The Mets never expected to be in a selling position this year, but underperformance and a spate of significant injuries have destroyed any hopes of contention. Were it not for the runaway NL Wild Card race, New York might still have hope of staying in the hunt, but as things stand it seems quite likely they’ll move a few veterans.
Let’s see what’s in the cupboard for the Mets:
Addison Reed, RH Reliever | Salary: $7.75MM
Reed has completely turned his career around since landing in New York in 2015. He has given up a few more home runs this season than he did in his dominant 2016 campaign, but otherwise has been much the same pitcher. With 9.2 K/9 (13.9% swinging-strike rate) and just 1.2 BB/9, Reed is thriving even as he has lost half a tick on his average fastball velocity. It probably doesn’t hurt that he’s back to working in the closer’s role, too. All things considered, Reed is quite possibly the club’s biggest trade chip.
Jay Bruce, OF | Salary: $13MM
Bruce only just turned 30 and is posting a strong .270/.339/.543 slash on the season, with twenty long balls already in the bank through just seventy games. He doesn’t run like he used to, but Bruce has received positive defensive grades this year after several seasons of questionable glovework.
Curtis Granderson, OF | Salary: $15MM
That’s quite a lot of coin for a 36-year-old corner outfielder who’s only hitting near the league average. But Granderson can also still play some center and has gotten hotter and hotter at the plate as the season has progressed. The respected veteran could be quite a useful piece for the right team.
Lucas Duda, 1B | Salary: $7.25MM
If there’s enough demand, Duda could potentially bring back something interesting. He has returned to posting strong on-base and slugging numbers after a lost 2016 season, and would represent a middle-of-the-order bat for a contender.
Neil Walker, 2B | Salary: $17.2MM
If he can make it back from a hamstring tear before the deadline, Walker could draw real interest. The veteran remains a quality hitter and was on a tear when he got hurt. That said, demand doesn’t figure to be strong at second base, and the big salary will present an obstacle.
Fernando Salas, RH Reliever | Salary: $3MM
He seemed like a solid value after a strong finish last year with the Mets, but Salas has struggled badly in 2017. Teams may still take a shot since he’s generating strikeouts (9.9 per nine) with a 12.5% swinging-strike rate. While his walks are way up, Salas has been unfortunate to carry a 5.88 ERA; he’s being tagged for a .357 BABIP and has stranded just 64% of the runners to reach base against him.
Jose Reyes, INF | Salary: $535K
The meager salary is nice, but Reyes just isn’t producing. After turning in a solid part-year with the stick in 2016, Reyes currently owns a meager .191/.266/.323 batting line — due in some part, at least, to a .202 batting average on balls in play. Though he runs well, his defense is a bit shaky. With the stain of a domestic violence suspension also potentially a factor, it’s not clear that there’ll be any real market here.
Rene Rivera, C | Salary: $1.75MM
The 33-year-old is a respected defender who is slashing a respectable .268/.305/.423 over his 131 plate appearances on the year. While he’s obviously not the sort of player who’s going to draw a major return, he could hold appeal to a contending team in need of some depth behind the dish.
Controlled Through 2018
Jerry Blevins, LH Reliever | Salary: $5.5MM; $7MM club option ($1MM buyout) for 2018
Like Reed, the 33-year-old has never looked better than he has when pitching out of the Mets’ pen. He’s currently setting down 13.0 batters per nine via strikeout with a 14.1% swinging-strike rate that’s easily his personal best. Blevins is also hitting the zone much less frequently than usual while battling through a league-leading 39 appearances. His value is enhanced quite a bit by the reasonably priced option year; the Mets have plenty of leverage, too, since they’d no doubt like to have him at that rate.
Asdrubal Cabrera, INF | Salary: $8.25MM; $8.5MM club option ($2MM buyout) for 2018
After publicly requesting a trade and airing some complaints about the team’s handling of his move off of shortstop, it’s no longer clear that Cabrera is in the Mets’ 2018 plans. At the same time, he’s not exactly at the height of his appeal as a trade chip. While he’s still hitting in range of his typically slightly-above-average rate, Cabrera isn’t a great baserunner or defender.
It seems rather unlikely that the Mets will really go out looking for deals for any longer-term pieces, at least for core players such as Yoenis Cespedes and Jacob deGrom. Pitchers Josh Edgin, Hansel Robles, and Rafael Montero could conceivably end up changing hands, though none seem likely to be targeted by contenders. Juan Lagares could hold some appeal, but he’s probably slated for some kind of timeshare in center at Citi Field next season. It’s anyone’s guess just how things will turn out with Matt Harvey in the long run, but he’s on the DL at present with another fairly significant arm injury.