Pessimism on Ohtani, and what could the Mets do as buyers?
Are the Mets not as strong of suitors for Shohei Ohtani as we all assume? Plus, a look at what could the Mets do if they become buyers at the trade deadline.
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾️
The Mets don’t think they have much of a shot at signing Angels RHP/DH Shohei Ohtani as a friend agent according to Andy Martino (SNY)
Today’s Game 🗓
The Mets are off until Friday, when they return home to play the Dodgers at Citi Field.
What could the Mets do if they decide to be buyers? ✍️
In our newsletter yesterday, we talked through the potential scenarios of what the Mets could do if they were sellers at the trade deadline. Today, however, we’re going to take a look on the other side of the coin.
While the Mets did have a remarkably disappointing first half of their 2023 season, they did at least improve their place in the standings by just a bit before the All-Star break. It wasn’t a massive shift by any means, but the team did go from 10 games under .500 to six, and picked up two games in the Wild Card standings over their final eight contests.
Although unlikely, if the Mets came out of the gate hot and perhaps won 11 or 12 of their next 15 games, could they reverse course and decide to become buyers?
If they were to do so, what moves could the Mets make?
Might as well start off with a bang, right? The Cardinals have had a massively disappointing season, even more so than the Mets, and are reportedly considering wholesale changes. According to some, that could even include superstar third baseman Nolan Arenado.
Despite not being in the driver’s spot for their 2023 season, this could be a move that the Mets consider making even if they don’t get ridiculously hot over the next two weeks. The reason why? Arenado is under control through the 2027 season, so the Mets wouldn’t be going “in” on this season but their next four.
Trading for Arenado wouldn’t come cheap, but if St. Louis makes him available you have to wonder if the Mets would be willing to part ways with young players like Brett Baty and Kevin Parada in order to bring some juice into their lineup for years to come.
Let’s face it, if the Mets are going to buy into the 2023 season, they’re gonna need a starting pitcher. The struggles of Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander and Carlos Carrasco have been well documented, as have the ones of Tylor Megill and David Peterson, though we shouldn’t see much more of those two moving forward.
Even with José Quintana expected to return to the rotation early in the second half, this rotation needs another arm and Lucas Giolito could be just that. The White Sox are going absolutely nowhere, even playing in the worst division in baseball, and are set-up to be the league’s biggest sellers this month.
Giolito could become somewhat of a hot commodity, as he’s pitched to a 3.45 ERA and a 1.7 fWAR over 112.1 innings pitched this season. He would certainly fit the Mets as a pitcher who is effective, gives the club innings and could either replace Carrasco or allow the Mets the option to run with a six-man rotation to give extra rest to their over-30s rotation.
He’s in here because he has to be, but the Mets aren’t trading for Shohei Ohtani. If you ask me, no one is, but that’s because the Angels are run by one of baseball’s worst owners.
Now when it comes to signing him in free agency, that’s a different story (don’t listen to Martino). It’s far and away from a certainty, and having a down year doesn’t help their perception much, but with the financial capital they possess the Mets should have as good a shot as any other big market to make a play for Ohtani in the winter.
We wrote about Royals reliever Scott Barlow being a potential trade piece last season, and perhaps the Royals should have listened as the (at the time) 29-year-old was at the peak of his value. Now, a year later, things have not gone as smoothly for Barlow who’s pitched to a 4.09 ERA though he still could be an attractive not-as-expensive bullpen piece.
The Mets could certainly use some reliever relief, and they’ve already added an arm in Trevor Gott to their ailing bullpen prior to the All-Star break. Barlow’s peripherals also suggest that he’s had a better season that his ERA would suggest, as his 3.25 FIP looks far more palatable.
The Royals are a team that’s deep in their rebuilding right now, so holding onto a 30-year-old reliever — even one that does have years of control left — wouldn’t make much sense for them. They’ve already dealt Aroldis Chapman from their bullpen, and perhaps Barlow could be next.
Adam Duvall (124 wRC+) missed a large chunk of the first half due to injury, but was one of the Mets primary targets to fill their DH spot over the last offseason. Duvall chose Boston instead, believing he would get more regular at-bats.
Justin Lawrence (2.76 ERA) is a right-handed pitcher for the Rockies that actually doesn’t have an astronomically high ERA. Colorado has made it a point to hold onto Lawrence in the past, but could capitalize on his value by dealing him now.
David Bednar (1.27 ERA) is going to be an incredibly hot ticket item this summer but is still probably not going to get dealt this summer. He’s under control through the 2026 season, and the Pirates showed some flashes in the first half. Even if Pittsburgh did make the right-hander available, it would likely cost a king’s ransom and the Mets are not in a position where they should be trading prospects like Kevin Parada for relievers… even if he is this good.