The NL is finally back on top, and what could the Mets do as sellers?
The National League wins their first All-Star Game in 11 years. Plus, a look at what could the Mets do if they become sellers at the trade deadline.
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾️
The National League defeated the American League, 3-2, in the All-Star Game for the first time since the 2012 season (box)
1B Pete Alonso came into the game off the bench and went 0-for-2 with two strikeouts
Alonso helped keep the National League with a great scoop at first base to finish off a double play in the 8th inning (video)
RHP Kodai Senga did not make an appearance in his first All-Star Game
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 sellers? ✍️
Now that the festivities of All-Star week have completed, it is the time where our eyes return to the reality of the regular season.
For the Mets, the first half of 2023 proved to be nothing but a massive disappointment marred by underperformance and inconsistency. A team that entered the season with lofty expectations has struggled so much that they recently hit their low-point with a record that was 10 games under the .500 mark.
Even after a six-game winning streak toward the end of the first half, New York remains six games under .500 and seven games out of the third Wild Card spot. With that, unless they have a remarkably hot stretch over their next 15 games, it appears likely that the club could make the decision to be sellers at the August 1st trade deadline.
If they were to do so, what moves could the Mets make?
Of the potential options here, David Robertson feels like the biggest slam dunk to moved if the team does make this pivot. In the absence of closer Edwin Díaz, Robertson has performed incredibly admirably, pitching to a 2.06 ERA and converting 13 saves in the first half.
The 38-year-old right-hander is still a pitcher that could help a team in a meaningful way, either as a closer or an elite set-up man. Only signed to a one-year deal, a selling Mets team would make Robertson available and are likely to pick up the majority of what remains of his $10 million contract to increase their potential return (as they did with Eduardo Escobar).
Boy, did I never expect to have Tommy Pham as one of the top two expiring assets that the Mets would have. After signing a one-year, $6 million contract in the offseason, Pham has been incredible in his role for the Mets. Despite a slow start to his season that left many wanting him to be released, Pham is hitting .277/.350/.485 with nine home runs, 14 doubles, 34 RBI and a 1.3 fWAR this season. And since May 28th, Pham has a .984 OPS.
The Mets won’t be able to expect the same level of prospect/talent return for Pham as they would with Robertson, even if they do pay-off all of his remaining contract, but they should be able to get an asset in return thanks to Pham’s insanely hot stretch dating all the way back to the end of May. He should be able to help a contender as a platoon player, everyday outfielder, or a designated hitter.
Max Scherzer & Justin Verlander
If you ask me, this is where we start to get far-fetched. Believe it or not, I’m not sure how much any contending team wants Max Scherzer right now — he’s been inconsistent and has struggled for a majority of this season, and is now far likelier than not to opt-in to his $40 million player option for next season. The Mets are willing to eat contracts to get better prospect returns, but even they’re not going to pay up to $60 million to get rid of Scherzer.
At that same rate, it’s why Justin Verlander is also very unlikely to be moved. Unlike Max, Verlander is guaranteed to be under contract for over $40 million next season which makes him incredibly difficult to trade. And while Verlander has struggled, as well, the Mets still do need to field a team next season, where they are going to look to be competitive. If they actually were to move Scherzer, trading Verlander would make less sense considering the monetary cost they’d have to pay to get rid of him and the cost of finding his replacement.
The only reason this section is even in here is because the New York Post recently wrote that Jeff McNeil could potentially be available, and to that I call bullshit.
This has not been a good season for McNeil — he’s gone from reigning National League batting champion to an inconsistent singles hitter that isn’t hitting nearly for the average that we’re all accustomed to. That being said, he’s still an important part of the Mets core now and going forward.
The organization just signed him to a four-year extension this past offseason, so I don’t see where it makes any sense to deal him just four months in because the team hasn’t performed well. That is a long-term decision based on short-term results, something that most teams aren’t foolish enough to act on. Sure, if a team calls and offers the Mets a king’s ransom they would be wise to listen, but with McNeil’s value at a low point, I wouldn’t count on that happening.
Adam Ottavino (3.72 ERA) has not had the best season, but could be a buy-low bullpen option for other teams.
Mark Canha (0.7 fWAR) is another veteran having a down year that could be moved if there was any interest because of his expiring contract.
Unfortunately, there truly aren’t a lot of viable options for the Mets to sell off this season. Most of their roster has underperformed, which is why they’re in this position in the first place, and a lot of their players that would hold any significant value are not on expiring deals.