I wanna believe. But, despite what Mickey Callaway has told reporters, I know it's very unlikely the Mets will claw their way back into the Wild Card race.
Therefore, if Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen -- who addressed the media Friday -- concludes that the Mets will again finish with a losing record, he will give serious thought to trading more than just a few players this summer.
The fact is, while some on this roster helped get the Mets to a World Series in 2015, most were not part of that squad. And those that were on that team are either due for major increases in salary or they're about to be or will be free agents very soon.
As a result, in my view, Jacob deGrom, Michael Conforto, Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil are the four players Van Wagenen should build around when planning for the team's next run at a ring.
Pending free agents Zack Wheeler and Todd Frazier will almost certainly be traded no matter how Van Wagenen feels about how his team could play the rest of the season. I have no doubt he'd love to deal Wilson Ramos, Jason Vargas, Justin Wilson and maybe even Jeurys Familia.
On the other hand, Van Wagenen must make difficult and definitive decisions about the following eight players, only some of whom I would deal...
Seth Lugo is special. He's versatile and accepting of how he's used; he's got a terrific and unique curveball; he has outstanding self-awareness and three-plus more seasons before he's a free agent. He's also pitched well in high-leverage situations, and we know he can succeed in New York. He's exactly the type of pitcher that every team wants in a pennant race, which means he has significant trade value. However, given all of the above and knowing he can pitch well in Queens, are the exact reasons why he should stay in Queens.
Dominic Smith is boxed out of a job because of Alonso, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have a role on this roster. Smith has trade value. However, I believe he has more value to the Mets than what he'd bring back in any deal. Dom can hit. He's always been able to hit. He can also play a helluva first base. However, if he can also play some emergency corner outfield, and maybe hold his own at third base, he could be a very unique, versatile, left-handed bat off the bench who is capable of jacking a home run, drawing a walk or simply keeping a rally alive. Also, and maybe what's most important, he seems to have a special connection with Alonso, both of whom are weirdly supportive of one another considering how they were expected to be rivals. I would not break that up.
Brandon Nimmo is a unicorn. He can do so many things on the field and also do them with a smile. He may end up being a one-hit wonder. He may also end up being a folk hero in this town. He's hurt now, so he doesn't have much trade value. But when Van Wagenen one day begins to get calls about Nimmo's status, he should hang up. Nimmo's potential to build on his 4.4 WAR season in 2018, plus his potential to be an icon among Mets fans, is worth more than the mid-level prospect he'd bring back in any deal during the next 12 months.
Amed Rosario is full of talent. It was less than two years ago that he was considered by most publications as the top prospect in baseball. However, he's too much of a loose cannon on the field, at the plate and on the bases. He's got swag and will probably end up a star, I'm just not confident anymore that it will happen for him in New York. And, if the Mets do try him in center field and he's a bust there too, his trade value will plummet...
Robert Gsellman is very much like Lugo. There is room for two, but on a team in need of a new talent -- if I'm keeping Lugo -- I'm dealing Gsellman.
Trade him this winter...
Noah Syndergaard has everything needed to be the best pitcher in baseball. We've seen him do it, but we've also seen him lose himself and struggle to get it back. It's also difficult to believe he'll be one of the rare pitchers to always throw exceptionally hard and not need elbow or shoulder surgery before throwing 800 innings (he stands at 624). He's a free agent in two seasons; he's got a magnetic persona, a love for the spotlight and other teams want him. The problem is that he's having a down year, which has led me to hear teams being concerned about his health. If that's the case, Van Wagenen should deal him now if getting fair value, though he said Friday it's he fully expects him to be on the Mets roster for the rest of the season. Otherwise, he should hang on to Thor, hope he remains healthy, pitches well and aim to move him this winter.
Edwin Diaz has already proven he can be an elite closer by locking down 57 saves in 2018. Unfortunately, his success came in the quiet corner of Seattle, while here in New York he has struggled. Diaz is only 25 years old, though, he has pitched just 611.2 innings professionally and is arbitration eligible each of the next three seasons. In much of the same way the Mets convinced themselves he was worth acquiring this past winter, there is a better shot Van Wagenen convinces someone else to acquire him this winter. If he does, given his track record, control and potential, I bet an American League team will provide a nice return for him as soon as the season is done.
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!