincinnati Reds would have to give up in return. Let's be honest, Cincinnati is not going to sacrifice a young, up-and-coming prospect for a player like Davis. Instead, the Redlegs should look at players who've maxed out their time in the minors or will struggle to find a spot on the Reds big league roster.
I'm thinking of players like Alejo Lopez, Riley O'Brien, and Jared Solomon. The Reds would also have to chip in a lower-level minor leaguer with some upside. Maybe a pitcher like Carson Spiers or first baseman Bren Spillane.
Would Lopez and Spiers be enough to sway the Mets to make a deal? It depends on how badly New York wants to retain Michael Conforto. Adding Davis to the Reds roster doesn't vault the team into the conversation for the NL Central title, but it certainly gives them a better chance to compete.