Why Mets would be crazy to consider trading prospect Francisco Alvarez for Brewers exec David Stearns

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Francisco Alvarez David Stearns METS TREATED ART 2021
Francisco Alvarez David Stearns METS TREATED ART 2021

With the Mets' search for a president of baseball operations ongoing, Milwaukee Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns and Oakland Athletics EVP Billy Beane are among the candidates.

Theo Epstein, whom Mets owner Steve Cohen recently spoke with, is not.

When it comes to Stearns and Beane, who are both under contract with their respective teams, the Mets would possibly be required to provide compensation in order to hire either of them.

But what should that compensation be?

During an appearance Monday on SNY's Baseball Night in New York, Anthony DiComo of MLB.com said he would "strongly consider" trading prospect Francisco Alvarez for Stearns.

Before digging into why that would make little sense, let's go over who Stearns is and who Alvarez is.

Stearns, 36, is a native of New York City who graduated from Harvard and became GM of the Brewers in 2015. In 2019, Milwaukee promoted Stearns to president of baseball operations.

Brewers executive David Stearns
Brewers executive David Stearns

During Stearns' tenure in Milwaukee (first as GM and then as president of baseball ops), the Brewers have made the postseason four times (2018 to 2021).

Alvarez, a 19-year-old catcher, is the Mets' top prospect and the No. 10 prospect in all of baseball, per MLB Pipeline. He hit .272/.388/.554 with 24 homers, 18 doubles, and 70 RBI in 99 games in 2021 with Low-A St. Lucie and High-A Brooklyn, where he was roughly four years younger than the average player.

Alvarez could start the 2022 season with Double-A Binghamton, is on track for his Mets debut in 2023, and profiles as an impact player at a position that is one of the hardest on the diamond to fill.

It is quite clear that having the right man or woman as your head of baseball operations is incredibly important.

What is also incredibly important is developing and keeping prospects who have the potential to be difference-makers at the big league level.

And you don't trade one for the other. It would be crazy to even consider trading one for the other.

Jul 11, 2021; Denver, CO, USA; National League infielder Francisco Alvarez (30) rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run in the fifth inning against the American League of the 2021 MLB All Star Futures Game at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 11, 2021; Denver, CO, USA; National League infielder Francisco Alvarez (30) rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run in the fifth inning against the American League of the 2021 MLB All Star Futures Game at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Want some examples of players who were sent as compensation for front office executives and managers?

Let's take a trip back to 2012, when the Chicago Cubs sent Chris Carpenter (no, not that one) to the Boston Red Sox as compensation after hiring Epstein.

That was the reliever Chris Carpenter, not the starter Chris Carpenter. And this Carpenter was 26 years old, had 9.2 innings of major league experience when he was traded, pitched 6.0 innings for the Red Sox in 2012 and then retired.

Now let's go back to 2002, when Jose Reyes' name was floated as potential compensation in order for the Mets to hire Lou Piniella away from the Seattle Mariners. The Mets smartly refused, and Piniella wound up with the then-Tampa Bay Devil Rays, who sent 28-year-old Randy Winn (who was getting close to free agency) as compensation.

Winn was a solid player coming off a career year when he was dealt for Piniella, but he was not in Reyes' class. At the time, Reyes was one of the best prospects in baseball. And at his best in the majors, he was an MVP candidate.

When it comes to Stearns, the Mets shouldn't have to ponder dealing a player like Alvarez. Aside from it making very little sense for the Mets to consider giving up that kind of player for an executive, there is also no precedent for having to do so.

Mets prospect Francisco Alvarez at MCU Park in May 2021.
Mets prospect Francisco Alvarez at MCU Park in May 2021.

The Mets should be open to providing compensation to the Brewers for Stearns, but their top prospects should be off limits, as should key players already on the 40-man roster.

It should also be noted that Stearns' contract expires after the 2022 season.

So if Stearns really wants the Mets, he should be able to force his way there -- whether it's by playing hardball with the Brewers now or waiting until after 2022.

There are also other candidates for the Mets to go after. This isn't a Stearns or no one proposition.

Would it be unwise for the Mets to go another season without a president of baseball operations and only hire a GM? Perhaps. But if Stearns is their guy and no one else piques their interest, it could make sense to wait for him if needed.

What wouldn't make sense is trading Alvarez for him.