Ferguson: Mets looking to trade for help behind the plate

Scott Ferguson
12/3/2012 5:30:28 PM
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Both of New York's finest need help behind the plate. The Yankees lost Russell Martin as a free agent to Pittsburgh, while the Mets want an established veteran after a revolving door of prospects, journeymen and wanna-be's over the last few years.

At the moment, the Mets seem to be the most intent on making something happen in that regard at the Winter Meetings in Nashville. With the Mets rumoured to be dangling Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey and/or Jonathon Niese, it could set up an interesting bidding war between the Blue Jays and the Red Sox.

Boston added veteran infielder/catcher Mike Napoli on Monday, signed free agent David Ross away from Atlanta last November and also has youngster Ryan Lavarnway in its stable of catchers. That kind of depth could set up a trade involving veteran backstop Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Meanwhile, the Blue Jays have highly touted prospect Travis D'Arnaud, veteran John Buck and incumbent J.P. Arencibia on their roster.

At this point, Arencibia would appear to be the most attractive bait for the Mets. He is one year younger than Saltalamacchia, makes less money, and can't become a free agent until 2017.

Saltalamacchia on the other hand can become a free agent in 2014. He also made $2.5 million last season which was more than five times as much as Arencibia. Arencibia was also a first round draft pick of former Blue Jays general mangager J.P. Ricciardi who is now a special assistant to Mets GM Terry Collins.

Statistically speaking, their numbers were fairly close last season. Arencibia hit .233 with 18 homers and 56 runs batted in. Saltalamacchia hit .222 with 25 homers and 59 RBI in 121 games. Saltalamacchia is a switch hitter while Arencibia hits right, and neither is known as a Gold Glover defensively.

For the Blue Jays, it would be a gamble to move Arencibia. Buck is coming off a down year in Miami and D'Arnaud, coming off a knee injury, may not be quite Major League ready.

However, Alex Anthopoulos and the rest of the Jays brain trust realizes, more than any other time in the last 20 years, the American League East is wide open. One more starting pitcher of top quality could push the Jays over the top.

As for the Yankees, they have another significant worry now. Alex Rodriguez, coming off of a horrible post-season, is slated to undergo another hip surgery and will not be ready to the start of the 2013 season. Derek Jeter is already iffy as he rehabs from his left ankle injury and with no established catcher, the Yanks have three signicant holes to fill - four if they're not going to resign right fielder Nick Swisher.

Looking elsewhere, shocking would't be the right word, but I was definitely surprised to see the Chicago White Sox had waived right-hander Philip Humber, who was subsequently claimed by the American League bound Houston Astros. This is the same Humber, who pitched a perfect game against Seattle back on April 21 and appeared, at 29-years-old, to be a classic late bloomer.

Humber had injury issues though and his performance simply fell off after his historic performance against the Mariners. He finished the year with a 5-5 record after going 9-9 the year before. For his career, the third pick overall in the 2004 draft is now 16-15 with a 4.87 ERA.

2013 should tell the tale, as to whether Humber still has something left or was merely a "one hit" wonder.

Turning back to the Blue Jays, the team moved alot of prospects between the Houston and Miami trades this year. The well hasn't run dry though. Two names in particular to watch for next season are left hander Daniel Norris and outfielder Jacob Anderson.

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