With the MLB trade deadline rapidly approaching four days from now, Mets general manager Zack Scott is mainly focused on adding to the pitching staff.
"We need to make sure we put our best foot forward in terms of getting pitching depth," said Scott ahead of the Mets' doubleheader with the Braves on Monday. "Adding Rich (Hill) definitely helps, but I still think we need to improve and just have more depth there."
The Mets have lost a number of starters to the IL, including their ace Jacob deGrom (right forearm tightness), which has created several holes and uncertainties in their rotation. And while deGrom and Carlos Carrasco (torn hamstring) appear to be nearing a return, Scott has been with teams in the past, who have unraveled due to injuries in the rotation, and he doesn't plan on allowing that to happen with the Mets.
As Scott also mentioned, the market is dependent on cost acquisition, which will be lower for rental players. But at the same time, trade targets with additional years of control can be more valuable because they can help the team in future seasons. However, they will obviously cost more to acquire.
The GM went on to confirm his willingness to trade within the NL East division, but fully expects there to be a "division tax" that comes along with making these kinds of deals with their rivals.
One name, who comes to mind is Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer. The soon-to-be 37-year-old is making $27 million this year in the last year of his deal, and would be the best starting pitcher on the market if he is available. Although the Mets are expected to inquire about him, per SNY, it appears unlikely that these two teams would make this trade, especially if there is a "division tax," as Scott previously mentioned, which would make an already high price tag, even higher.
The Mets are also looking for bullpen help, and the Nationals are reportedly shopping two of their top relievers in closer Brad Hand, who the Mets just missed out on in the offseason, along with right-hander Daniel Hudson.
When thinking of additional starting pitchers that would provide depth, Cubs right-hander Zach Davies could be another target for the Mets. And coincidentally, his teammate and third baseman Kris Bryant is also a rental, and could potentially be packaged in a trade with Davies. This would qualify for the "big splash" that the Mets are looking to make, as previously reported by Inside the Mets.
The Mets' offense has come around since the All-Star break, averaging 5.6 runs in their last nine games since play resumed. But this isn't going to stop Scott from making a move for a bat if it will improve the club.
"I don't think we should be afraid to make moves that improve our club," he said. "We are looking to upgrade the team in anyway possible."
Scott acknowledged the fact that some of the players have picked things up offensively as of late, and said that he will weigh whether acquiring a specific bat will upgrade their lineup, based on who that new addition would be replacing.
According to Scott, making the playoffs, winning the division and making it to the World Series are the ultimate goals in mind when making these trades at the deadline. By making the team better via outside moves, Scott believes these goals will be achieved.
Lastly, Scott sees deGrom returning from the IL soon, and making an impact for the Mets moving forward. He also revealed that shortstop Francisco Lindor (strained oblique) is still 3-5 weeks away from returning from the IL, which would put his potential return date closer to the end of August.
As for Noah Syndergaard (right elbow inflammation), the Mets still expect him back in September. And Scott mentioned him as a candidate to contribute as a starter or reliever. While the Mets are projecting him to make it back this season, Scott says they plan on operating as if he won't return, in order to make the team deeper and stronger in the long run.