The need for speed: Rajai Davis is the guy to get

Rick Osentoski/USA TODAY Sports

You might recall a few weeks ago that we advocated caution for Sandy Alderson with regards to his trade chips, suggesting he not try to make too big a splash for the New York Mets at the trade deadline.

Alderson has done well to add players so far -- Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson provide some depth and versatility at a couple of positions and Tyler Clippard gives the team a now significantly-needed arm in the bullpen who can get big outs against either righties or lefties at the end of a game -- without giving up anything of significance.

But rather than sacrifice a valuable prospect or potentially useful pitcher to rent Yoenis Cespedes or Justin Upton for two months (now that Carlos Gomez seems to be off the table), it might be more prudent to continue a careful approach.

The idea here is not just to win this season, but to build something with sustainability. You want to hang on to guys such as pitcher Michael Fulmer (who has an 0.68 ERA in his last nine starts at Double-A) or Brandon Nimmo (who just got promoted to Triple-A) so that you have them if you need them. Given how often baseball players get injured, it’s inevitable that you will.

With that in mind, here's a thought on a useful player the Mets could pursue who would probably cost them very little -- Tigers outfielder Rajai Davis.

Davis is 34 years old and at the end of a two-year deal with the Tigers, making $5 million this season. He is not a great hitter, but he's not a terrible hitter either. He’s currently in a 1-for-23 slump, which took his batting average from .278 to .254. His OPS is .709, slightly below major-league average.

He brings a skill that the Mets could use, though. He'd immediately become the fastest player on the team.

Davis is 14-for-18 in stolen base attempts and has a career-high seven triples this season.

From 2012 to 2014, Davis averaged 42 steals with an 81 percent success rate. Over the last two seasons, Davis has the third-highest baserunning rating (a Fangraphs.com-based metric that measures all aspects of baserunning effectiveness). That was one spot better than former Met Eric Young Jr. Davis has maintained a decent rating this season despite not playing as often as he usually does.

The Mets are severely lacking in team speed. Curtis Granderson entered Wednesday as the team leader with nine stolen bases. Juan Lagares has seven and has not materialized into the basestealer the Mets hoped he would be.

The Mets have two minor leaguers on the 40-man roster who have some speed -- Darrell Ceciliani and Wilfredo Tovar. But both lack the experience and savvy that Davis would bring to a team trying to win a division title.

Additionally, Davis brings positional flexibility. He can play left, center and right field and plays them all adequately (his Defensive Runs Saved totals are worse in left field).

It sounds like Davis is available for the getting. He reportedly followed more than 30 Cardinals-related Twitter accounts recently, so there might be some competition for his services.

But we have a hunch that Davis wouldn't mind coming back East either. He’s from the same part of Connecticut that produced Matt Harvey and Eric Campbell (New London), so he'd likely have a nice welcoming committee.

The other nice thing about Davis is that he'd probably come cheap. Instead of giving up Nimmo or Fulmer, you'd probably be giving up a prospect similar to the ones in the Uribe/Johnson deal.

Let's see if the Mets do anything to make that happen.