Tucked away in Matt’s post about the Mets getting tied into the rumors of teams involved in the Gio Gonzalez from the A’s is this note:
I’ve heard from more than one person that the Mets have had substantive talks about Niese with the Jays, who have also been mentioned repeatedly in rumors involving Gonzalez. The people I’ve talked with say the Mets like Jays C Travis d’Arnaud, as do many other teams.
Gio Gonzalez is obviously the headiner here for most people with ERAs of 3.23 and 3.12 the last two years and with 200 IP to his credit fWAR of 3.2 and 3.5 for Oakland. By contrast, Niese’ ERA has been above 4 for the Mets each of the last two years and his combined fWAR in the last two seasons is 4.6. Gonzalez is better, but not by a huge amount.
I’m not sure how it would happen, but if the Mets could sneak into this deal as part of a three-way deal and end up with C Travis D’Arnaud, that would be quite a coup. D’Arnaud has a chance to be a star. In 2011, at age 22, he hit .311/.371/.542 with 33 doubles and 21 home runs for AA Eastern League Champion New Hampshire and won the league’s MVP award. In the EL, he was fifth in batting average, fourth in homers, fifth in extra-base hits, second in slugging percentage and fifth in total bases. Baseball America named him the EL’s second best prospect and reported that his defense has improved.
In his discussion of minor league MVPs at Prospectus, Kevin Goldstein also lavished high praise on D’Arnaud:
There are legitimate knocks against him, including an impatient approach, a need to improve his throwing mechanics, and a tendency to get hurt, but d’Arnaud is nearly universally seen as one of the top three catching prospects in the game.
Originally a first round pick of the Philadelphia Phillies in 2007, D’Arnaud was part of the package the Phillies sent Toronto, along with Kyle Drabek and Michael Taylor for Roy Halladay. A back injury held him back in 2010.
If the Mets can pull a D’Arnaud-centered package for Jon Niese, I whole-heartedly approve. And of course, this is all rumor-mongering, so there’s probably nothing here.