Reports: Mets are 'open for business' and ready to sell at trade deadline
Mired in fourth place in the National League East and 10 games under .500, the Mets have apparently decided there's no use pretending any more. According to ESPN's Buster Olney, the team will be sellers at the trade deadline, with an emphasis on moving veteran players and free-agents-to-be amid what's turned into a lost season.
Sources: Mets open for business now, willing to listen to offers for Granderson, Addison Reed, Bruce, Cabrera, etc. Far behind in races.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) June 23, 2017
Currently 31–41, the Mets have been sunk by injuries and poor performance, particularly in the rotation. Both Noah Syndergaard and Matt Harvey are currently on the disabled list, with the former still several weeks away from returning due to a torn lat muscle suffered in May and the latter having pitched miserably (a 5.25 ERA and 82 ERA+ in 70 1/3 innings) before being sidelined with a stress injury in his right shoulder that has him out indefinitely. New York has also weathered stretches without Yoenis Cespedes, Asdrubal Cabrera, Lucas Duda, Neil Walker, Zack Wheeler, Steven Matz and Jeurys Familia, who is likely out for the rest of the season after undergoing shoulder surgery earlier this month.
Trailing the Nationals by 12 games in the division and even further out of the wild-card race, it makes sense for the Mets to pack it in, given how poorly the team has played as of late and how many problems it faces, including a depleted rotation, an overworked bullpen, and an infield wracked by injuries. The final nails in the coffin apparently came courtesy the Dodgers, who humiliated the Mets in a four-game sweep this week by bashing 15 homers—a new club record for a series—against New York's horrible pitching staff, whose collective 5.07 ERA is the third worst in the majors.
Of the four players Olney notes in his tweet as being available, all are veterans, with Reed, Granderson and Bruce free agents after the year and Cabrera on a team option for 2018. Reed has filled in at closer for Familia and picked up 11 saves with a 2.72 ERA in 36 1/3 innings. The 36-year-old Granderson struggled to start the season and is hitting just .225/.315/.437 with nine homers and 27 RBIs on the year, though he's turned things around in June, hitting .313/.450/.688 with five home runs on the month. Bruce got off to a torrid start and is sitting on a .269/.340/.541 line with 19 home runs. Cabrera is currently on the DL with a thumb injury and hasn't hit much so far, with a .244/.321/.392 line on the season. Any trade of him would likely be to open up time at shortstop for top prospect Amed Rosario.
Along with the aforementioned quartet, other Mets will likely become available as the summer goes on. Expect to see Duda, Walker and Jose Reyes also bandied about in trade talk, though Walker's back injury and Reyes' poor year will make it hard for New York to move them.
Regardless of who does get sent out of Queens, this is likely the right move for the Mets. The last time the team decided to sell off veterans, it dealt away defending NL Cy Young R.A. Dickey (after the 2012 season) and former franchise star Carlos Beltran (at the '11 trade deadline) for prospect packages that included Syndergaard, Wheeler and catcher Travis d'Arnaud. And while New York's current crop of older guys won't fetch that kind of return, keeping them around is unlikely to result in any kind of meaningful turnaround. With a young core of Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Michael Conforto and Rosario, the pieces are still there for the Mets to contend in the future; any prospects brought back in any deadline deals can only help.