We are now just two days away from the Major League Baseball trade deadline. The Mets have been relatively quiet so far, save for the Rich Hill acquisition. However, all indications are that more moves are on the way, as acting general manager Zack Scott noted he is focused on upgrading the pitching staff. Reports also maintain that the Mets are looking at potential infield upgrades.
So far, the majority of rumors have focused on the top tier of pitching in Max Scherzer and Jose Berrios. However, both would come at a high cost, making them less likely targets. Scherzer in particular would be coming from a division rival, and some reports have indicated that this would either up the cost or prevent a trade entirely.
More likely, the Mets will land someone like Jon Gray or Tyler Anderson (who may now be headed to Philadelphia) for the cost of one or two lower-level prospects. Despite the acquisition of Hill, the Mets still need another solid starter as they await the returns of Jacob deGrom and Carlos Carrasco from the injured list. Hopefully, this will allow the Mets to move forward with a rotation along the lines of deGrom/Stroman/Walker/Carrasco/Gray with Hill and Megill waiting in the wings when injury inevitably strikes.
With the deadline just days away, rumors of Kris Bryant, Trevor Story, or Javier Baez to the Mets have gone suspiciously silent. Well, except for ESPN’s Buster Olney throwing Mets fans into a frenzy with this quote:
The lack of reliable information is a bit surprising considering that all three are free agents at the end of this season. With the Cubs and Rockies firmly out of the playoff race, they would be getting the most value from these players by trading them now.
At least theoretically, all the Mets would need to do to pry Bryant (or Baez) away from the Cubs is offer a package more valuable than the second-round draft pick that the Cubs would receive as compensation in the event Bryant walks in the offseason. One possibility is offering AA 3B/LF Mark Vientos, currently the Mets eighth-ranked prospect, and tearing it up at Binghamton, with 18 home runs in 214 at bats. Vientos makes sense for the Cubs, as he has shown potential as an MLB-caliber third baseman. It would also make sense for the Mets, with Vientos quickly becoming secondary to rising star 3B Brett Baty.
As the market for relief pitchers comes into focus, the Cubs once again hold the cards with closer Craig Kimbrel. Already having an excellent career, Kimbrel has posted a 0.49 ERA this year. He is also a free agent at the end of the year and is likely on his way out of Chicago this week.
Even if the Mets are outbid for Kimbrel, there is plenty of bullpen help out there, including the Pirates’ Richard Rodriguez, Twins’ Taylor Rogers, and Rangers’ Ian Kennedy. Relief pitching is generally easy to find at the deadline, and it seems fair to expect the Mets to make a move here before Friday.
Even with just two days left, it would not be out of character for Steve Cohen to push for a big splash at the deadline. That being said, the Mets front office has also proven to be committed to developing the farm system and avoiding short-sighted moves.
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