The New York Mets’ championship window was all-too-brief and already closed. Cheap owners, inept management and injuries galore have seen the Mets go from National League champions in 2015 to the worst team in baseball over the past six weeks.
Matt Harvey is already gone, Jacob deGrom’s Cy Young-worthy start to the 2018 season is being wasted and the Mets offense has gone missing, averaging 1.4 runs per game in their last four and 3.98 runs per game on the season. Only five teams have scored less, including the Baltimore Orioles, who are the worst team in baseball at 18-41.
Yet, they managed to come into Citi Field on Tuesday night and beat the hapless Mets 2-1 with shortstop Manny Machado providing one of those runs.
The Orioles star looks to be playing out his time in Baltimore at an MVP caliber, batting .326 with 18 home runs and 48 RBI. With his contract expiring at the end of the season, it’s unlikely that he will re-sign with the club, which means that a trade in the coming weeks is imminent.
Given the way they’re playing, it’s only a matter of time before some sort of shakeup rocks the Mets. It most likely will come in the form of selling off veteran players or expiring contracts for minimal returns, just like they did last year.
Or, Sandy Alderson could take a major gamble and pursue Machado.
The Mets have younger talent that Baltimore could be inclined to take. Amed Rosario has been slated as the team’s shortstop of the future and could provide the Orioles with a young replacement for Machado.
They could also sweeten the deal with a pitcher or two, possibly a name like Steven Matz, whose value is increasing after allowing two runs or fewer in five of his last six starts. Baltimore has the fifth-worst team ERA in the majors while the four arms that have started 10 or more games for them all have ERA’s over 4.46.
While the Mets run the risk of giving up too much for what could be nothing more than a rental, the possibility of pairing Machado with a healthy Yoenis Cespedes could thrust New York back into contention in the National League East. The promise of winning baseball could then sway Machado into signing a deal with the Mets in the offseason.
But they would have to act fast if any of this were to actually work.