The Chicago Tribune reported today that there is little doubt the Mets, currently tied for last with the Nationals, will hold some form of a fire sale this summer. Most of their marquee players are coming off the books in the next few years - Beltran in '11, Wright in '12*, and Bay and Santana in 13**- all of whom may have been considered untouchable a year ago.
(Wright -16M club option for '13, Bay - 17M club option for '14, Santana - 25M club option for '14 - the market won't pay those prices, will the Mets?)
The Mets are definitely looking for young talent and to clear the books, so they may be willing to trade for major league ready players or guys under contract. This could attract more teams if they do not need to surrender their top prospect, but a slew of other talent instead. In spacious Citi Field, the future Mets should be aggressive on the base paths with good eyes at the Dish. There is a definite need for a power bat, someone that can shakeup the lineup for the opposition and drive in runners with regularity. Currently, Jose Reyes, when healthy, is the ideal top of the order hitter. After him, it is really just Carlos Beltran who is hitting for a respectable average as both Wright and Bay are struggling.
At this point, it is going to be incredibly difficult to move Johan Santana, who is on the 60-day disabled list. As for Bay and Beltran, if both can hit they would be a dangerous duo in the middle of that lineup. That leaves Wright, who has taken subtle criticism over the years from media and fans, despite being a fan favorite and face of the organization. Wright has a team-friendly contract given what he brings and depending on the direction opposing teams go, that being trades or free agency, we could see a frenzy ensue.
There are several teams that would be willing to take on Wright for the remainder of his contract, and work out whether or not he can be resigned later. Especially for a team like the Cardinals who are competing with the Reds for top of the division. Would it be worth trading third baseman Zack Cox, a 2010 first-round pick and one of the more advance hitters in the minors? He's hitting .328 through 34 games this season.
The Tigers are also a possibility but their minor league system is not terribly deep, so if the Mets requested, say, Jacob Turner, they would be taking a big hit to bring Wright to another spacious ballpark... in the AL ... just saying.
The Cubs are also an interesting to team to throw into the mix with Aramis Ramirez coming off the books this year. If the Cubs were willing to commit 2-3 solid prospects, along with Ramirez and cash, that might be enticing enough for the Mets to accept.
Look at it from the Mets side, if they are seriously shopping Wright than they ought to be looking to the future. The Mets would land three good, young prospects whose futures remain to be seen but there is reason to excited. They also land Aramis Ramirez, who will be a free agent after this season, but may be in line to be a Type-A free agent, which would net them two first round draft picks in the 2012 draft.
Other teams that could throw their hat in the ring include the Rockies, Athletics, Angels, Indians, and Diamondbacks.