It's feeling like the Mets may be missing the moment to make a trade. Admittedly, I started today worried they may botch the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, end up stuck with pending free agents and lose out on acquiring prospects and players who could help next season.
However, after talking to people around baseball, I'm slightly less pessimistic.
For starters, according to Ken Rosenthal, Mets GM Sandy Alderson and the Mets are willing to include cash in trades to get better prospects back in deals, sources with knowledge of the team's thinking said.
This is good news. It'll help push things through. And, I'm glad Alderson was able to convince ownership of this approach when the front office held a strategy session earlier this week.
Aug 4, 2016; Bruce celebrates a three run home run with Granderson (Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
The way I've heard it, MLB insiders believe the Mets have been waiting for the J.D. Martinez's, Todd Frazier's, and David Robertson's of the world to be dealt before settling on an action plan, because Alderson's players are widely considered everyone's Plan B.
For instance, exiting the All Star break, Martinez was considered the top outfielder available on the trade market, followed by Melky Cabrera (White Sox), Jay Bruce, and Curtis Granderson (depending on if you want a left- or right-handed hitter). Now that Martinez is gone, I'd expect the White Sox and Mets to start hearing from the Cardinals, Dodgers, and Red Sox, among other teams.
Similarly, Robertson was viewed as the top reliever available, followed by Addison Reed and Pat Neshek (Phillies). Now that Robertson has been traded, the Mets will be justified in asking top dollar, whereas before -- with Robertson still available -- their asking price would have been viewed as silly.
The same can be said for Lucas Duda, who is considered the next-best first baseman available behind Yonder Alonso (A's) and Matt Adams (Braves).
In the end, I expect the Mets to end up dealing Reed, Bruce, and Duda, and maybe Granderson, while including cash and possibly Wilmer Flores or T.J. Rivera to round out each deal. I also expect them to eventually part ways with Jose Reyes and Asdrubal Cabrera, though their departures might have to wait until August.
Oct. 2015: Matz, Familia, Syndergaard and Harvey prepare for the World Series at Citi Field. Credit: USA Today
I have no idea what the plan is for Neil Walker, who has little value because he's missed so much time on the disabled list. But, I still think Alderson would like to re-sign him for next season, which was something the two sides discussed this past winter and in spring training.
The point is, this will be a significant 10 days in the future direction of the Mets. The way they handle this next week and a half could have a major impact on their ability to build on the success of their pitching staff and sustain winning beyond 2018.
In March, when full of hope and optimism, this is not what I expected to be writing during the last weeks of July. But, here we are. This is reality. And, if -- like me -- you still believe the Mets can win a World Series one day with Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, Michael Conforto, Yoenis Cespedes, David Wright, Walker, Amed Rosario, Dominic Smith, and Jeurys Familia, trading players away, freeing up money and acquiring prospects now is the only way to go.
Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) is the host of SNY's MetsBlog Q&ACast and the lead writer of MetsBlog.com, which he created in 2003. His new book, The New York Mets Fans' Bucket List, details 44 things every Mets fan should experience during their lifetime. To check it out, click here!