According to ESPN.com's Buster Olney, Sandy Alderson and his staff deserve a B- grade for their work prior to Monday's July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
While the Mets were able deal Lucas Duda and Addison Reed for four pitching prospects, they did not trade away Neil Walker, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jay Bruce, or Curtis Granderson, all of whom are eligible to be free agents at the end of this season.
Bruce, 30, and Walker, 31, are both owed roughly $6 million for the remainder of 2017. Granderson, 36, is due around $5 million, and Cabrera, 31, who has an $8.5 million team option or $2 million buyout for next season, is owed roughly $2.5 million.
While July 31 is considered the "trade deadline," trades can and do happen through August via waivers, and the Mets will be looking to take advantage of this process.
Any trade candidates starting August 1 must go through waivers. When a player is placed on waivers, teams have the opportunity to claim him (teams with the worst records have priority). If a player is claimed, his current team has 48 hours to make a trade with the claiming team.
Otherwise, the current team can either pull the player off waivers completely (preventing him from being traded for the rest of the season) or let the claiming team have him with that team then responsible for his entire salary).
If no team claims a player, he "clears" waivers and then can be traded to any team at any time. Players acquired after August 31 are ineligible for postseason play, so it's rare for major leaguers to be traded in September.
Walker, Bruce, and Granderson, are all likely to be placed on waivers. They have enough left on their contracts to deter teams that aren't legitimately interested in a trade because any team placing a claim runs the risk of being on the hook for their remaining salary.
Cabrera will also likely be placed on waivers, but his relatively low-cost option for 2018 makes his case a little more complicated than his pending free agent teammates.
Because they always have the option of pulling players back, teams put a lot of players on waivers, including ones they have no interest in moving. Over the coming weeks, there will likely be reports of players like Yoenis Cespedes or Wilmer Flores going on waivers, but that doesn't mean the Mets are trying to trade them -- it's just a no-risk way to increase trade opportunities.
Recent Mets waiver trades in August have included pickups of Addison Reed and Fernando Salas in 2015 and 2016, respectively. Both were relatively minor trades at the time, acquired for career minor leaguers and fringe prospects.
The last time the Mets made a notable sale in August was when they moved John Buck and a resurgent Marlon Byrd to the Pirates in 2013, bringing back a teenaged Dilson Herrera and Vic Black, whose potential late-inning relief career has been derailed by injuries.
While neither Herrera or Black has had much of an impact at the major league level, Herrera brought Jay Bruce to the team and it was largely considered a good-to-excellent return at the time, particularly as there was no long-term cost to the Mets.
The whole waiver process is supposed to be anonymous, with both player names and team names withheld from the public, but rumors and insider reports abound and fans should expect a lot of buzz over the next four weeks.
High-impact moves are unlikely, but a deal along the lines of the Buck/Byrd trade has the potential to help fill out a farm system still weakened by all the minor leaguers Alderson traded in 2015 and 2016.
Maggie Wiggin (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Archive Posts) has been a Mets fan since birth and a MetsBlog contributor since 2013. She loves throwing hard and hitting hard and hates the DH. When baseball is out of season, she fills her days with data analysis and evaluation and patiently waits for Spring