If you thought being 11 games under .500 and 10 games out of first on July 3rd was evidence enough that the Mets will be sellers at the trade deadline for the fourth straight season, you are wrong. That is, of course, if you were to take anything Sandy Alderson says at face value.
The Mets general manager told Jon Heyman of CBS Sports that he likes where the Mets are and has no plans to make any significant changes.
“We kind of like our team,” Alderson said. “If you look at the run differential, we should be a .500 team. We’re not. At the same time, it doesn’t mean we should throw everyone overboard.”
“We’re not happy with our record by any means,” Alderson said. “We’re thinking we have the potential to be better than our record.”
Alderson acknowledged that the team needs to get better at coming up with timely hits which is what he believes accounts for a league worst 10-20 record in one-run games.
“That has got to change.” Alderson said, but he didn’t blame the bullpen.
“We like the pen. We like the rotation. Neither is where we want it to be ultimately,” Alderson said.
Regardless of what Sandy told him, Heyman says it’s inevitable that the Mets will be sellers before the July 31 trading deadline – and I agree.
However, one player who won’t be fitted for a new uniform is lefthander Jon Niese who is currently 5-4 with a 2.88 ERA.
“We like Jonathon,” Alderson told CBS Sports. “He’s the only lefty in the rotation. We’d be hard-pressed to trade Niese.”
Niese has been the most consistent member of the starting rotation this season, owning a remarkable streak of not allowing more than three runs per game that goes all the way back to last season.
He also has a very team friendly deal, earning $5 million this season, $7 million in ’15 and $9 million in ’16. Additionally the Mets have team options for the 2017 and 2018 seasons. I love Niese and with the only other lefthander in the system still at least a year away (Steven Matz), they’d be crazy to have the NL East feasting on five righties in the rotation.
So if Niese is safe from the ax, which players are not?
Here are my top five players that are likely to be shipped off before the deadline along with the degree of certainty that they will be ex-Mets.
Now whether we’re trading for more prospects who can help in a few years or if we’ll see Alderson finally bring in a player who can immediately fill a need on the major league squad, well that remains to be seen.