With so many players in the last year of their contract, the New York Mets should be active players around the trade deadline. The draft pick compensation rules have changed, and there is now more incentive to deal players than to extend a qualifying offer. Barring a hot streak, the Mets will probably look to sell in July.
Sandy Alderson is in a strong position, as the team has several attractive pieces: Lucas Duda, Neil Walker, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jay Bruce, Curtis Granderson, and Addison Reed. Below is a breakdown of potential landing spots for each of those players.
Who might be interested: Yankees, Mariners, Rangers, Dodgers
Finding a home for a slugging first baseman is harder than you might think, as in this era of baseball, most teams have their own player that fits that mold. If Greg Bird doesn’t hit when he returns, the Yankees have the most obvious need at first base. Whether the Mets are willing to deal a key piece to their crosstown rival is another story. If they stay in the race, both the Mariners and Rangers could potentially use a power lefty bat to either start full-time or platoon at first base. The Mariners have right-handed Danny Valencia, while Mike Napoli is battling a back injury in Texas. Finally, Duda could be a fit for the Dodgers if Adrian Gonzalez can’t get things going, although the team could also shift Cody Bellinger to first base full-time.
Who might be interested: Cardinals, Blue Jays, Angels, Rays, Dodgers, Brewers, Red Sox
Walker might be the team’s most attractive trade piece, as he plays a higher position of need and is one of the Mets’ hotter bats. Still, there aren’t too many obvious suitors at this point. The Cardinals would make a lot of sense, as the team is weak on infield depth and could possibly use an upgrade over Kolten Wong. The Blue Jays are another great fit if Devon Travis, who is on the DL with a knee injury, misses an extended period of time. The Angels and Rays could use second base upgrades but would need to stay in the race, while the Dodgers and Brewers have underperforming options at the position (Logan Forsythe and Jonathan Villar) and could look to add a more reliable bat. Boston would be an intriguing fit if they feel Walker could play third base.
Who might be interested: Twins, Cardinals, Blue Jays, Angels, Rays, Dodgers, Brewers, Red Sox
Like Walker, Cabrera could be viewed as a utility infielder who can play all over the diamond. His option for 2018 could make him more or less desirable in trades, depending on who’s interested. The only difference from Walker’s list is the Twins, who could use some one who plays shortstop. Being a veteran would also make him a nice fit there. Unlike Walker, teams could also view Cabrera as a bench bat, assuming he comes at a corresponding price.
Jay Bruce/Curtis Granderson
Who might be interested: Orioles, Blue Jays, Rangers, Mariners, Twins, Angels, Astros, Indians, Diamondbacks, Cardinals
These players are lumped together because they are both essentially corner outfielders with pop, although Granderson adds a little more versatility. The same teams connected to Bruce in the offseason should still be in play here, as the Orioles, Blue Jays, and Rangers could all use a corner outfield bat. Teams like the Angels and Mariners might also have interest if they stay in the race. The market might be a little greater for Granderson because his versatility might make him an appealing fourth outfielder type. That should open up the market to teams like the Astros and Indians looking for a key bench piece.
Who might be interested: Every playoff contender
The old saying goes that you can’t have enough pitching, so the Mets should have no problem finding a new home for Reed. He likely won’t be viewed as a closer, but he should be able to slide into a seventh or eighth inning role with a number of playoff teams. Minnesota, Texas, St. Louis, and even Washington have particularly shaky bullpens, which might make him a better fit in those spots.
Dealing these players would still leave the Mets in the position to contend next season, also making them a much younger team. It would also free up a ton of money to sign big name free agents this offseason, such as Jake Arrieta, J.D. Martinez, and Lorenzo Cain among others. Specifically dealing Cabrera and/or Duda could allow Amed Rosario and/or Dominic Smith to get called up in 2017 rather than next season and allow them to get consistent at-bats rather that sitting on the bench.