It’s getting late early for the Mets. With each passing bullpen implosion, every five-inning start and every crushing loss, it’s starting to look like this summer will be a non-competitive one. To say the Mets have underperformed would be the understatement of the century; they were supposed to be contenders this year.
If the Mets can’t dig themselves out of this hole, the question then becomes:
What do the Mets do? Could the team– one that so many thought would be contending for the World Series– become sellers at the deadline? This thought is probably an unsettling one for a lot of fans, and one that might make recent bandwagoners jump ship for good.
Nobody ever wants to see their team selling, but the Mets actually have a lot of appealing pieces if they do opt to sell. Jay Bruce, Lucas Duda, Neil Walker, Rene Rivera, Jose Reyes, Curtis Granderson, Addison Reed, and Fernando Salas are all in contract years for the Mets. Asdrubal Cabrera and Jerry Blevins contracts are also up this season, although they both have affordable options for the 2018 season.
The most appealing part of selling these guys– from a Mets standpoint at least– is that very few of them factor into the team’s long-term plans. Rivera is a journeyman catcher in the midst of a career year. His value has never been higher, so he could net a mid-level prospect. The Mets have obviously been looking to trade Bruce for a while now, so he could give them something long-term in a trade. Reed has been great since coming to the Mets and the price for late inning relievers has been high in trades.
The only players that could factor into the Mets’ long-term plans here are Walker, who the team has previously expressed interest in extending long-term, and Duda. Outside of that though, getting rid of these guys could bring in players that can help the team in 2018 and beyond. But if they can’t extend these guys, they could be some of the Mets’ most valuable pieces in a fire sale.
In terms of what they could actually net, Bruce and Walker stand out as players that could get something significant in return. Bruce is on pace for a 30-homer season, and Walker is a solid, consistent hitter at a position traditionally not known for its offense.
The Mets still have a young, talented pitching staff that is capable of regaining its form in future seasons. Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith still represent a bright future in the farm system. Tim Tebow… actually never mind about that one. But trading away some guys on contract years could help the Mets re-tool and reinvigorate a nucleus that is still fundamentally strong for future seasons.