The New York Mets continue to search for a long-term answer at the shortstop position, with Mariners' infielder Nick Franklin, the Diamondbacks' Didi Gregorius and Chris Owings, and free agent Stephen Drew all being viewed as possible solutions, according to CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman. Heyman also adds that teams have inquired on Mets' top pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard as part of a presumptive deal for a shortstop, though the Mets are giving no consideration to parting with the fireballing Texan.
The Mets do not appear satisfied going into the season with Ruben Tejada as their starting shortstop, and have been seeking an answer to their dilemma for a while now.
Arizona appears to be a strong fit as a trading partner for the Mets, having a pair of young shortstops in Didi Gregorius and Chris Owings. As Tyler Drenon wrote earlier today, the Diamondbacks appear set on keeping Owings, making Gregorius expendable. Arizona is currently lacking in the rotation following Patrick Corbin's recent injury, and it is unlikely that they start phenom Archie Bradley in the majors due to service time concerns.
Even without Syndergaard, the Mets have a number of pitching options that stack up well with Arizona's needs. Names such as Rafael Montero, Jenrry Mejia, and Jeurys Familia have been kicked around as possible returns. Montero would seem to be the most likely of that trio to get dealt considering his lofty prospect status and recent rumors surrounding his availability. He is also relatively close to big league ready, considering he made 16 starts at Triple-A last season, posting a 2.87 FIP in 88.2 innings.
The Mariners' Nick Franklin could also be an option, as he has been linked to the Mets numerous times this offseason, including a proposed deal that would have swapped Franklin straight up for Montero. The Mariners would be well served to deal him away for pitching since he is blocked at the big league level by Brad Miller and Robinson Cano.
Stephen Drew has been the other big shortstop name attached to the Mets this offseason, and with Detroit's recent denial of wanting to make an attempt at Drew, there aren't that many options remaining for the 31-year-old.
Heyman also mentions Javier Baez as a possible target, though that is highly unlikely since Baez is widely thought of as one of the top five prospects in baseball, and the Cubs appear to have no intent of dealing him.
Syndergaard is unanimously considered to be the best prospect in the Mets' system, and the general consensus has him pegged as one of the three of four best pitching prospects in the game. Baseball Prospectus recently ranked him as the 11th best prospect in baseball, and scouts covet his high-90's fastball and devastating curveball, often projecting him to be a future number one or two starter.
The Mets have seen the misfortunes of dealing away a top pitching prospect first hand in recent years. Syndergaardand Zach Wheeler have been huge gets for the Mets, but those deals didn't bode well for the Giants and Blue Jays, respectively, giving the Mets a justifiable excuse to refrain from dealing a young arm of Syndergaard's caliber.