It’s been a season to forget for the Mets, who are languishing under .500 as the All-Star break approaches. They are far back in the playoff hunt, and GM Sandy Alderson has declared his team to be “open for business,” meaning some big names could be on the move at the end of the month. Here’s an early look at how next year’s roster might shape up after a potential house-cleaning.
Rotation: Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz, Matt Harvey, Seth Lugo, Zack Wheeler
The Mets probably won’t deal away a starter, and the upcoming market for starting pitchers looks fairly thin (Jake Arrieta being the lone standout). The Mets’ philosophy under Alderson has been to build their rotation from within, so it seems improbable that they’d make a splash for someone like Jeremy Hellickson or Jason Vargas. Injuries and a (overtly but not officially) juiced ball have made the Mets’ starters look much worse than they really are. Remember this unit played a substantial part in the Mets’ 2015 postseason run.
Bullpen: Joe Smith, Jeurys Familia, Jerry Blevins, Robert Gsellman, et al.
It’s often said that the most superfluous player on a bad team is a good closer, so that makes Addison Reed a trade candidate as his contract is due to expire. He could be dealt away as a rental before returning, ala Aroldis Chapman, but the Mets are usually hesitant to shell out lucrative contracts to relief pitchers.
Former Met Joe Smith could be available in a potentially crowded market for relievers, which may drive his asking price down. He was having a fantastic year for the Blue Jays as the set-up man (3.41 ERA in 31.2 IP) until a shoulder injury sent him to the DL on June 19.
Infield: Dominic Smith, Amed Rosario, Neil Walker, Yunel Escobar
The Mets’ infield could see a drastic overhaul, as Asdrubal Cabrera, Neil Walker, Lucas Duda and Jose Reyes have expiring contracts. With all four showing varying degrees of age catching up to them, it could be an opportune time for the Mets to get younger. Shortstop Amed Rosario and first baseman Dominic Smith are among the top prospects in the organization, and they should get a chance to shine in 2018. Both are hitting well in Triple-A Las Vegas this year.
Yunel Escobar could be a relatively inexpensive open-market pickup. He’s playing well in a contract year (.289/.350/.415) and the Mets were rumored to be interested in the Angels’ third baseman at last year’s deadline.
Neil Walker might be the lone holdover, as there were talks regarding an extension before the 2017 season began. Wilmer Flores and T.J. Rivera add some much-needed depth to the roster.
Outfield: Yoenis Cespedes, Michael Conforto, Lorenzo Cain
Curtis Granderson and Jay Bruce are prime candidates to be dealt away for prospects at the deadline. If the Mets were to make a splash in the offseason, Lorenzo Cain would be an inspired choice and an upgrade over Juan Lagares in center. Yoenis Cespedes and Michael Conforto, the best pair of bats in the order, would occupy the corner spots.
Catcher: Rene Rivera
The Mets would be wise to move on from the injury-prone and defensively-challenged Travis d’Arnaud. Rene Rivera has been a serviceable backstop and deserves consideration as the everyday catcher in 2018. He would hold the line until highly-touted prospect Tomas Nido, currently in Double-A, is ready for a call-up. Kevin Plawecki should make the team as a backup.