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In late June, the Mets had been contacting teams about trading for a position player, according to people in baseball. Earlier this week, it was reported that they had asked the Brewers about C Jonathan Lucroy, and I wrote in June that they agreed to eventually circle back with the A's about 3B Danny Valencia.
I hope they're still in the market for a bat, despite reports that Sandy Alderson is prioritizing an upgrade of his bullpen.
The fact is, the Mets are dead last in all of baseball when hitting with runners in scoring position. They are third in home runs in the NL, but third-to-last in runs scored. Similarly, while the Mets have hit 130 home runs this season, 62 percent of them have been hit with NO ONE on base.
Interestingly, the Cardinals and Nationals have a similar disparity when it comes to hitting home runs with people on or off base. The difference, though, is that while they hit a lot of solo homers, unlike the Mets, they also hit doubles and singles to bring guys home.
In other words, if the Mets scored a run, it was likely done with a solo home run. Otherwise, there was a zero on the board. The Mets are are seemingly allergic to rallies and in dire need guys that put the ball in play, especially when there are people on base.
Curtis Granderson, Michael Conforto, Juan Lagares and Travis d'Arnaud have been the situation's biggest culprits. So, in addition to a reliever, Alderson should probably be looking for an every-day outfielder or a new catcher to help keep his batting order in motion.
In a post Tuesday for MetsBlog, SitMet creator Kyle Flaherty argued in favor of trading for Rays OF-1B Steve Pearce, who is, "quite possibly, the best kept secret in baseball."
According to a July 22 report by ESPN's Jerry Crasnick, the Rays have been getting calls from teams interested in Pearce, who is hitting .341 with runners on base this season. He is due roughly $1 million the remainder of this season, after which he can be a free agent, so I'm sure he can be had for a reasonable price.
Jay Bruce (Reds), Carlos Gonzalez (Rockies), Ryan Braun (Brewers) and Josh Reddick (A's) have all caught Sandy's eye in the past, but their asking prices and this team's roster make them unlikely to ever wear blue and orange this season.
Instead, like Pearce, the Mets should focus on less-expensive, 'clutch,' highly-productive, versatile outfielders, specifically Coco Crisp (A's), Kole Calhoun (Angels) and Jon Jay (Padres).
In the event the Mets decide to look at infielders, Valencia, Yunel Escobar (Rays) and Yangervis Solarte (Padres) should pique Alderson's interest, since they each do a nice job getting on base and moving runners.
In regards to catcher, Lucroy would obviously be a terrific acquisition. However, he's the only catcher worth exploring, since Derek Norris (Padres), Stephen Vogt (A's) and Kurt Suzuki (Twins) would not be enough of an upgrade given their cost.
In the end, while Pearce and another team's reliever will be more affordable, I'd be pushing on the Angels to get Huston Street (bullpen) and Calhoun, who I've heard is available for the right price.
Unfortunately, there are several teams interested in acquiring Street, including the rival Giants, Marlins and Nationals. Similarly, Calhoun should have multiple suitors as well, since he is 28, arbitration eligible each of the next three years and on pace for his third-straight 3.0 WAR season.