The Mets will be pitched by teams looking to acquire Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard. However, despite all the buzz, I expect both pitchers will continue being Mets at least through the next two seasons.
Frankly, the only way I see either of these two pitchers being traded is if a new GM and front office takes the wheel. Otherwise, it's ride or die with deGrom and Syndergaard for Sandy Alderson.
Similarly, while there will be interest in (and it's worth listening to offers for) Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman, my hunch is Alderson would prefer to keep them as well -- especially given the delicate state of his rotation.
That said, the developing trade market should allow the Mets to deal Jeurys Familia, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Todd Frazier for what will essentially add depth to the farm system.
I expect Alderson's staff is already reaching out to teams expected to be looking for elite and mid-tier starting pitching, elite relief pitching, utility infielders, first basemen, and third basemen.
Who needs what?
According to MLB insiders, reporters, and friends in other markets, the D-backs, Mariners, Angels, Rockies, Yankees, and Brewers are looking for starting pitching, be it an ace or simply depth for their staff.
The Astros, Angels and (until recently) Nationals are expected to be most aggressive in looking for an experienced, high-leverage relief pitcher, such as Familia.
The Brewers, D-backs, Indians, Dodgers, Cardinals, and Astros have already been reaching out to teams expressing interest in utility infielders, and bench players, such as Cabrera.
Frazier has not regularly played first base since 2014, but could interest the D-backs, Rockies, Cardinals, Phillies, Indians, possibly the Giants, and maybe Yankees, all of whom are looking for corner infielders.
What is the market for Familia?
Alderson's best shot at acquiring another team's Top 10 prospect will be Familia, who is among the most experienced, best remaining late-game relievers on the trade market. Kelvin Herrera was recently dealt to the Nationals.
In addition to Familia and Mets LHP Jerry Blevins, Raisel Iglesias (Reds), Zach Britton (O's) and Kirby Yates, and Brad Hand (Padres) are expected to draw a good amount of interest.
Iglesias, in particular -- because of his age -- will hold a steep asking price, leading most insiders to assume he will instead be traded this winter.
To get Herrera, the Nationals traded three minor leaguers, none of whom were ranked among their system's top 10 prospects, according to MLB.com, who also did not rank the three young men among the league's Top 100 prospects.
However, with Herrera off the market, Iglesias not being moved, and other teams likely to join the Astros and Angels in the search for an elite reliever, Familia should at least net Alderson more than the Royals got for Herrera, according to people familiar with the reliever market.
As the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline gets closer, I'm told fair value for Familia will likely be one player from the back half of a team's Top 10 prospect list, as well as one or two lower ranking prospects.
The Angels are described to me as a perfect fit, especially since they were in on Herrera.
In regards to Blevins, teams will be interested, but with 28 relief pitchers having been traded last summer, it's nearly impossible to project what this mid- to lower-level reliever market will hold during the next four weeks...
The market for utility infielders, such as Cabrera
It was assumed A's 2B Jed Lowrie would be available as a rental player this summer, in addition to Cabrera, who is hitting .277 with 12 HR and can play shortstop, third and second base.
However, Lowrie is healthy and hitting well and the A's are a surprising 38-36 and rumored to be interested in acquiring O's 3B Manny Machado. It's hard to believe A's GM Billy Beane and his team ultimately catch the upper-tier teams in the American League, but his behavior and tactics have always been impossible to predict. There have been plenty of years when Beane has been both buyer and seller, and often is a buyer before quickly being a seller. So, again, who knows? The point is, if Lowrie is not available, Cabrera will clearly be more valuable.
Unfortunately for the Mets, while Cabrera's top line numbers and position availability look good, the reality is that he's hitting just .222 during the past month. He's picked it up of late, putting the ball in play more, while hitting one home run and driving in five runs this past week. However, how the A's play and how Cabrera hits in during the next few weeks will go a long way toward determining his ultimate trade value.
His most attractive qualities are his experience, ability to switch hit and do equally well against both left- and right-handed pitching. Nevertheless, according to market makers, he's not consistently productive enough to net more than a upward-trending, low-level prospect from a team's Top 30, such as a 24-year-old RH reliever Eric Hanhold, who was traded last summer by the Brewers to the Mets for Neil Walker.
What is the market for a corner infielder, such as Frazier?
The Phillies would be really good fit for Frazier, given his leadership and experience, but it'd be odd for the Mets to deal him to a division rival considering he's under contract next season.
In addition to Frazier, who is due roughly $5 million the rest of this season and due $9 million next year, it is expected that Mike Moustakas (Royals) will be very much available in trade as well. There will be teams interested in Jose Abreu (White Sox) and Adrian Beltre (Rangers), but they will not be easy to acquire.
Beltre is a legend at this point in his career, and he is hugely popular and highly respected in Texas. Out of respect for him, I suspect the Rangers would work with him on where he is traded, assuming he and they want him to be traded at all.
In the case of Abreu, it will cost a lot to get him. I've always heard the Sox were more likely to give him a contract extension that deal him before he's a free agent after next season. The Sox look like they'll be a young, exciting team in 2019, so there is plenty of reason for them to keep Abreu, who is essentially the captain of that squad.
In the event the Mets see interest in and decide to deal Frazier, he will not net much in trade. Market makers point to last year's deal for Granderson, during which the Mets acquired Jacob Rhame, who was barley a Top 30 prospect for the Dodgers at the time of the deal. And, frankly, to get even that much in trade the Mets will almost certainly need to pay down a large portion of Frazier's remaining contract.
Just out of curiosity, what's the market for elite starting pitchers?
Chris Archer (Rays), Cole Hamels (Rangers) and Danny Duffy (Royals) are getting a lot of attention. However, the hottest commodity right now is J.A. Happ (Blue Jays), who is due just $8 million the rest of this season.
Given current demand, MLB insiders say Happ will easily bring back a team's Top 10 prospect, who is also in the league's overall Top 100. And, if the Jays agree to pay most of his remaining salary, they'll be justified asking for a slightly better prospect.
Happ is a free agent after this season. DeGrom is under contract through 2020. In other words, given the projected return for Happ, it's understandable that the Mets would at least listen to trade offers for deGrom. In the end, I believe the Mets will keep deGrom and Syndergaard, but acquiring a team's elite prospect, who is probably in the overall Top 50, is worth considering, especially for an organization as weak on upper-level, impact prospects as the Mets.
So, what's the damage?
Based on the above, if the Mets were to find a match for Familia, Frazier, Blevins, and Cabrera, they'd likely add a one player from the back half of a team's Top 10 prospect list, an upward-trending, low-level prospect from a team's Top 30, and two to three lower ranking prospects to add depth to their farm system.
If you want an elite young player, someone that can make a legit impact sooner than later, you have to trade deGrom. Otherwise, this year's potential sell-off will likely play out similar to what took place last year...
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!