David Hong | Metsmerized Online- Despite some of the worst ranked outfield production in majors, the Mets are not expected to acquire an outfielder before the July 31 trade deadline. [According to team insiders] if the Mets make any move by the Trade Deadline, it will most likely come at either shortstop, or to acquire a versatile starting player or a bench player. The front office views the shortstop position and their bench as their biggest weakness. So the plan is for the Mets to keep their fingers crossed and hope for a big second half rebound from Michael Cuddyer and Juan Lagares, and at least a little more improvement from Curtis Granderson.
(Chris Soto: I've been saying this for a few weeks now. Don't expect the Mets to add another OF to the fold for the simple fact that, if they so choose, the club will not want to block a potential Michael Conforto promotion to help with a playoff push. While it makes a ton of sense to platoon Cuddyer and Granderson, such a move would tie up $24.5M in RF. Such a large hit at 1 position would only make sense if the other corner was being manned by a stud prospect making the league minimum [wink, wink], not another $12M body.)
Kristie Ackert | NY Daily News- Terry Collins grumbled Sunday that the Mets were not happy to go into the All-Star break just five games above .500 (52-47) and two games behind the Nats in the NL East. The Mets manager felt they should be in better shape, but looking at what he had to work with, his club is not in a bad place to start the second half. Consider, the Mets lost the anchor of their lineup (Wright), their most dangerous bat (d’Arnaud), their most reliable hitter (Murphy), and lefty specialist (Blevins) to injury. Still, they enter the second half with a very good chance to end a run of six straight losing seasons and still have the Nationals and their much talked-about playoff prospects within their sights.
(Chris Soto: Panic City ,Sandy new description of the Mets fan base, doesn't how much worse the 1st half of the season could have been for the Mets. Just look at 2 other team in the NL East for examples of what losing your cornerstone player can do to your season. The Atlanta Braves were actually threatening to drop the Mets to 3rd place at one point in the season but then Freddie Freeman went down and now they find themselves 5 games under .500. The Marlins didn't start the year with Jose Fernandez and the rotation struggled to pick up the slack. Once he finally did comeback, the club lost Giancarlo Stanton and the struggles continued. Now they find themselves 13 games under .500 with no hope in sight.)
Rich MacLeod | Just Mets- While his return from his current stint on the disabled list isn’t imminent, Travis d’Arnaud is progressing towards rehab games. Sidelined since June 20th with a sprained left elbow, the oft-injured Mets catcher has been making strides, working out at the team’s Port St. Lucie complex.
(Chris Soto: Speaking of injuries, here is more good news for the club. There is no question that the Mets line-up is so much better with d'Arnaud in it and hitting near the top of the order. No one has even come close to sniffing his 2015 OPS of .873 since he has been gone. If he and David Wright can finally come back healthy, and productive, that's like making a blockbuster trade in itself.)
Chris Soto | Trade Targets
Let's start taking a look at realistic trade targets that Sandy could possibly put together. We'll start in reverse standings order and climb the ladder a few teams at a time.
Cleveland Indians (42-46)- Two Weeks Ago: Prepping to sell NOW: Fighting for Wild Card
- Here is where we are going to run into problems in regards to trading for pieces to help with a playoff push. Over the past two weeks, the Houston Astros have been in a free-fall having lost 8 of their last 9 games. They lost their big young bat, George Springer, they lost their handle on 1st place in the AL West, and have fallen all the way to the 2nd wild card spot. So now, all 3 of the teams in today's review, are only 5.5 GB the Astros for a playoff spot! For the Cleveland Indians, they are already pretty much maxed out in terms of salary. The only way they will be able to improve their chances this season is to get better production from their current players or trade off one of their bad contracts in Brandon Moss or Michael Bourn and acquire a replacement OF in return. This is a scenario the Mets are unlikely to entertain.
Texas Rangers (42-46)- Fading but still with a chance for Wild Card
- For the Texas Rangers, as bad as the Houston Astros have been, they have been equally bad losing 8 of their last 10 games. Their normally good offense sputtered quite a bit in July but they still are in the Top 50% of the league in terms of OPS. The same can't be said of their pitching though. The Rangers SP is 20th in baseball in terms of ERA and they have the 3rd worst bullpen in the MLB. The Mets really aren't at liberty to provide bullpen help, but, they can provide some SP assistance. A ground ball heavy pitcher could help stabilize the Rangers rotation and provide some innings to help rest that weary bullpen which is currently among the leaders in total innings pitched.
- Trade Proposal: Mets send LHP Jon Niese for SS Hanser Alberto and LHP Yohander Mendez
- Reason: Niese is the perfect groundball type pitcher that can do well in Texas. Unlike the Mets, the Rangers can provide strong defense up the middle in Odor and Andrus that will keep Niese's WHIP down which drives his ERA as well. The Mets aren't going to get MLB help in exchange for Niese, but, what they can get is a SS that they are very familiar with in the PCL in Alberto. Hanser is a guy that K's less than 12% and did hit .250 is a small cup of coffee with Texas this season. Combine that with his .328 AVG in AAA this season and his strong defense at SS and you have yourself someone who is better than Tejada. (which isn't saying much). Mendez is more about projection than present and needs to add a lot of strength to his skinny 6-foot-4 frame, but he has the potential to become a legitimate lefty starter.
Chicago White Sox (41-45)- Still a chance, but prepping to sell and re-tool
- Like the Rangers and Indians, the White Sox are only 5.5 GB the 2nd wild card spot. They also entering the All-Star break pretty hot winning 7 of their last 10 games. Despite the favorable environment though, the White Sox are prepping themselves to be sellers this season opting to rather compete next year when more of their young superb talent is ready to contribute. Some sellable assets they have include RHP Jeff Samardzija, SS Alexei Ramirez, and UT Emilio Bonifacio. The Mets don't need Samardzija or Bonifacio but Ramirez could be an interesting add. He's had a terrible 2015 season so far, but, one can argue that he's had the worst luck so far and is a prime bounce back candidate.
- Trade Proposal: Mets send IF Matt Reynolds for SS Alexei Ramirez
- Reason: The old and rare 1 for 1 swap. Ramirez has no trade value right now, but, his Line Drive Rate, his Hard Hit Contact Ratio, K rate, BB rate, every saber metrical piece of data is in line to his 2014 season when he hit .273 with 15 HR and 21 SB. The Mets could surely afford $4M to give him a chance to bounce back and if he does, they would then hold a team option for him in 2016. As for the White Sox side, adding Reynolds would give them a young IF of Micah Johnson, Reynolds, and Tim Anderson to build around for the next 6 years. Not a bad play on their part.