A deal for the Yankees and Mets at third base, if only they were willing

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Daniel Murphy. (mlb.com)
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The New York Mets and New York Yankees don't generally make deals with one another.

The two franchises have made a total of 12 trades in 50 years. By comparison, the Mets have made 26 with the Philadelphia Phillies, a division rival, and 10 trades with the Miami Marlins, a division rival that didn't exist until 1993.

The last deal between the two New York teams came in 2004, when late-model Mike Stanton was shipped from Flushing to the Bronx for Felix Heredia, who pitched 2 2/3 innings for the 2005 Mets. The two teams have essentially never traded players of significance to each other, primarily for public relations reasons.

This might be a good time for them to make an exception.

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The Mets have made it clear in word and deed that their focus is on 2014 and beyond. 

The Yankees, meanwhile, have been working hard to add talent for a run in 2013 that makes use of aging veterans like Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira, the final year of Curtis Granderson's and Robinson Cano's contracts, and one-year deals for Mariano Rivera, Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettitte.

Accordingly, anything the Mets have with a 2013 sell-by date would presumably be valuable to the Yankees, while anything the Yankees have that is unlikely to ripen before 2014 is like to suit the Mets.

The primary hole the Yankees are trying to fill right now is third base. With David Wright in the Mets fold until 2020, Daniel Murphy is on a team where his best position, third base, is filled.

Murphy had a better 2012 than the player the Yankees are currently pursuing to play third base, Kevin Youkilis, edging him in O.P.S.+, 102-99. Murphy will be 28 in April, while Youkilis will be 34 in March, so Murphy is in his prime while Youkilis is past his. And Murphy is under team control for another three years, giving the Yankees a potential low-cost alternative to Alex Rodriguez at the position in 2014 as well.

But Murphy is currently the only passable short-term or medium-term option for the Mets at second base in the organization. So David Adams, a former second baseman and plus bat who the Yankees moved to third, because Robinson Cano, could be the perfect return in trade for Murphy.

The teams don't appear to match up well in other areas of need for the Yankees. The Yankees need a catcher; the Mets don't have anyone even as good as the limited options the Yankees already have in-house. The same is true in the outfield, though if the Yankees wanted a lefty bat who could field a bit, Mike Baxter certainly fits the description. (Each day of the winter that passes makes it likelier the Mets will need Baxter to start full time in 2013.)

As for R.A. Dickey, he represents the one place the 2013 Yankees don't particularly need more inventory, at starting pitcher. The prospects the Mets are looking for in return aren't really available in the Yankees' system, which is more fully stocked at lower levels, not with players likely to help the Mets by 2014. And the Mets probably couldn't stomach the thought of Dickey succeeding across town anyway, the familiar reason for scuttling talks between the two franchises.

Adams for Murphy ought to be pursued, though, especially if the Yankees can't land Youkilis with their one-year offer. It's about time these two crazy kids got together.