With the Mets’ 7-2 loss to the Phillies on Friday night, combined with the Braves win over the Nationals, the Mets are now eight and half games back of the wild card race. The window to remain a competitive club is narrowing with each game.
Friday’s loss was a grim reminder of how much the Mets are behind the ‘8 ball’ in their quest to see if they are truly a playoff contender. The gaps between the Mets and the Phillies are unfortunately evident. The Mets didn’t even lose to one of the Phillies vaunted ‘aces,’ as rookie Vance Worley got the best of them on Friday.
No one should be ready to jump off the Verrazano Bridge just yet, but the trade winds are blowing and the Mets could find themselves getting swept up in them.
Obviously, the number one target for such trades is Carlos Beltran. Beltran, who homered on Friday night, is improving his stock with each day. If the Mets become sellers, it all starts, of course, with Beltran.
But does it end there?
The only players I envision the Mets holding on to for sure at this point are the following: Jose Reyes, David Wright, Ike Davis, Jonathon Niese, and perhaps Daniel Murphy and Angel Pagan. Bobby Parnell and Pedro Beato also make sense to keep because of their low salaries and high upside.
It’s not that these guys are untouchable, but, for the most part they are young, affordable or are part of a core that the Mets can build a team around. In other words, there is no reason to trade them.
I truly believe Reyes will stick around for at least until the end of the season, if not for two reasons. One, I think we can all agree the Mets would never get fair value for Reyes on the trade market as he could end up just being a rental player. Two, Sandy Alderson has seen up close what Reyes means to this team and its fans. Alderson will do his best to keep Reyes in town and happy.
If in fact the Mets do become sellers, it is not out of the realm of possibility that they would explore ways to deal guys like R.A. Dickey, Mike Pelfrey, Chris Capuano and Jason Bay, not to mention Jason Isringhausen and Tim Byrdak (who have previously been mentioned in trade talks).
Actually let’s scratch Bay off that list. There is absolutely no way a team would take on the underachieving Bay and his immovable contract, unless the Mets eat part of his contract, which is not likely to happen.
That leaves three-fifth’s of the Mets’ starting rotation possibly on the block.
Would any Mets’ fan really shed a tear if Pelfrey, Dickey and Capuano bolted town?
Certainly, Dickey is a fan favorite and a solid rock in the rotation, but do remember the guy is 36-years-old. At some point the Mets have to think long term.
Pelfrey has been maddeningly inconsistent and has disappointed many in his tenure in Queens.
While Capuano has pitched well this season, there is hardly any sentimental attachment to a solid rotation arm who’s only been part of the team for three months.
What Dickey, Pelfrey and Capuano have going for them is the fact that their contracts are more than affordable to a team in need of a little pitching help. All of the above make less than $4 million a year, which is a bargain in this day and age.
I don’t know what kind of haul these pitchers can bring in, but it’s obvious Alderson has a plan to build the Mets in his own inventive fashion. Alderson wants to get younger, and if the Mets are out of it (which is the only basis for this article-if the Mets, say, go on a 10-game winning streak then all bets are off) then this is the route he should take.
With 92 games down, it will be the next 10-20 that will define the course the Mets will take. It’s sink or swim time.