5:56pm: Unhappy about being bumped to second base upon his activation today, Cabrera says he has asked to be traded. (Video via MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, on Twitter.) He also suggested he indicated a willingness to move to another part of the diamond earlier in the year if the team would pick up his 2018 option, but the Mets weren’t interested (via another DiComo tweet).
2:14pm: The Mets are “open for business now,” in the words of ESPN.com’s Buster Olney (via Twitter), whose report suggests the organization is preparing to throw in the towel on a snakebitten season. Per Olney, the Mets are amenable to dealing away a variety of veteran assets.
As things stand, New York is buried a dozen games back of the division-leading Nationals and yet further out of a largely uncompetitive NL Wild Card race. With several of the organization’s best players on the DL (or otherwise battling injuries or performance issues), it’s hard to see a path to the postseason.
Among the players that could be marketed, per Olney, are outfielders Curtis Granderson and Jay Bruce, infielder Asdrubal Cabrera, and reliever Addison Reed. There are other older players on short-term contracts, too, who will presumably be shopped. First baseman Lucas Duda and southpaw Jerry Blevins appear to be the most likely additional trade candidates on the roster, with veteran infielder Jose Reyes perhaps also being a possibility (though he has struggled). Second baseman Neil Walker would also be an option, at least once he’s back from the DL.
None of those players seem like plausible candidates to receive qualifying offers, so the Mets will need to cash them in over the next five weeks or let them walk for nothing. It’ll be interesting to see just how the deadline develops for the Mets, who have been in the postseason in each of the past two seasons and came into 2017 with high expectations. Despite the step back this year, the club will no doubt still be looking to field a competitive roster next year. That stance could shape the club’s approach to the deadline.
New York will be looking for answers at several positions next year. Third base remains an open question with David Wright still unavailable and Reyes slated to return to free agency, while it’s still unclear whether the team will exercise its option over Cabrera. Even if top prospect Amed Rosario steps in at short, Cabrera could conceivably take over at second for the departing Walker or even slide over to the hot corner. It’s possible that youngster Domonic Smith could take over for Duda at first, though otherwise that’s another area with questions.
There are a few internal options on hand, of course, in addition to Rosario and Smith. Wilmer Flores could slot in at a variety of infield spots and there are some other young infielders on the 40-man. In the outfield, Michael Conforto will handle everyday duties opposite Yoenis Cespedes, likely leaving Brandon Nimmo (or some outside alternative) to platoon with Juan Lagares in center. And while there’ll inevitably be some holes to patch in terms of pitching, the rotation ought to be set (knock on wood) and the bullpen will welcome back Jeurys Familia as the closer. Blevins could also be retained to represent a lefty setup man, as he’s controllable via option.