It’s been a rough season for the Mets, but with the MLB trade deadline looming, New York has plenty of opportunities to improve for the future.
After back-to-back postseason appearances, including a surprising trip to the 2015 World Series, the New York Mets entered 2017 with high expectations. However, more than halfway through the season, the Mets are 38-43, 9.5 games out of first place in the NL East and 8.5 games back in the Wild Card race.
Injuries have been devastating. David Wright hasn’t played all season because of a potentially career threatening shoulder injury. Noah Syndergaard suffered a muscle tear in April that sidelined him after five starts. Michael Conforto, Jeurys Famillia, Matt Harvey, Juan Lagares, Robert Gsellman, Josh Smoker, Neil Walker and Tommy Milone are all currently on the DL.
It’s not what Mets fans want to hear, but with so many injuries, the timing is right to rebuild in New York.
It also helps that big contracts belonging to Neil Walker, Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson are coming off the books at the end of the season, and Addison Reed, Lucas Duda and Jose Reyes will be free agents as well. Asdrubal Cabrera has a $2 million buyout on his $8.5 million option for 2018, putting him in roughly the same boat. Also, two of the club’s biggest prospects are major league ready.
Collectively, that group of players could bring back talented prospects or young big leaguers ready to contribute in 2018, when hopefully, New York will be healthy enough to compete for the postseason once again.
With an eye towards the future, we take a look at five moves the Mets should make at the MLB trade deadline.
If we were talking about making a trade to improve the Mets chances of making the postseason this year, we’d likely list starting pitching as the top need because of the long list of New York pitchers currently on the DL. However, if the club is out of the race at the trade deadline as expected, the Mets don’t need to make a major move for starting pitching help in the short term. Also, New York is unlikely to part with their top two prospects, so there’s a limited market available to them to improve the roster for a stretch run this year anyway.
Therefore, we should take a look farther into the future to the 2018 season and beyond. With so much potential money opening up, there’s an opportunity for the Mets to position themselves well for the offseason free agent market, and add organizational depth to a handful of positions as well.
Catcher could be one, as Travis d’Arnaud isn’t terrific either at the plate or behind it. The infield could look entirely different next year, but replacements should come from a pair of top prospects currently in the minor leagues.
Baseball Prospectus Organizational Talent Ranking: 12
MLB.com Top 100 Prospects: 2
MLB.com Top 10 Prospects
- Amed Rosario, SS
- Dominic Smith, 1B
- Justin Dunn, RHP
- Thomas Szapucki, LHP
- Desmond Lindsey, OF
- Gavin Cecchini, IF
- Andres Gimenez, SS
- Peter Alonso, 1B
- Tomas Nido, C
- Wuilmer Becerra, OF
In addition to the expiring contracts on the major league roster likely to receive trade interest, the Mets have a talented farm system with which to work. The Mets have two elite prospects that figure to be fixtures in New York shortly.
Amed Rosario is the No. 3 player overall in MLB.com’s Top 100 and he’s knocking on the door of the big leagues hitting .315/.356/.463 with seven home runs and 49 RBI in 78 games at Triple-A Las Vegas. Expect Rosario to be promoted any day now, and therefore, don’t expect him to be traded.
Dominic Smith, likewise, is hitting well in Vegas and appears primed for a big league call up before the end of the year. The top ranked first baseman in MLB.com’s rankings at No. 52 overall, Smith is hitting .323/.378/.466 with eight homers and 46 RBI in 81 games with the 51s.