With 23 days left until Opening Day, Met fans should become familiar with the current constructed 40-man roster. There are 148 days until the trade deadline, which means the club has quite a bit of time to evaluate players new, old and prospective onto the active roster. Barring an eleventh hour signing of a premium free agent such as Craig Kimbrel or Gio Gonzalez, it will likely be four months until a move is made to bring outside talent to their major league roster. In times of need, that puts players such as Devin Mesoraco, Dominic Smith, Daniel Zamora, Luis Guillorme, Corey Oswalt, or Gregor Blanco in a position to pinch hit, spot start or pitch in relief. But much like other contenders, the Mets (who have self-proclaimed their commitment to competing) will be looking to improve their roster as the trade deadline approaches.
By sorting through PECOTA’s projections for wins and losses, we can gather a well-educated sample size of potential sellers this season in an effort to play matchmaker. The list of teams in the American League who are projected to be out of the playoff hunt are the Blue Jays, Orioles, Royals, White Sox, Tigers, Athletics, Mariners and Rangers with Oakland leading the projection at 79 wins. In the National League, the Marlins, Pirates, Cubs, Diamondback and Giants all figure to be sellers by the trade deadline. From there we can sort through upcoming free agents, who profile as tradeable assets, to determine potential players as a match for the Mets.
It’s important to note that I’ve factored out the Padres, despite their projected number of wins to be 79, which is two below the Diamondbacks. I believe San Diego will not be sellers of major league talent after an offseason of spending. I’m also considering their minor league depth which can be traded to improve their roster. Below is an early look of some potential future New York Mets.
Nate Jones, Relief Pitcher – Chicago White Sox
There are higher profile names on the White Sox such as Jose Abreu, Ivan Nova and Yonder Alonso who may be available. However, Jones would be a solid fit for the Mets. The 33 year old right-hander has a strong K/9 and ERA+ over the last few season. He can slot into the Mets bullpen to further strengthen that unit which is critical for postseason success.
Detroit Tigers: Nicholas Castellanos, Third Base and Right Fielder
Castellanos grades as a poor defender, however there will be interest in him for his bat. The 130 OPS+ in 2018 is slightly inflated by a high OBP and above average .361 BABIP. But Castellanos should be a filler at the end of the bench for a contending team. He has already been tossed around in trade rumors throughout the winter and it’s a surprise that he wasn’t moved.
Oakland Athletics: Khris Davis, Outfielder
Four words come to mind: This Year’s Yoenis Cespedes. The Athletics seem to be in a forever rebuilding mode and have made deals with the Mets in the past. Davis has absolutely crushed opposing pitchers at a scary consistent rate with over 42 homeruns and exactly a .247 average in each of the last three seasons. The Mets cannot expect for Cespedes to play this season and an impact bat like Davis could provide the club with instant offense for a playoff push.
Seattle Mariners: Felix Hernandez, Starting Pitcher
This upcoming season feels like the end of Hernandez’ era in Seattle, as the dominant starting pitcher is at the conclusion of a seven year contract. Seattle has already shown their cards as a rebuilding franchise, which can be topped off with a huge haul for Hernandez. A move to the Mets seems unlikely given the strength of their rotation but Brodie Van Wagenen has surprised us before.
Francisco Cervelli, Catcher – Pittsburgh Pirates
The veteran catcher is entering the final year of his three year contract and is coming off a productive season at bat as well as an improved year behind the plate. He sported a 39% caught stealing rate, well above league average last season. The Mets currently employ three injury prone catchers in Wilson Ramos, Travis d’arnaud and Devin Mesoraco. If two were to go down, which is not out of the question, the Mets would be smart to pick up a veteran like Cervelli at the deadline.
We have seen that Brodie Van Wagenen is not afraid to shake things up and make deals; the trade for Diaz and Cano moved swiftly and aggressively. After an offseason of making ‘win-now’ moves and providing media tidbits of competing to win the NL East, Van Wagenen has positioned the club to invest further talent to the major league roster. I think that the Mets will need to make an impact move this season to keep up with the Phillies and Nationals. There are certainly a number of factors that will affect the club’s approach towards trading, including their record, health, minor league production and competition within the division. However, Met fans should be hopeful that they are playing meaningful baseball and considering exciting improvements to the club over the next few months.