As we’re a little over a week away from the All Star break, the Mets have been fluctuating around 4 to 8 games under .500, and have not been in striking distance of leading the division or a wild card spot since early April. To say the least, they have been a major disappointment. Expectations were high, but they have been underachievers all season, with fans waiting for them to break out of the funk.
Their low point was when they went in to Los Angeles to take on the Dodgers in a series that began on June 19th. The Mets had just lost 3 of 4 to the 1st place Washington Nationals, and they then dropped all 4 to the Dodgers, falling to a season high 10 games under .500. At this point, the feeling was the Mets would be sellers, and continue to fall. But, just when we all thought they were done, they have taken advantage of some weaker opponents in the Giants, Marlins, and now Phillies, and have since won 7 of 8.
So, should the Mets be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline come July 31st? They currently sit with a record of 37-42, and are 9.5 games out of 1st place and a wild card spot. The motto has been all year it’s a long season, give it some time. The Mets are currently making their last push to remain relevant and play meaningful games late in the summer. If they sit more than 10 games out of a playoff spot by the trade deadline, expect them to hear offers for veteran guys who might not be on the team next season including Jay Bruce, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Curtis Granderson. It would be logical for the Mets to at least listen to offers and maybe land some prospects, if it’s clear the season is a wash. But, if they are in the midst of a run, they should give their fans some excitement and stay put.
But, there is something very illogical the Mets should not do come July 31st, and that’s be major sellers. It would be disappointing if the team looks to move a guy like Jacob deGrom, who the Houston Astros are rumored to have interest in. Jacob deGrom is the ace of this staff, but in baseball we often see teams looking to the future. But, despite a disappointing season, it would be a shame if the Mets dumped all their young starting pitchers to try and start over again. Enough of that. Even if this year stays as is, the Mets can still build themselves into legitimate contenders come 2018. When we thought hitting would be their problem this year, it’s been just the opposite as the pitching has struggled. But, they’ve been getting better starts led by Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz lately.
So, the Mets should definitely listen to offers for veteran players come the trade deadline, but if they go on a run to be just 4 or 5 games out of a playoff spot by then, they should look to upgrade their team on July 31st. Fans are still hopeful that the starting pitching will come along, and this team will look more like a complete team. So, if they are still in the playoff hunt at the end of July, look for them to upgrade their bullpen, which is their weakest link. But, if the Mets tank and sell some of their core players that will be back with the team next year like deGrom or Matz, it’d be a shame and poorly planned. Baseball organizations get impatient. I still think the team needs to show some patience with their team going into next season. Hopefully next season their pitching staff will be as advertised (and healthy), and they will have some younger position players playing everyday including Michael Conforto and Ahmed Rosario. I don’t think this team should blow it up, as they were in the World Series in 2015 led by a very young pitching staff.
So, if you’re asking me if the Mets should buy or sell, I’d say I’m usually against blowing it up unless the team is landing a lot of promising young players. I don’t see there being much of a market for Jay Bruce, Asdrubal Cabrera, or Lucas Duda, but if they’re going to walk at the end of the year anyway, it may be in their best interest to trade them. But, for now in early July, I think the Mets should stay put, as they try to make 1 final push. I’ll let you know how I feel at the end of July, on how this team should assess their trade deadline situation. But the team needs to consider that much of their struggles this season have been led by injuries to key players.