Ken Davidoff | New York Post- What a difference a week makes. What a difference a year makes. Now that their internal outlook has improved, the Mets’ external challenge remains sizable. In the National League competition for five postseason bids, they trail six teams, none of the six appears to be a pushover and all of them remain on the Mets’ schedule, including their next nine contests. The Mets stand at 40-37, on pace for an 84-78 record. The website Fangraphs currently gives the Mets a 44.5 percent chance at qualifying for the playoffs, ahead of the Giants’ 40.3 percent and behind the other five top contenders.
(Chris Soto: The team as constructed right now is still better than at least half of the teams in the National League solely because their pitching is among the best in baseball. However, as constructed, it's not enough to get past the serious playoff contenders. As we draw closer to the trade market truly developing, Sandy is going to have to add least 1 significant piece to help this lineup start producing again. All we need is 3 runs a night....is that so hard to ask for?)
J.P. Pelzman | NJ Advance Media- The team plans to activate Daniel Murphy (strained left quadriceps) from the disabled list before the beginning of a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs at Citi Field. Murphy, who has played second base for most of his tenure with the Mets, will move to third. He could be there for awhile, considering it’s still unclear if and when third baseman David Wright will return. “I’ve said from the start,” Collins said when asked about Flores’ defense, “this kid played fine at shortstop. He made a couple of errors that cost us a couple of runs at times. But I’ve looked at the [rest of the] league and he caught the baseball” for the most part.
(Chris Soto: I'm not sure what took the team so long to switch to this configuration in the first place. Flores has cost the team as many runs defensively as he has gained them offensively, maybe more. Sliding Murphy into 3B, shifting Tejada to SS, and Flores to 2B improves the team defense significantly. Tejada and Flores have also shown that they could be a solid double play combo with Tejada's quick feeds and Flores' quick turns. Lets not forget that Murphy displacing Herrera in the batting order should also significant improve the team's offensive output too.)
John Delcos | NY Mets Report- With the emergence of Steven Matz, expect the Mets to ratchet up their intent to trade from their pitching depth to bolster their anemic offense. Of the the four the Mets most want to trade, Niese has the greatest upside to bring in a bat. Niese, is left-handed, seemingly healthy, signed to a reasonable contract and has had some degree of success. Niese’s career record is 55-58, but with a respectable 3.89 ERA and average 1.368 WHIP. Niese will make $7 million this year, which means roughly a $3.5 million investment for the remainder of this year. Niese will earn $9 million in 2016; $10 million for 2017; and $11 million in 2018. Those are palatable salaries, and making it more attractive is the final two years have team options.
(Chris Soto: From a money standpoint, Niese's contract is not a going to be a significant hold up point. A team is really only going to be reasonable for the $3.5M rest of 2015 salary and the $9M in 2016 as they can just not elect to take the TEAM options in 2017 and 2018. When you consider that Niese has similar numbers to the Red Sox Rick Porcello who is making $20M per season now....it turns out to be a pretty solid contract. The true question is what kind of a bat can Niese bring? Over the past 4 years he has been worth +2.6, +2.6, +2.0, +2.3 WAR so you can reasonable say he's worth 2.5 wins per season. So when your looking at potential bats targets....use this barometer as a guidepost.)
D.J. Short | Hardball Talk- It was reported over the weekend that the Dodgers and Cubs were among the teams with interest in a trade for Mets left-hander Jon Niese. While the southpaw is a logical target for both teams, a match with the Dodgers isn’t considered imminent. Nothing too surprising here, as teams are likely still in the early stages of evaluating the starting pitcher market. Cole Hamels, Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija and Scott Kazmir are among the big names that could be dealt, so Niese falls into the secondary category with the likes of Mike Leake, Matt Garza, Kyle Lohse, Mat Latos, and Dan Haren. With questions in the back-end of their rotation, the Dodgers will be active.
(Chris Soto: The trade market is beginning to finally let off some smoke as we get closer to July. It should eventually spark and catch fire in about 2 more weeks as we get closer to the All-Star break. When looking at the Dodgers, you don't really see a natural fit for a trade. The Mets need a 3B or a SS of which the Dodgers have Alex Guerrero and Jimmy Rollins available. Neither of those guys are really attractive options. Rollins has been terrible offensively and has lost a step defensively costing the team -4 Defensive Runs. Meanwhile while Alex Guerrero's bat is nice, he is a terrible defender at any position and has an opt out clause if he is traded by the Dodgers.)