|Murphy (L), Niese (R)—(Getty Images)|
Everybody knows the needs. Your Carmine Hose lack: two top starters, a third baseman and a left-handed bat. And that's at a minimum—let's not forget we won a paltry 71 games in 2014. You've heard the talk about James Shields, Jon Lester, Johnny Cueto, Pablo Sandoval, Hanley Ramirez, Chase Headly—even talk of a mega-deal for Giancarlo Stanton. But the best deals often happen at a lower level—where less celebrated hidden values can reap huge rewards. The 2003-2004 Red Sox teams were full of those guys—as were the 2013 champs. Assuming we can deal from strength—an over-crowded outfield—we should offer the biggest chip (Yoenis Cespedes) to the Mets in exchange for lefty starter Jonathon Niese and left-hand hitting natural third baseman Daniel Murphy (who currently mans 2B in Flushing). The Mets would be dealing from their strength—starting pitching—and they sorely need offense. The 28-year old Niese made 30 starts for the hapless Metropolitans in 2014—going 9-11 with a 3.40 ERA. Not spectacular, but in-line with a #2 starter. He walked only 45 batters in 187.2 innings, while striking out 138. Murphy—a first-time All-Star in 2014—batted .289, with 9 HRs and 57 RBIs in 143 games (missing action due to a calf strain). Despite the injury-shortened season, he still had 37 doubles and 13 stolen bases—along with 172 hits. Getting Niese, Murphy (and maybe then adding Lester and/or Shields) would go a long way to improving this team.