The forbidden Yankees-Mets trades … that have only been forbidden because the Wilpons were terrified of losing out on a deal to their “crosstown rivals” in fear that their fans would revolt and overthrow the regime.
But the Wilpons are no more. And toward the end of their tenure as owners of the franchise, the Mets, under former general manager Brodie Van Wagenen, nearly traded Zack Wheeler to the Yanks back in 2019 before the deal fell through because of an unknown player’s medicals.
Now, with Steve Cohen at the helm, it’s more evident than ever that this version of the Mets is open to any and all new ideas. Though we have no evidence to suggest this is true, it feels like we’re getting closer to reasonable business dealings between the New York teams.
On Thursday we got closer to imagining a potential swap when SNY’s Andy Martino reported the Mets were willing to listen to trade offers on Jeff McNeil, Dominic Smith and JD Davis.
OK, let’s do the responsible thing here and rule out JD Davis as a trade candidate for the Bombers. Never happening. And if it does, kiss 2022 goodbye.
But McNeil and Smith? Both could very well fit on the roster in some capacity if the Yankees are looking to bolster their depth (and they should be).
Could the Yankees and Mets work out a trade after the lockout?
Another disclaimer here: neither of these guys would be starters on the Yankees, and they might not even have futures as starters on most teams. Outside of McNeil’s All-Star 2019 campaign, he’s proven nothing in terms of coming close to that production again. As for Smith, Mets fans would argue he’s not properly utilized (he should be playing more first base than left field) and it could be a situation where that’s hurting his bat. But he’s yet to prove his effectiveness outside of part-time duty.
Nonetheless, both could be helpful bench pieces for the Bombers. McNeil and Smith possess defensive versatility and they’re both lefty bats, which would obviously play well in Yankee Stadium.
McNeil can play second base and the outfield, which would help the Yankees in the event of an injury or if they wanted to DH one of Aaron Judge, Joey Gallo, Aaron Hicks or Gleyber Torres. Smith, on the other hand, can serve as the backup first baseman and fourth outfielder, assuming a new first baseman is imported, Luke Voit is sent packing, and Brett Gardner isn’t re-signed.
The Yankees have largely neglected their depth the last few years, which is puzzling because this team has dealt with crippling injury issues for the last five seasons. You can bet the four guys on the bench are going to see 100 games in any given campaign, so it’s not like they’d be underutilized. Hell, Brett Gardner saw over 120 games for the third year in a row he wasn’t supposed to. Tyler Wade played in 103 games last year. Miguel Andújar saw 45 games too many.
It’s worth exploring here, since at least one of these guys would serve as a bench upgrade and wouldn’t cost much in a trade after both are coming off awful 2021 seasons. Perhaps a definitive role in a lineup protected by better hitters will see their efficiency maximized, even in part-time duty.