Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports came out with an extensive review of all the significant MLB players who could change clubs in the next month leading up to the trade deadline. As you would expect, there are a ton of Mets on the 96-player list. Here is what he said about each one, separates into Heyman’s own categories:
The Pretty Valuable
28. Lucas Duda, Mets 1B. He’s showing some big power in limited at-bats in his walk year. The Yankees could be a possibility, and a Mets person suggested they’d be willing to talk to the Yanks, though conceded it’s a little more complicated trading with the team eight miles up the Grand Central and Major Deegan.
30. Jerry Blevins, Mets RP. One of the top lefties in the game also has an option for next year that looks like a slam dunk at present.
40. Jay Bruce, Mets OF. He’s hit up a storm this season and certainly proved he can play in New York after drawing no interest in paying his $13 million salary. But now with half the deal paid, and his big numbers on the board, someone should pay the freight. Though, with the outfield demand running low, one person suggested it might take the right injury to the right team.
54. Rene Rivera, Mets C. Solid backup is a good defender and a better hitter than you think.
Very Good Players But Also Likely Overpriced
73. Neil Walker, Mets 2B. If healthy, he’s worth nearly every penny. But that $17.2-million salary looks awfully heavy with him on the DL. (Side note: good job by him taking the qualifying offer.)
81. Curtis Granderson, Mets OF. Great for a team, and he’s started hitting again. But $15 mil looks a little pricey. Many love him. “Character guy who’s been there.”
Can Help Someone If Deal is Offset
85. Asdrubal Cabrera, Mets INF. Some rough injuries limited his range earlier, but he’s been raking since his return (and his request to be dealt). Could help someone. Hate to say it, but he’s a really good second baseman.
Heyman’s list is pretty absurd when you look at the whole thing. The purpose of the list is to rank players by trade value, but he also tries to separate them into categories, which completely defeats the original purpose. For instance, I don’t think anyone in their right mind would rank Rene Rivera as more valuable than Neil Walker, even given salary considerations.
Setting that aside for a moment, the Mets clearly have some valuable chips they can deal at the deadline if they are so inclined.
Lucas Duda could fetch a pretty big haul, especially if he continues to hit like he has so far this season. His .251/.363/.552 slash line would be a great addition to any team. And over the last four seasons, Duda’s 130 wRC+ is the eighth-highest among first basemen, better than Brandon Belt, Adrian Gonzalez, and Chris Davis.
Mets fans love to knock him and dramatically underestimate just how good he really is, but other teams would pay a good premium to add such a productive slugger in the middle of a playoff chase. He’s not going to net a team’s top prospect, but perhaps someone in a team’s top five could be acquired in the right deal, assuming Sandy Alderson chooses prospects over MLB-ready pieces.
While Jay Bruce is having the best season of his career, he won’t fetch as much as Duda will, given his significantly worse offensive numbers and the relatively weak outfield market right now.
While losing Addison Reed and Jerry Blevins would make it even more painful to watch Mets games for the next few months, Alderson may be able to fetch one of another team’s top ten prospects for each if he decides to deal them.
The rest of the list will come down to how the market develops and how much money the Mets are willing to eat to deal these players. As good as Neil Walker has been this season (and as much as I’d love to re-sign him in the winter), his salary would be a lot for a team to take on, even if just for a half-season. Curtis Granderson and Asdrubal Cabrera have been on a tear of late, but their age and cost will make teams hesitant to give up any decent mid-level prospects. Rene Rivera, of course, just isn’t a good baseball player.
The Mets have a great opportunity to re-tool for a playoff run next year, and should definitely take advantage of it. They won’t be able to rebuild the farm system with top prospects or bring back any MLB stars, but at minimum, Alderson could use this opportunity to bolster the organization’s depth for 2017 and beyond.
I wouldn’t expect everyone on this list to be dealt — at least half will probably stay — but I expect (and hope) that Sandy Alderson can find some willing trade partners for some of the more valuable pieces and take advantage of this chance to re-tool.