Ken Rosenthal's report Monday for The Athletic, which stated the Mets are essentially listening to trade offers for all of their players, is important.
It's not important because it means every player on the team is about to be traded. However, it signals to us and the market with one shot that GM Sandy Alderson is thinking long-term and not just about 2018.
The Mets could spend several days connecting by phone or messaging with every front office to inform them of their willingness to deal, but launching a bomb through Rosenthal is more efficient.
For now, expect the Mets to find themselves fielding phone calls and having back-channel talks with front office staffers across the entire league.
By doing this, they accomplish three things, not all of which are immediately exciting...
- Alderson and his staff will become very educated on other team needs and how those respective organizations value their assets, which in turn can help the Mets value their own players as well as this winter's free-agent class.
- It can help lay initial groundwork for future trade negotiations, some of which may not get revisited until the offseason.
- Who knows, maybe a team currently interested in one of Alderson's seemingly untouchable players has a chance to swing a deal that is too good to refuse -- and a deal never expected to be make gets made. You never know, and it can't hurt to have conversations about everyone...
Based on my own conversations the last few months with people that work in baseball, including reporters, it sounds to me like the following teams will be interested in the following positions, all of which the Mets could fill depending on how many players they want to trade...
- There are close to a dozen teams looking for a front-end starting pitcher, including the D-backs, Mariners, Angels, Rockies, Yankees, and Brewers.
- There are roughly six or so teams looking to add an elite reliever, specifically the Astros and Angels and, until recently, the Nationals, who are acquiring Kelvin Herrera.
- There is again decent demand as far as teams looking for utility infielders, including the Brewers, D-backs, Indians, Dodgers, Cardinals, Astros, and probably the Yankees.
- However, there are only a small group of teams looking to add a corner infielder, including the D-backs, Rockies, Cardinals, and maybe Yankees.
In terms of the type of talent level being sought after, according to multiple surveys of insiders since early May, most every team is beginning to put extra value on...
- Efficient starting pitchers, not necessarily just young power arms.
- Experienced relievers that can enter high-leverage situations (with men on base) at any point in the game, and.
- Guys with short swings, who draw walks, don't swing at pitches out of the strike zone, put the ball in play and "keep the line moving."
Therefore, based on the above, and based on gauging values from MLB insiders, it's looking like Jeurys Familia, Zack Wheeler, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Todd Frazier are Alderson's best shot at acquiring multiple prospects with the hope that one of them can develop in to a stud.
Otherwise, the above group of talent is more likely to only add depth to the farm system and not the upper-level, can't-miss firepower that most fans will be wanting.
The unavoidable truth is that, if Alderson wants to acquire more than one young, impact position player to use as soon as next season, he'll need to deal Noah Syndergaard or Jacob deGrom -- a possibility SNY's Andy Martino wrote about on Monday. Otherwise, there is no point in expecting him to fleece another team's system.
It seems that while deGrom may be more or less untouchable, the Mets might possibly consider trading Syndergaard, though it's not what they want to do.
Again, as I said yesterday, if Alderson is seriously open to dealing Syndergaard, I would love to see him wrangle in a third team to take Noah, while sending their best prospects to Miami so the Marlins can send catcher J.T. Realumto to the Mets. Because, if I'm dealing Syndergaard, I want someone with equal talent and experience that can help me at a a major weakness next season.
The other thing to consider if dealing Syndergaard -- and especially deGrom, who may be the most productive player in the the National League right now -- is that if Alderson botches the deal it could eventually get him fired and likely impact those around him.
The other vibe I get from speaking to team and rival insiders is that the Mets still think they can trade away veterans not named Syndergaard and deGrom, while adding depth to the farm system for the future, and yet still fight to claw their way back in to postseason contention with the players that do not get traded.
This may sound crazy and not at all reasonable, but it certainly is possible.
By trading Wheeler, Familia, Cabrera and possibly Frazier, it wouldn't pull from the center of the existing roster. In their wake, the Mets would still be able to field a lineup with Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, Amed Rosario, Wilmer Flores and Jay Bruce at first base, and Yoenis Cespedes (if he returns healthy). Similarly, they'll always be able to win at least two times every five days so long as Syndergaard and deGrom are still in the rotation.
The bullpen will be less effective without Familia, but perhaps this is a chance for someone else to step up, specifically a few of the young pitchers Alderson acquired during last season's sell-off.
Lastly, by talking with other teams and establishing a trove of information about the current and upcoming markets, Alderson's front office will hopefully be better prepared and able to start thinking sooner than later about how to improve next year's team.
Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) is lead writer of MetsBlog.com, which he created in 2003. He also hosts the MetsBlog Podcast, which you can subscribe to here. 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!