Editors note: This is 100% idle speculation from our Fanposts section and should be treated as such. We welcome rosterbatorical fantasies and recognize half the rumors game is imagining what-if scenarios for your own team -- which is what this is. If you'd like to write your own, you can do so here.
Houston has, somewhat surprisingly, been connected to prized slugger Yoenis Cespedes in recent days. Should such a signing occur, what happens next? The 'Stros would have an abundance of OF's - including Cespedes, Carlos Gomez, George Springer, Evan Gattis, Colby Rasmus, Jake Marisnick and Preston Tucker - from which they can parlay into a talented starting pitcher. The rotation is solid, but lacks elite arms beyond Dallas Keuchel and the still-unproven Lance McCullers. From a purely objective standpoint, it looks a bit light for a serious championship contender, which Houston is close to becoming. So, what can be done?
If Cespedes does in fact land in Houston, look for GM Jeff Luhnow to look to deal from his OF surplus. Springer, 26, stands out to me as a particularly attractive asset, given his youth, affordable team control through 2020, and upside. Don't think this elite athlete can't play everyday in CF, which he did throughout the minors and in a handful of games for Houston over the past two seasons. There were rumblings earlier this offseason that Luhnow would be willing to move Springer in the right deal, including a report from the Houston Chronicle's Evan Drellich that Springer could be dealt "if the haul is big enough."
A host of franchises would love to entertain the idea of bringing a guy like Springer in, but the New York Mets stand out as a fantastic match. GM Sandy Alderson has been hesitant to spend big this offseason, but everybody and their mother knows the departure of Cespedes creates a glaring hole in CF and the middle of the order. Springer would represent the ideal replacement, given his immense offensive ability and upside, athleticism, and low financial cost. Moreover, Alderson has the pitching talent to entice the Astros and the depth to pull the trigger.
Zack Wheeler would make a lot of sense. The 25-year-old has Springer-like upside with affordable team control through 2019, has already proven he can pitch well at the big league level, and wouldn't break up the Mets "Big Four" in the rotation. Yes, Wheeler missed all of 2015 due to Tommy John surgery, but he should be ready to go for the start of the 2016 campaign, and these days, it seems a history of TJ doesn't do much to hurt a pitcher's performance.
So why not Springer for Wheeler and a mid-level prospect?
Of course, if Cespedes doesn't sign with Houston, this is a moot point - I wouldn't see Luhnow taking away a valuable piece of his offense. But if Cespedes does, then Alderson and Luhnow should at least connect and explore such a mutually beneficial deal.