What would a Mets trade package for Jose Berrios look like?

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Jose Berrios TREATED ART
Jose Berrios TREATED ART

With the trade deadline creeping closer, the Mets' biggest need remains starting pitching, and adding rotation help became even more imperative earlier this week when Jacob deGrom was lost for an indefinite amount of time due to a forearm issue.

As things currently stand, the Mets have three reliable starting pitchers -- Marcus Stroman, Taijuan Walker, and Tylor Megill.

Beyond Stroman, Walker, and Megill, New York has four pitchers they hope can return and excel, but can't rely on at the moment: DeGrom, Carlos Carrasco, Noah Syndergaard, and David Peterson.

The Mets not being able to rely on deGrom right now is a sobering thought, but it's the current situation.

Meanwhile, the Mets have been trying to cobble things together in the rotation by turning to Jerad Eickhoff, Robert Stock, and others.

That is not tenable right now and could result in the Mets falling out of first place in the NL East if it continues much longer.

As the Mets ponder what to do, there is a nearly perfect fit on the Minnesota Twins whom they might be able to pry away via trade at some point over the next week or so.

Jose Berrios, who has shown flashes of brilliance during his career and has a 3.69 ERA (3.54 FIP) and 1.08 WHIP with 9.58 strikeouts per 9 in 114.2 innings pitched this season, should be the Mets' top target.

Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Jose Berrios (17) pitches against the Cleveland Indians in the second inning at Target Field.
Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Jose Berrios (17) pitches against the Cleveland Indians in the second inning at Target Field.

Yes, trading for him will be easier said than done. And yes, there are other options out there, including Kyle Gibson of the Texas Rangers, Merrill Kelly of the Arizona Diamondbacks, and Zach Davies of the Chicago Cubs.

But if the Mets want to go for the jugular with an NL East title within their grasp -- and they should want to go for the jugular -- Berrios is their guy.

Before we get to what it might cost for the Mets to trade for Berrios, let's dispel a narrative about the Mets' farm system...

It's true that the Mets' system is top heavy, but they also have as many top 100-caliber prospects as some of the most prospect-rich teams in the majors.

With Francisco Alvarez, Brett Baty, Matt Allan, Ronny Mauricio, Pete Crow-Armstrong, and now Kumar Rocker, the Mets have six players you can argue are top 100 guys in all of baseball.

They also have rising prospects such as J.T. Ginn and Mark Vientos.

Brett Baty, Kumar Rocker, and Francisco Alvarez
Brett Baty, Kumar Rocker, and Francisco Alvarez

The point is that the Mets have the prospect capital to make pretty much any deal they want, but they almost certainly won't blow up their farm system right now -- nor should they.

Specifically, Alvarez, Baty, Allan, and Rocker (who can't be traded now anyway unless he's included at a later date as a PTBNL) should be off-limits.

But even while hanging onto their most precious assets, the Mets can still swing an impact trade or two.

So what will it take to land Berrios?

Under team control for the rest of the 2021 season and entering his final year of arbitration in 2022, Berrios is in a similar spot right now to where Stroman was when the Mets traded for him at the deadline in 2019.

May 27, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Marcus Stroman (0) pitches against the Colorado Rockies during the second inning at Citi Field.
May 27, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Marcus Stroman (0) pitches against the Colorado Rockies during the second inning at Citi Field.

Like Berrios does now, Stroman had a season and change remaining of team control when he was acquired.

Berrios is in his age-27 season, while Stroman was in his age-28 season when he was traded.

Berrios has a career ERA of 4.11 (4.03 FIP) with a 1.24 WHIP and 9.0 K/9 during the first six seasons of his career. Stroman had a career ERA of 3.76 (3.64 FIP) with a 1.29 WHIP and 7.4 K/9 during the first six seasons of his career.

While Stroman was better at run prevention during his first six seasons, Berrios has been better at missing bats. And it's Berrios who many will argue has the higher ceiling.

The above means it's fair for the Twins to ask for -- and likely receive -- a bit more for Berrios than the Toronto Blue Jays did for Stroman.

In exchange for Stroman, the Mets dealt pitching prospects Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods-Richardson.

Kay, who was a fringe top 100 prospect when traded, profiled as a back of the rotation starter.

Woods-Richardson, who was a relatively recent draft pick when dealt and profiled as having a higher ceiling than the MLB-ready Kay, but was still years away from the majors.

For the Mets right now, a similar package could be Megill (who is obviously extremely valuable to them at the moment) and perhaps Robert Dominguez, though Minnesota would almost certainly want and ultimately get more than that.

New York Mets relief pitcher Tylor Megill (38) pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning at Truist Park.
New York Mets relief pitcher Tylor Megill (38) pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning at Truist Park.

Would the Mets offer Megill and Ginn? Would they dangle Megill and Ginn and more? Should they?

And would the danger of dealing Megill in a trade for Berrios while counting on Carrasco, deGrom, and others be too much?

There's also the possibility that the Twins would rather have a position player headline a trade for Berrios. And if that is the case, the Mets might have to decide whether to possibly offer Mauricio as the centerpiece of a package.

It would be tough to part with Mauricio, though the presence of Francisco Lindor at shortstop (and potentially Baty at third base in a year or two) could make Mauricio duplicative.

The point is that if the Mets really want Berrios, they should have the resources to get him. And while the cost would hurt, it's not one that should be prohibitive.