deGrom nears first rehab start, Mets have two All-Star finalists and the Mauricio conundrum
New York's ace is likely to take the ball for the St. Lucie Mets on Sunday. Plus, is there one top prospect the Mets should be willing to part with?
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾
The Mets were off Thursday as they prepare for a three-game weekend series against the Rangers in New York
RHP Jacob deGrom is likely to make his first minor league rehab start on Sunday (NY Post)
1B Pete Alonso and OF Starling Marte were named All-Star Game finalists to start at their positions
The Mets have lost three games in a row for the first time all year and will aim to halt their skid tonight
New York’s NL East lead increased to 3.5 games on their day off thanks to a Braves loss
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets (47-29) vs. Rangers (36-38)
Where: Citi Field — Flushing, New York
Starters: RHP Chris Bassitt (6-5, 4.01 ERA) vs RHP Glenn Otto (4-3, 5.31 ERA)
When: 7:10 PM EDT
Where to Watch: Apple TV+
Should Ronny Mauricio be untouchable? 📝
Though they were quite obviously quite disappointing, the four games the Mets lost to Houston over the last week and a half should not be overreacted to. What the games with the Astros did expose, though, were dramatic weaknesses on this Mets team that simply will not fly against elite teams in October.
In three of the four games New York got completely non competitive starting pitching — twice from Carlos Carrasco and once from Trevor Williams. Offensively, the Mets scored only six runs and were out-homered 10-2. Lack of power has been a growing issue for New York as the first half of the season has worn on. Slugging first baseman Pete Alonso has crushed 22 homers, but the rest of the entire team has combined to hit just 49.
Not to mention the inconsistency and struggles of the Amazins’ bullpen outside of Edwin Díaz (we’re looking at you, Chasen Shreve.)
So as we sit here today roughly one month from the trade deadline, the Mets shopping list is well defined. What’s open ended, however, is how aggressive they’ll be in their pursuit of upgrades. These are not the Wilpon-led Mets any longer, and headed by Steve Cohen this team is not going to shop in the bargain bin. But the biggest advantage Cohen has entering the deadline is financial. New York has a handful of premium prospects but the system is overly top heavy. And according to a report from SNY’s Andy Martino yesterday, the team does not plan to trade any of their high-end minor leaguers.
New York will not under any circumstance consider trading catcher Francisco Álvarez or third baseman Brett Baty. Mark Vientos is currently raking in Triple-A and is the team’s most big league ready offensive prospect. His rapid growth has New York thinking he could be their long-term DH. And while outfielder Alex Ramirez is raw and only in Single-A, his skillset is already tantalizing.
But the last of the Mets big five prospects, shortstop Ronny Mauricio, represents a bit of a conundrum. His talent can not be debated — Mauricio is a five-tool, switch-hitting 21-year-old. He hit his 14th home run of the season for the Double-A Rumble Ponies last night, and in 66 games this year he’s already driven in 50 runs. He’s added 17 doubles, stolen 11 bases and is currently sporting a career best .776 OPS.
That being said, he also plays a position the organization signed Francisco Lindor to occupy until 2032.
Moving Mauricio off of shortstop has always been a consideration, but the Mets intend for Baty to be their third baseman of the future and it’s certainly conceivable they eventually reward Jeff McNeil with a long-term contract to play second.
So if the positional complexity is going to eventually be an issue, doesn’t it make the most sense for the Mets to at least entertain the idea of trading Mauricio right now while his value is at its highest? If the difference between including him in a deal or not is the difference between landing a middle-of-the-rotation starter or someone like Luis Castillo or Frankie Montas that could help them win the World Series in 2022, I think you need to do it. The same goes for if a difference-making bat becomes available.
Both of those pitchers, specifically, would be under team control beyond this season — something important given the uncertainty surrounding New York’s rotation in 2023 and beyond as deGrom, Carrasco, Chris Bassitt and Taijuan Walker can all hit free agency.
By no means am I advocating trading someone with the upside of Mauricio to pursue fools gold. But the Mets have a legitimate chance to win the whole thing this fall, and if trading one of their top prospects — one who is blocked at the Major League level by an All-Star caliber shortstop — can contribute to that, it seems like a win-win.
Down on the Farm 🌾
Ronny Mauricio (SS, No. 3 prospect, Double-A) 1-3, HR (14), 3 RBI
Mark Vientos (3B/OF, No. 5 prospect, Triple-A) 1-4, HR (13), BB, 2 R
Alex Ramirez (OF, No. 4 prospect, Single-A) 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI, BB, 2 R
Box Scores: Triple-A | Double-A | Single-A | Low-A
Around the League 🚩
The Phillies blasted five home runs in a 14-4 drubbing of the Braves to avoid being swept
Ex-Met Andrés Giménez launched a walk-off homer for the Guardians as they topped the Twins 5-3
Houston continued their tear through the New York teams, taking down the Yankees 2-1
Cubs third baesman Patrick Wisdom hit a grand slam in the club’s win over the Reds
Pirates phenom Oneil Cruz crushed his second homer since Pittsburgh called him up last week