3:19pm: MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo tweets that while the Mets are indeed listening to offers, no deals should be expected in the short-term. Despite the recent run of poor play, the Mets will take another few weeks to see if they can turn things around before committing to a sale.
11:05am: With the Mets mired in an abysmal slump that has seen the team go 3-11 in the month of June, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports in his latest notes column (subscription required) that they’re “open for business.” While the Mets understandably prefer to hang onto controllable players like Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman and Jacob deGrom, Rosenthal notes that they’ll at the very least entertain offers for virtually anyone on the roster.
It’s been fewer than two weeks since Mets general manager Sandy Alderson called the chances of a major summer sell-off “very remote,” though Alderson admitted at the time of his comments that “circumstances could change” his stance. It’s perhaps telling that in the 13 days between the publication of those two stories, the Mets have gone just 3-8 and scored a paltry 25 runs in a span of 11 games. In the interim, they’ve seen Noah Syndergaard and Yoenis Cespedes suffer setbacks in their recoveries from injury and revealed that reliever AJ Ramos is weighing season-ending surgery to repair his ailing shoulder.
Of course, the two reports can also coexist without contradicting one another. Dealing some short-term pieces this summer would hardly constitute a “major” sell-off, after all. And, generally speaking, Alderson was speaking out against the possibility of a full tear-down more than he was against smaller trades around the margins of the 25-man roster.
While there’s been no shortage of speculation surrounding deGrom, there’s been little indication that the Mets would truly be open to moving their ace. In fact, Rosenthal goes so far as to write that the Mets would actually be more open to trading Syndergaard, who has an additional year of control, though that’s perhaps more a statement on their unwillingness to move deGrom than it is their willingness to part with Syndergaard. Clearly, either pitcher would require a trade partner to surrender an absolutely farm-gutting haul of talent if the Mets were to even consider budging. The Mets shouldn’t be expected to shop either player aggressively.
More realistic trade pieces would include impending free-agents Asdrubal Cabrera, Jeurys Familia and Devin Mesoraco. Struggling lefty Jerry Blevins has a lengthy track record despite poor results in 2018, and there’s time yet for him to right the ship and hold appeal to another organization. The Mets also have a number of intriguing players who are controlled only through the 2019 season, including Todd Frazier, Zack Wheeler, Anthony Swarzak and Wilmer Flores. As is the case with Blevins, lefty starter Jason Vargas has a solid track record but poor 2018 results to date, though he’s begun to turn things around of late (3.91 ERA, 23 strikeouts, seven walks in his past 23 innings).
Certainly, the focus of many readers will be on just what type of package it’d take to pry away one of the Mets’ two young aces, deGrom or Syndergaard, but it seems likelier that they’ll instead focus on moving shorter-term pieces. Rosenthal adds that, in particular, the Mets will be “motivated” to move Familia given that they’re not likely to make him a qualifying offer following the season. As such, they’d stand to lose him for nothing if he’s not dealt this summer.
Familia did just have a minimal stint on the DL for shoulder soreness, but if he can prove that to be a non-issue, he’d certainly hold appeal. He’s earning $7.925MM this season (with $4.45MM yet to be paid out) and has worked to a 2.70 ERA with 9.9 K/9, 3.0 BB/9, 0.3 HR/9 and a 48.8 percent ground-ball rate in 30 innings.