While I think the Mets will entertain trade talks, I still believe they're better positioned to go after some of those B-level (read: not Josh Hamilton) free agents. I say that for two reasons: 1) The system isn't ready to fetch a big return. They're in the process of building a feeder system, and they haven't stockpiled enough talent in the organization yet to make big trades. Therefore, the prospect pool is a little too top heavy (meaning there are players the Mets hope will contribute soon like Zack Wheeler, Jeurys Familia, Jenrry Mejia) and the players who are further away in their development (Wilmer Flores and their recent draft picks of Brandon Nimmo and Gavin Cecchini). There aren't enough expendable parts. That means any trade would take away from, what they hope would be, their future core, and I don't know how much of a return one of their mid-echelon prospects (someone like Matt den Dekker) would fetch. Probably not anything significant enough to make an impact on Major League lineup.
2) The team really isn't ready yet. Until they get David Wright and R.A. Dickey locked up to contract extensions, the timeline for contention is very much in flux. If two veterans like Wright and Dickey are on board long-term, the Mets know that the urgency to win is a bit more immediate than should one or both of those players leave. If they can lock them in, and Wheeler and Matt Harvey continue to develop at their current pace, I think the Mets could end up being more aggressive in the trade market at the 2013 deadline.
It's all conjecture, but if I had to name some players that I would think the Mets will explore this offseason, I would guess free agent-to-be B.J. Upton. Maybe the third year arbitration eligible Delmon Young, who could provide affordable right handed punch to a line up that sorely needs it. Based on the rumors surrounding his recent contract demands, I would be shocked if they were interested in Nick Swisher. And as I type this, I'm not even sure it would make sense, but could they kick the tires on Ichiro? I'm sure they'd love the opportunity to pencil someone in every day at lead off and bat Ruben Tejada second, although Ichiro doesn't walk enough to justify what could be a bloated price tag, especially at this point in his career.
Here's the thing: whether people want to flat out say it or not, this has been a rebuild. And I think the organization has to tread very carefully around the idea of quick fixes. There's a reason fans, members of the media, and even most of the 1986 championship team themselves consider the Gary Carter trade to be the move that put them over the top. It was the right move for the right player, who filled the team's needs both on the field and in the clubhouse, and it came at the perfect time. If the Mets are going to swap anything from this system as it's currently constructed, I think it may be further down the line when all they are is one piece away. And by then, the organization will have had a little bit more time than they may be in better position to do that.