While the Mets are likely sellers in the trade market, there’s no guarantee they’ll be able to sell all of their pieces. Given how the deadline transpires, the Mets will likely have some questions to address about playing time for some players with expiring contracts. Here’s a breakdown of what the Mets should do if they can and cannot trade away their chips.
If he’s traded: Call up Dominic Smith right away and play him every day. Don’t put him in a platoon until he forces you to play him there. After two months, the Mets should have a good idea of what sort of role Smith can play in during 2018.
If he’s not traded: Play Duda at first base for a few more weeks. If you can’t pass him through waivers and get a trade done, bench him and give Smith the full-time job at first base. A crucial evaluation period cannot be wasted just to give Duda his normal playing time.
If he’s traded: Call up Amed Rosario right away, play him, and shift Jose Reyes to second or third base. There can be no more excuses to keep Rosario down if Asdrubal Cabrera or Reyes is gone. Like Smith, playing Rosario for two months should help the club figure out what it needs in 2018.
If he’s not traded: Keep playing Cabrera at second base and maybe third base, as well. The goal should be to figure out if he fields well enough at either position to make his team option worth it in 2018. Given the relative low cost of the option ($8.5 million), it’s likely Cabrera is back in 2018 if he’s not dealt now or in the offseason.
If he’s traded: Have Rosario ready to take over at shortstop right away. At this point, he may be the only shortstop on the roster and should be given every opportunity to stay in the lineup on a daily basis.
If he’s not traded: Send him to the bench and call up Rosario. The chances of getting anything for Reyes are slim to begin with, and the Mets need to stop mortgaging their future for the possibility of a low-level prospect return for Reyes.
If he’s traded: Call up Gavin Cecchini and add him to the middle infield mix. While he might not come with the big name like Smith and Rosario, it’s important that the Mets figure out what Cecchini is before they decide how to fill the second base void in the offseason.
If he’s not traded: Play Walker every day. Given their flirtation with a long-term deal before, the Mets seem to be at least considering bringing Walker back next year, especially if they can get him at a reduced cost. Walker must show the Mets he’s healthy and can hit consistently enough to be part of the 2018 plans.
If he’s not traded: Roll with Bruce, Conforto, and Yoenis Cespedes in the outfield for the rest of the season and figure out how comfortable you are with Conforto manning center for the long-term. If the Mets are fine with it, then they will probably at least consider bringing Bruce back.
If he’s traded: Thank him for everything and finally allow Conforto to play every single game. One less outfielder would finally give Conforto some clarity on his role.
If he’s not traded: Thank him for everything and make Granderson a bench player the rest of the season. Teams know what Granderson is and there’s no need to showcase him for a waiver deal. Again, Conforto needs to finally play every day.
If he’s traded: Until Jeurys Familia returns, the best option to close would probably be Paul Sewald. He has the best peripheral numbers and could succeed in the role. That being said, it wouldn’t be a shock to see Terry Collins turn to a guy with “closing experience” like Fernando Salas.
If he’s not traded: Open extension talks with Reed. As maybe the only reliable reliever in the bullpen, bringing him back would be a good step towards rebuilding the pitching staff.