Here's what I've learned during the last few weeks talking with insiders, scouts, fans and media -- in other markets, as well as with the Mets -- as to what we should expect in advance of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline...
The Really Big Bat...It's early, but my read on the Mets is that Sandy Alderson will spend more time this summer learning how to acquire a big bat this winter than he will spend time getting someone this July. In talks with insiders who know the market, it just doesn't sound like that level of a hitter will truly be available in the next three weeks, though he may be in three months...
I talked to a National League scout early this week who emphatically said the Mets have more than enough pitching prospects, along with one of their young catchers, to acquire a good, young position player to help their lineup today.
However, as is usually the case, every expert tells me that big-time, young hitters, under contract are far more likely to get dealt in the off-season than regular season.
For instance, the buzz from Miami continues to say the Marlins will do one of two things with Giancarlo Stanton this winter: They'll either sign him to a contract extension or deal him for the best three to four prospects they can find. But, there is no way he gets moved this summer.
That said, I'm sure Alderson will put feelers out to understand Stanton's value, as I expect he'll do with Rockies SS Troy Tulowitzki, who - like Stanton - is unlikely to get moved now, but almost certainly will be talked about again this winter. I still think Tulowitzki is Alderson's White Whale and I've heard from friends in Colorado that Jon Niese, Travis d'Arnaud and a top pitching prospect can get it done. But, we'll see... For what it's worth, the Yankees may love and can afford Tulowitzki, but they don't come close to having the players needed to acquire him.
I expect the Mets to knock on White Sox infielder Gordon Beckham, Rangers SS Elvis Andrus and OF Alex Rios, as well as D-Backs OF Gerrardo Parra and their closet full of shortstops, but I have no sense of whether they're affordable or truly available. Also, while I'm sure White Sox SS Alexei Ramirez will get mentioned in rumors, know that the Mets interest will be overstated and I don't think Chicago really wants to deal him, based on his price the last 12 months.