The Mets have little to show for a largely atrocious season so far, but they do have one thing in great supply: pending free agents. The team will turn over half the starting lineup in the offseason, so expect trade rumors galore over the next six weeks.
GM Sandy Alderson has earned his reputation for generally getting value as a seller, so they could end up being one of the more active teams in baseball at the deadline.
So who should the Mets be looking to move?
To start with, who is not on the trade block? Neil Walker brings power to the middle infield, but his recent hamstring tear will likely zap his value (though a hot start off the DL could put him back in play for a waiver deal in August). Additionally, while Asdrubal Cabrera's 2018 option is no longer looking like the can't-miss bargain it was earlier in the season, it still should be appealing to a Mets team expecting a lot of youth and uncertainty in the infield, so they'll likely keep him rather than sell low.
Duda is having an excellent bounceback from an injury-shortened 2016 season, with an .892 OPS and above-average defense at first base. Since moving out of the outfield permanently in 2014, he has been a Top 10 first baseman in baseball and demonstrated consistent left-handed power, hitting for both home runs and doubles.
His main competition on the trade market will likely be Eric Hosmer, having a solid season after a dismal 2016 --though his ability to maintain a batting average on balls in play that is 30 points above his career mark should concern potential trade partners.
The most obvious landing spot for either Duda or Hosmer is the Yankees, who are right in the thick of a playoff race, but dealing with a glaring hole at 1B. While they hope the oft-injured Greg Bird will finally rise to expectations, more reliable production from that spot would make them the heavy favorites for the division.
Duda would have a field day hitting in Yankee stadium, a place where he could hit 40 bombs over a full season with one hand tied behind his back. Other teams with a need at 1B include the Rangers and Angels (well out of the division race, but right in the thick of a 12-team AL Wild Card scrum) as well as the Indians, who are gunning to exorcise the demons of their 2016 World Series disappointment.
A return for Duda could be interesting and is highly dependent on whether Hosmer hits the market with the Royals still somewhat in the race. A prospect near the bottom of the top 100 lists wouldn't be too far of a reach, especially if he maintains his solid season to date. Alderson may look to acquire a young reliever with team control or a high-ceiling/high-risk prospect in the low minors to deepen the system.
Jay Bruce (or Curtis Granderson)
Bruce and Granderson are on their way out at the end of the season, and while there's a chance Alderson will look to move both, a more likely outcome is that he holds on to one to fill out the lineup for the last few months of the season and provide some clubhouse leadership with an influx of young players expected. For the latter reason, and a somewhat lower trade value due to his age and a slow start, my money would be on Granderson staying put and Bruce on the block.
Though he's stumbled a bit since his blazing hot start, Bruce is sitting pretty with a career-best .881 OPS and 19 home runs, tied for 9th in MLB.
Granderson's numbers are far less impressive, with a .752 OPS for the season (his worst since 2014), but he's been pounding the ball since the start of May, putting up a .969 OPS in that span with a whopping .395 OBP. His WAR suffers from mediocre defensive numbers in center, but any acquiring team would be looking at him solely as a corner outfielder.
One suitor for either player would be the Rockies, who have a good grasp on a playoff spot but would love to overtake the Dodgers for the division title. Carlos Gonzalez is having an absolutely terrible season and with his contract expiring this year, the team may not want to wait it out to see if he bounces back in time to contribute.
The Blue Jays have had a merry-go-round in left field and the only decent player among them just went on the DL. With the AL Wild Card a complete toss-up and Jose Bautista not producing as they had hoped, a boost to their outfield could pay high dividends.
For a comparable trade, we need look no further than Jay Bruce, 2016 edition. The Reds netted Dilson Herrera for him, who at the time was just one year removed from an appearance on top prospect lists. 2017 Bruce is a more developed hitter than 2016 Bruce, but he lacks 2016 Bruce's additional year of team control. A near-top-100 prospect would be a solid get for either and a strong July combined with an AL Wild Card free-for-all could lead to a steal for the Mets.
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