Boasting one of the best pitching rotations in baseball, the New York Mets will likely turn their attention to the hitter’s market ahead of the Aug. 2 trade deadline. Washington Nationals slugger Nelson Cruz could find himself on the move at the trade deadline once again, just as he has in the past two years.
Meanwhile for the Mets, one particular area the team could stand to improve is at designated hitter with J.D. Davis and Dominic Smith combining for just three home runs thus far. That’s not going to cut it when your main task is hitting the ball as a DH.
Since they’re shaping up to be a playoff team, if the Mets have hopes of doing any damage once they reach the postseason, having a more consistent power threat to help complement Pete Alonso and Francisco Lindor would be ideal.
See where we’re going with this? According to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, trading for Cruz is on the Mets’ radar as the deadline nears. But what makes Cruz a match for the Mets?
Nelson Cruz is a great trade target for the Mets
Nelson Cruz is the type of consummate professional who can help make any ballclub better, no matter what his day-to-day contributions are. Even at the age of 42, in his 18th year of playing in the MLB, Cruz has maintained his pop.
No one’s going to ask him to take the field at this point in his career, honestly, I don’t even know if he owns a glove. He shouldn’t. All he needs is to bring his Hall-of-Fame bat to the Big Apple and he’d immediately be the best DH option on the team, aside from Pete Alonso when he’s not at first.
- Nelson Cruz stats (2022): .240/.322/.363, 8 HR, 47 RBI
What makes Nellie a strong choice for the Mets, is that he allows them to continue slow-playing the development of their top slugging minor-league prospects, leaving Francisco Alvarez and Brett Baty to keep getting everyday reps in the field. They won’t have that same experience if they were called up to the bigs right now. Plus, it would start their service clocks.
Instead, the Mets could give up a low-level prospect for Cruz, who’s on a $15 million contract for this season. Though, there is a mutual option for Cruz and the team that can be picked up for next year as well, if the fit is right.
Instead of paying a premium price to swing for the fences, the Mets can land an experienced, yet impact bat for a fraction of the typical cost. Trading for Nelson Cruz isn’t a bad option, plus he’s destined to become a local fan favorite wherever he goes.
This article was originally published on Sportsnaut.com and is republished here with permission.