Mets should make Oscar Taveras their #1 Offseason Priority

Posted: October 17, 2014 in Hot Stove, News, Opinion
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Taveras playing up to his potential, would greatly impact a very weak Met lineup (Photo by ESPN)

By Steven Inman

Oscar Taveras went into the 2014 season as baseball’s #3 prospect according to MLB.com and Baseball America. As the season draws to a close Taveras can find himself on another team.

The lefty swinging Taveras wasn’t able to find an everyday job in the loaded Cardinals outfield this season that includes Matt Holliday, Jon Jay, Peter Bourjos and Randal Grichuk.

Taveras is still just 22 but has conquered the minor leagues to the point where Cardinals GM John Mozeliak admitted that Taveras has to be playing in the big leagues somewhere.

Taveras’ stock has certainly fallen a little since being called the next Vladdy Guerrero last winter and being one of the few truly untouchable prospects the game has.

The Cardinals have openly questioned Taveras’ conditioning this season and he came off the bench in all of the Cards postseason games. “I think he needs to focus on quickness.” –Mozeliak to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Dispatch. The Cards believe that Taveras put on too much bulk this winter.

Taveras is in a numbers crunch in the St. Louis outfield and could actually be available. “The betting line here says someone goes this winter from the current outfield crop. Jay and Bourjos are both arbitration-eligible. Mozeliak underscored that Taveras needs to play regularly somewhere. Prospect Stephen Piscotty, 24 in January, demands a hearing. A winter trade of somebody seems likely.” –Strauss (in same article)

The Mets should make this gifted hitter their number one target this winter.

Taveras hit .318 with a .370 OBP with eight homers and 49 RBI in 62 games at Triple-A Memphis this season. He has enough potential that he can turn the Mets offense into a strength, all at the league minimum. This is the bat the Mets have been waiting for.

If Taveras had already reached his potential he wouldn’t be available and if he was he would cost more than the Mets have in their farm system. A potential swap of Noah Syndergaard plus another high ranking pitching prospect and Oscar Taveras could make a lot of sense from both sides and is definitely something the Mets should be interested in pursuing.

Taveras is still a work in progress in the outfield but can play either corner and has some experience in center. He has great power but his ability to hit for a high average and get on base is probably what would be appealing to a team like the Mets who covet guys with high on base percentages.

The Mets could in theory trade a prospect to St. Louis for Taveras, filling their need for a big bat without spending any significant money. Then the team could have the budget to either address shortstop or keep Daniel Murphy and Bartolo Colon.

I’m not saying this is likely but the Mets should swing for the fences for once this winter.

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