With the MLB trade deadline drawing near, the Mets are running out of time to make a move that would put them over the top and into the playoffs for the first time since 2006.
You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who watches or covers the Mets that doesn’t believe that the Mets need to acquire some offense. The numbers are damning; the Mets rank 29th in baseball in runs scored, just a handful of runs ahead of the anemic White Sox. And the Mets rank absolutely last in baseball in batting average at .234.
There are plenty of names that have popped up in the rumor mill for the past few weeks; the Mets have allegedly expressed interest in Jean Segura, Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Gomez of the Brewers, as well as Oakland's Ben Zobrist, the Reds’ Jay Bruce, and the Padres’ Justin Upton. Because of the bevy of solid players that the Mets have available to them, GM Sandy Alderson’s tentativeness to strike a deal this month has bewildered many.
There are a few complicating factors, however, the biggest one of all being the health (or lack thereof) of David Wright. Ramirez, since he has already announced that he plans to retire after this season, would be a good rental player for the Mets to pick up. But if Wright were to return, Ramirez would be relegated to the bench, since both of them can only play third base.
Then there is the continuing saga of Michael Cuddyer. For weeks there has been speculation on whether or not he’ll have to go on the DL with a lingering knee issue. He’s missed several games already and has been alternating starts with pinch-hit appearances since the All-Star break ended. Cuddyer has told reporters that his knee swells up so much that he can’t run bases at the end of the game. This worrisome issue has forced the Mets to use retreads like John Mayberry and Kirk Nieuwenhuis with regularity in the outfield, and that is unacceptable (and unrealistic) for a team that has postseason aspirations. Many have suggested that top prospect Michael Conforto be called up to give this offense a shot in the arm, but it’s unrealistic to assume that a player in Double-A will turn the Mets around.
Upton could be offered as a rental to replace Cuddyer since he will be a free agent after this season. Bruce is being dangled by the Reds as they realize their season is lost, and he’s hitting .340 with three homers in the month of July. Then there is the five-tool Gomez, who the Brewers might part with for the right price. Zobrist, of the A’s, could play nearly any position the Mets asked him to, so he’s unlikely to rot away on the bench should everyone become healthy again.
Alderson has frequently shown hesitation when it comes to parting with pitching prospects, but he has to be willing to deal someone from the “Big Four” (Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz or Noah Syndergaard) if the team is to be meaningfully improved with someone like Gomez or Bruce. As it stands right now, the talent of the Mets pitching staff is being wasted as the Mets’ bats continue to struggle.