As the calendar hits July, this means the MLB trade deadline is approaching. Through July 3rd, the New York Mets sit atop the NL East with a 42-36 record. Obviously, the Mets will be buyers at the deadline as there are some improvements that need to be made. The bullpen is pretty much set, so let’s take a look at what the Mets can do to improve the rotation, lineup, and a potential trade package they can pull off.
The rotation is the biggest thing the Mets have to improve. With injuries to David Peterson and Joey Lucchesi, the Mets are in need of something at the end of the rotation. As always, there are many options the Mets can explore.
Longshot: Max Scherzer
I highly doubt the Nationals will be buyers at the deadline. That being said, I don’t necessarily see them as sellers. I think they will roll out the team they currently have. Either way, I don’t believe Scherzer will get moved. He is in the last year of his contract, but I would venture to say he will resign in the offseason. From the Mets perspective, it doesn’t make a lot of sense beyond this year. Sure he would be great for the rotation, but he would require the Mets to give up some top prospects to a team in their division. And for a 36-year-old who is going to want a decent amount this offseason, it’s not worth it in my estimation. But you also have to consider, who wouldn’t want Scherzer on their team?
Budget: Merrill Kelly
The Diamondbacks will be one of the biggest sellers this year. They are amongst the league’s worst teams, and they have a few moveable pieces. Kelly is a budget option for the Mets because they will probably get what they give up. Kelly has posted a 4.67 ERA through 17 starts this year. He could somewhat help but couldn’t be the only move they make. I would have no issue bringing Kelly as long as he isn’t the only move.
Ideal target #1: Kyle Gibson
It would be appalling if the Texas Rangers didn’t sell Gibson. He has a career-best and AL-best 1.98 ERA through 16 starts this season. Although his value will be higher than it ever was, I don’t think it will be too high. Gibson is 33 and hasn’t been a dominant pitcher throughout his career. He would still be under contract for another year, making $7 million. That would be the only thing about Gibson that would hold the Mets back. But at the right price, I think the Mets should absolutely look at him.
Ideal Target #2: Matthew Boyd
Boyd has had his best season thus far for the Tigers. Through 14 starts he has posted a 3.44 ERA. Even though he is currently on the IL with an arm injury, there is a chance he will rebound fine. Boyd will cost a little bit for the Mets, but being on an expiring contract at 30 years old, it wouldn’t be too much. He would also add a lefty in the rotation which they lost with Peterson and Lucchesi. Although he may not be the best available player, he makes the most sense for the Mets.
The Mets have the talent but haven’t been getting the production from their lineup as they are amongst the worst offensive teams in the league. So it would be tough to fill a hole because the Mets don’t really have any. Nevertheless, there are a few possibilities.
Longshot: Kris Bryant
Bryant has fallen off recently. His average has dipped to .265 and he only has 15 home runs. However, he does have a respectable .849 OPS due to his .349 OBP and .500 slugging. Even though the Cubs have also dropped off, they will still probably be buyers. Bryant would also cost the Mets a lot, and then they would have to decide what to do with him in the offseason. Unless it is a fleece, I wouldn’t look too much into it.
Budget: Michael A. Taylor
Taylor hasn’t been a great bat for the Royals this year. His slash line is just .237/.291/.355 with seven homers. However, he is a good fielder with good speed, so he provides something for the Mets. He would also cost very little, so I think it would be a good move–especially with the lack of speed on the Mets.
Ideal: Eduardo Escobar
If I could pick one guy for the Mets to acquire this deadline, it would be Escobar. His numbers aren’t incredible as his slash line is .247/,294/.471 with 18 homers. However, he can play literally everywhere on the field which means the Mets could do so much with him. Whenever a guy needs a day off, he would fill that spot. While he would primarily play at third base, there would definitely be ways to get him in the lineup at the expense of struggling players.
Potential Package The Mets Can Explore
Although it would cost a lot, there is an intriguing possibility for the Mets that could provide a player for both the rotation and the lineup. This package would be receiving Jose Berrios and Josh Donaldson from the Twins. These are both of the Twins’ most valuable assets, so the Mets would likely have to give up a few top prospects. But at the right price, I love this opportunity.
Berrios has posted a 3.52 ERA and just a 1.14 WHIP this year. His contract will expire after this year and he will enter arbitration this offseason. Donaldson has slashed .250/.346/.486 with 13 homers this season. The thing with him is he is under a big contract through 2024, and he will be 38 when it expires. If the Mets had to pick between the two, they would probably go with Berrios because of Donaldson’s contract situation.
In order to make this work, the Mets would have to give up their #2 prospect: Ronny Mauricio. Because Donaldson would be in New York for four years, J.D. Davis would also probably be moved. The Mets aren’t giving up Matt Allan, nor would the Twins want him as he is going through Tommy John surgery. Instead, #6 prospect J.T. Ginn would likely be moved. From there it is tough to tell–it all depends on if Mauricio is involved in the trade.
What Should the Mets Do This Deadline?
The Mets need a starter. They will have Carlos Carrasco back at some point, so they don’t necessarily need two. As far as the lineup, it depends on if the front office wants to trust the guys that just haven’t gotten going yet. So, I would love for them to get Escobar as he provides a solution for whatever position he is needed. As far as the Donaldson/Berrios package, it is tough to tell. Who knows where Donaldson will be at the end of that contract as he has already slowed down a bit. Are the Mets willing to give up Mauricio? If they don’t need to, I would absolutely do it.