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Mets gear up for clash of New York as trade deadline looms large
After an off-day, the Mets get their first crack of the Yankees in the 2022 Subway Series. Plus, three under-the-radar trade candidates with a week to go before the deadline.
Just Mets on Playback 📺
Our next live watch-along will take place tonight as the SUBWAY SERIES kicks off when the Mets host the Yankees at 7:10 PM EST! Watch the game and interact with hosts Rich MacLeod and Andrew Claudio live on Playback!
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾
The Mets were off on Monday, and kick-off a two-game set vs the Yankees at Citi Field starting tonight
RHP Jacob deGrom (stress reaction in right scapula) will make his next rehab start with Syracuse tomorrow afternoon at 12:05 PM EST
The Mets are not the “frontrunners” to land Nationals 1B/DH Josh Bell, according to reports (SNY)
OF Trey Mancini, C Wilson Contreras or 1B C.J. Cron could all be more realistic options for the club to acquire via trade (SNY)
LHP Thomas Szapucki (Triple-A Syracuse) has drawn trade interest from other teams (NY Post)
New York increased its NL East lead to 2 games as the Braves coughed up a late lead and lost to the Phillies on Monday night
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets (59-37) vs Yankees (66-31)
Where: Citi Field — Flushing, New York
Starters: RHP Taijuan Walker (7-2, 2.55 ERA) vs LHP Jordan Montgomery (3-2, 3.24 ERA)
When: 7:10 PM EST
Where to Watch: SNY, TBS, Playback
Three under-the-radar trade candidates for the Mets to consider 📝
The MLB trade deadline is a week away and with that come rumors galore and visions of grandeur. The next seven days will be filled with theories, proposals and #BaronTrades (old school Mets Twitter folks will get that reference) involving the biggest and brightest stars in this league.
And while I do expect the Mets to be in play for, and likely to acquire, at least one “big name” at this year’s deadline, there are still plenty of other moves that can be made as complimentary moves to fill out the roster of a team looking to make a championship run. Look no further than last year when the Braves made a myriad of what appeared to be low-key acquisitions to bolster their injured roster in acquiring Joc Pederson, Eddie Rosario, Joger Soler and Adam Duvall, all of whom were role players having okay-to-good seasons on mediocre teams only for them to all wind up being pivotal cogs in Atlanta’s unlikely World Series title.
To keep it relevant to the Mets, their 2015 club may have been carried by their big name addition in Yoenis Céspedes, who had a legendary run of his own, but they also filled various holes and rounded out their roster by making additional moves to be considered less flashy by acquiring Kelly Johnson, Juan Uribe, Tyler Clippard and Addison Reed, each one playing a key role in the club’s stabilization in July and subsequent run to an NL East title and first pennant in 15 years.
So while I do expect the Mets to land a higher-end player prior to the trade deadline whether that be a Wilson Contreras, J.D. Martinez, Trey Mancini or whomever, it is also worth looking at some of the lesser known, but still important names that could also come aboard to help fully round this team into form…
Christian Vázquez — C, Red Sox
He’s not as flashy as Contreras, but Vázquez is quietly one of the better backstops that may be available and with the Red Sox’s recent downward trajectory he could be close to hitting the open market.
Vázquez, who turns 32 in August, is hitting .277/.322/.434 with eight home runs, 18 doubles, 38 RBI and a 106 OPS+ this season and is on an expiring contract, which would likely make him an attainable target for the Mets if Boston does decide to sell. Vázquez’s 1.7 bWAR ranks third among all qualified catchers and his eight home runs and 38 RBI are both more than James McCann, Tomás Nido and Patrick Mazeika — all three players to catch games for the Mets this season — have combined.
Overall, New York catchers are hitting .197/.243/.263 with three home runs, 33 RBI and a 49 wRC+ in 2022.
Vázquez has also thrown out 15 attempted base stealers this year, which is the second highest mark in all of baseball and is only one less than the Mets have as an entire team this year. He could prove as a valuable addition to this club while not costing high-end minor league talent, allowing them to fill other areas of need.
Patrick Wisdom — 3B, Cubs
In a world where the Mets acquire their big bat somewhere else, Cubs infielder Patrick Wisdom could prove to be a quality platoon and depth option for this club and a cheaper choice than say Brandon Drury, the former Met who is having a breakout season in Cincinnati and is destined to be a more popular trade chip than you’d likely prefer him to be if you’re New York.
While his overall numbers won’t leap off the page — his 109 OPS+ and league-leading 128 strikeouts are not exactly show-stopping — there is a role that Wisdom can fill successfully and for the Mets, that is his ability to hit left-handed pitching.
Overall this season, Wisdom is batting .261/.363/.500 with 11 extra-base hits in just 103 plate appearances vs left-handers. For his career, Wisdom has an .813 OPS against southpaws.
New York has notably struggled against left-handed pitchers this year, hitting just .239/.318/.371 with a 93 OPS+ against them as a team. JD Davis, whose primary role was to mash against lefties this year, has a paltry .640 OPS against them and hasn’t succeeded enough in other areas of his game to make up for that lack of production.
This could be a situation where Wisdom splits playing time with the newly acquired Daniel Vogelbach, who conversely hits right-handed pitching (.896 OPS) far better than he does lefties (.423 OPS). If New York was to acquire a headline bat at another position, Wisdom and Vogelbach could adequately split time at DH (with Wisdom also being able to fill-in at third and left field on occasion) which would allow manager Buck Showalter to play the match-up game, a lot like how Gabe Kapler and the Giants ran their offense last season in San Francisco.
Sam Moll — LHP, Athletics
The Mets need bullpen arms — specifically left-handed ones — and simply put, Joely Rodríguez isn’t exactly cutting it these days. Enter Sam Moll, a lesser-known and, admittedly, less major league seasoned option as a lefty out of the pen.
In his first full season in the big leagues, Moll has been very impressive for the Oakland A’s by posting a 1.78 ERA with 10.4 strikeouts per nine and a 1.0 bWAR in 37 appearances this season. Moll has also been dominant against left-handed hitters, holding them to a .127/.200/.200 slash line with just one home run allowed and a .400 OPS against.
Moll isn’t simply a lefty-on-lefty maestro, though, as he has held his own against right-handed hitters by keeping them to a .706 OPS with just one homer allowed. Overall, Moll has allowed just five extra-base hits to the 127 batters he’s faced during the 2022 season.
It may be a bit harder to pry Moll away from Oakland than other possible bullpen options, however, as he is under team control for the next five years. Normally the way the tightly run (cheap) A’s do business is by only trading players when they’re at the tail end of their control, but Moll could potentially be a rare exception for them as he’s already in his age-30 season despite having so much team control remaining.
This could provide Oakland a unique opportunity to get something solid in return for an older journeyman reliever while still being a more cost-effective (in terms of prospects) option for the Mets than potentially the Tigers’ Andrew Chafin or other left-handers on the market.
Down on the Farm 🌾
All Mets minor league affiliates were off on Monday.
Around the League 🚩
The Phillies overcame an 8th inning deficit thanks to a go-ahead, three-run home run by rookie SS Bryson Stott to defeat the Braves
Oakland A’s catcher Sean Murphy is receiving a lot of trade interest but may not be available (Rosenthal)
The Rangers officially signed LHP Dallas Keuchel to a minor league contract
The Rays have lost CF Kevin Kiermaier and C Mike Zunino to season-ending injuries, per manager Kevin Cash
Cubs OF Ian Happ knows he could be playing his final games as a member of the team (MLB.com)