Slowly but surely the hot stove is starting to heat up. One of today's bigger revelations was that the Los Angeles Dodgers well listed to trade offers on Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp and Carl Crawford. All three would likely be considerable upgrades over whomever they would stand to replace in the Mets outfield, but the Mets should still steer well clear of this trap waiting to happen.
At age 31, Either is poised to enter the third year of a six year/$95.5MM contract. Despite rumors cited by MetsBlog's Matt Cerrone that the Dodgers will pay up to one quarter of Ethier's remaining contract, the Mets should still be mindful of his declining numbers. The Mets should be hesitant to pay what would still be $13MM a season to player who has average just 16 home runs since signing his big contract, and has seen his batting average drop 20 points over that time. The two time former all star will not benefit from a permanent shift to Citi Field and should not be the BIG trade the Mets have spoke of this winter.
Remember all the talk of Carl Crawford money when it came to retaining Jose Reyes? Well, he still has four years remaining on that monster contract that will average $20.5MM a year. Like it or not, the Mets just aren't playing in that end of the swimming pool just yet. Added to that is the fact that Crawford has missed more games than he's played in over the past two seasons. Crawford is well removed his prime, and at 32 years old he is the definition of player who depends on his legs that just doesn't have it anymore.
Finally there is the best player in the group, Matt Kemp. He is the player that fans salivate over, but thats because they're stuck on his highlight reel. Kemp has six years left on an eight year/$160MM deal that he received after a 39 home run season in 2011. The problem is, he has only his 29 home runs since. Over that time he has missed 145 games to injury, to include three hamstring injuries and as shoulder injury. Although I wouldn't go as far as saying he has entered his declined, the Mets need to acquire players who can stay on the field, especially when Kemp would represent at least half of the $30MM to $40MM budget this winter.
At the end of the day, I think Ethier is the most likely player to end up in Queens, but I remain convinced that none will be a quality addition. What makes it worse is that the Mets may have to give up quality talent in any case to make it happen. There are other options, cheaper options, and basically just better options that will come available this winter. The Dodgers are shopping each of these guys because they know they've buried themselves in these contracts. Does that sound familiar? The Mets just waited out their bad deals, they don't need to import them from other cities now.