2021 Mets: Offensive Trade Targets

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The 2021 Mets are far from a perfect ballclub — in just half a season the team has displayed its lack of pitching depth, the potential for bullpen implosions, and most of all a lackluster offense. Steve Cohen and the Mets’ front office have their work cut out for them as the team will likely need upgrades in every area if they want to compete with the likes of the Dodgers and Padres come October.

One of the single weakest areas of this offense has been facing lefties. Specifically, left-handed starting pitchers who have held the Mets offense to a .614 OPS, compared to their .729 OPS versus righty starters. Most recently Wade Miley held the team to two runs over 6.1 IP.

This is in no small part due to the fact that guys like Kevin Pillar and Jose Peraza, who are meant to platoon against lefties, have actually been significantly worse against them this year. Hopefully the return of J.D. Davis can be a step in the right direction, but the Mets should take a serious look at some lefty-mashing hitters before July 31.

Who’s Available?

Here’s the problem: there aren’t many cheap, rental-type options for the Mets in this department. Someone like Michael A. Taylor might be a good fit on the surface, but he too has struggled mightily against LHP this season. On the other hand, if the front office can be pushed to make a swing-for-the-fences trade, there are huge upgrades to be made.

Kris Bryant

Bryant just seems like he fits the Mets in every way. Not the least of which is that he is currently crushing lefties to the tune of a 1.102 OPS. Bryant and the Mets have been linked in rumors since the winter, and with the Cubs firmly out of the playoff race, he seems like a lock to be traded.

Despite his pedigree, Bryant is also a free agent at the end of the season, meaning he should be obtainable without the Mets putting a significant dent in their farm system. On top of this, Bryant’s disputes with the Cubs front office means he will likely be looking to sign elsewhere this offseason, and the team that acquires him this July would likely be a frontrunner.

Not to mention the fact that Bryant is a solid defender, and is versatile enough to play both corner infield positions and both corner outfield positions. He could become a consistent presence at third base, while also moving to LF against lefties when Davis slots in at 3B.

It’s worth noting that the Mets acquiring Kris Bryant isn’t a huge stretch of the imagination like trading for Max Scherzer. All indications are that Bryant will be traded, it’s just a matter of the Mets putting up the best offer. Also, just think about the lineups the Mets could put together if they can make a deal with the Cubs.

Brandon Nimmo CF
Kris Bryant 3B
Jeff McNeil 2B
Pete Alonso 1B
Michael Conforto RF
Francisco Lindor SS
Dom Smith LF
James McCann C
Pitcher P

There is also potential for the Cubs to package Bryant with a pitcher like Kyle Hendricks or Craig Kimbrel, allowing the Mets to upgrade two areas at once.

Other Options?

Truly, the Mets don’t have many options that are even in the same ballpark as Bryant. The fact is, the Mets don’t have many positions where they have room to upgrade. Most available righty hitters either wouldn’t be a significant upgrade over Pillar or wouldn’t be worth the cost considering the Mets already have three talented outfielders. The Mets are also locked in at 1B and 2B and have solid bench pieces in Luis Guillorme and Jonathan Villar.

That leaves 3B, where Bryant is clearly the best option of a group that also includes Josh Donaldson and few others. That leaves SS, where the Mets were booked up until Francisco Lindor suffered an oblique injury. The trade market here is stacked though, headlined by Trevor Story and Javier Baez, two slick-fielding power hitters. Again, however, even if the Mets wanted to try one of these guys out of position, they don’t have a spot with the team long-term like Bryant does.

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David Murtha is an MLB writer covering the New York Mets as well as general baseball news. He is a lifelong Mets fan born and raised in Queens. He is also currently a student at Stony Brook University studying biology, and has previously written for other online publications.