Trading Places: Who the New York Mets should move at the trade deadline

2018 has not be the Mets year. As the New York Mets continue to fall out of contention it is clear that they will not be in contention this year and should be sellers in order to replenish their depleted farm system. However, in my most recent podcast (click here) I discussed why New York shouldn’t trade their ace Jacob deGrom and they would not get a full return if they also moved on from Noah Syndergaard at the deadline. While these names would surely get the biggest hauls at the deadline, the Mets have other pieces they can move for future prospects.

 

Asdrubal Cabrera: 2B

Cabrera is playing like an All Star and the Mets should capitalize on his value

Cabrera has been one of the few Mets that has lived up to expectations this season. At 32, Cabrera is playing at an All Star level being top five in both home runs and RBIs among second baseman this season. Despite being a free agent at the end of the 2018 season, his value comes from his offense and versatility. Despite the woeful order around him, Cabrera is on pace for one of his best offensive seasons ever and unlike previous years has not had any nagging injuries hampering him this season.

The contract and injury history may decrease Cabrera’s value, but he adds versatility to a contender with his flexibility to not only play second. Cabrera has played third base and second for the Mets and could easily fit into either of those roles. He could even play shortstop, but at this age he is better off at the other two positions but gives a team the ability to plug him into three infield positions adding value as both a starter or utility man for a team with World Series aspirations.

 

Todd Frazier: 3B

Like last season, Frazier could be moving at the trade deadline.

Cabrera undoubtedly has more value than Frazier at this point but don’t be surprised if the Mets end up shopping their third baseman as well. This team would probably be looking to shop Jay Bruce at this deadline if he wasn’t hurt and producing. More likely Frazier will be a salary dump with the Mets on the hook for 2019 after the $ 17 Million dollar deal this past offseason.

Money has always been an issue with the Mets and a salary dump could open up the hot corner in the upcoming offseason. The team could look to give Wilmer Flores a full-time role at third in the second half to see if he can be penciled in for their starting third baseman in 2019. Could the Mets keep Frazier because he is under contract and they don’t have a prospect pushing the hot corner position? It certainly isn’t out of the realm of possibility but the team could look at this chance to dump salary.

Despite being on the Disabled list this season, Frazier has nearly matched his home run and RBI totals from last season at the midway point in the season. He may not have starting value like Cabrera, Frazier could be an appealing bench or role player for a playoff contender.

 

Zack Wheeler: Pitcher

Wheeler has been gaining traction on the trade market and the Mets should take advantage.

While deGrom and Syndergaard have been the big names getting the attention at the deadline the Mets could potentially trade another starting pitcher for prospects and that is Zack Wheeler. Despite not having the pedigree of the later two, there are a few reasons why the Mets could deal Wheeler. According to New York Times writer James Wagner teams have been reportedly calling the Mets about Wheeler in trade discussion.

This could be the perfect time to deal Wheeler for multiple reasons. First, it’s a weak starters market at the deadline and the Mets could get more for Wheeler then they bargained for. Second, Wheeler is peaking at the right time with his fastball in the upper 90s and a 3.38 ERA over his last eight starts. Third, he has had a long injury history missing two full seasons with the Mets and is 28 years old. Finally, he will be a free agent after 2019 and as noted both in this article and the previous podcast the Mets probably won’t be looking to break the bank for a career 23-29 starter as of July first.

With an expiring contract approaching and a long injury history, of the Mets can get prospects for Wheeler this is the time to do it. The team could look to deal him in the offseason, but personally I would be wary of Wheeler’s injury history and if he misses any time later in the season that will only diminish his value.

Some may be wondering with not Steven Matz? If there are offers the Mets should listen but here’s why I don’t see the Mets moving on from him. First, he’s a year younger then Wheeler. Second, his contract has him under the Mets control until 2022. Third, he’s a lefty in a rotation that has struggled to find a great left handed starter since Johan Santana. Finally, despite both having injury problems Matz hasn’t had the serious arm injuries like Wheeler where Wheeler has missed two full seasons with the Mets.

 

Jose Bautista: OF

The Mets brought in Bautista off the scrap heap, now it’s time to recycle.

Like Frazier, Bautista won’t bring back a haul of prospects but the Mets need bodies in their minor league organization and would be smart to take advantage of Bautista’s recent play. After picking up the 37-year-old off the scrap heap from the Atlanta Braves, Bautista has taken advantage of playing time with the Mets hitting .266 with three home runs and 13 RBIs since joining the club.

It’s clear that his skillset has diminished but he could be a valuable fourth outfielder for a postseason contender at a low asking price. Bautista could give a team a right-handed bat off the bench against lefties or be a spot starting outfielder if necessary. Contractually it would be easy to move Bautista and the Mets would take a mid to low range prospect in return. Not to mention the Mets might consider bringing up a certain Heisman Winner to play the outfield in August. Stranger things have happened to the Mets this season.

Jeurys Familia

With free agency for Familia at the end of the season, the Mets should get some value back for the former All Star closer.

If the Mets traded Familia the first reaction from the fanbase would probably be it’s about time! After an All Star campaign in 2016, Familia has not been the same closer and will hit the free agency market after the season at 28 years old. Sounding like a broken record again the Mets are stingy for the money and will not want to pay the high price tag for a closer that has been regressing over the past two years.

Still, with the premium on relievers especially for the postseason Familia could be a valuable piece for the Mets to move especially with the unlikelihood he will be back in Queens for 2019. Even if he won’t be the closer, Familia could become a seventh or eighth inning role player for a playoff team moving forward. Despite four blown saves this season, Familia still has 14 saves and a ERA just over three. It’s hard to find power back-end of the bullpen relievers on the market and the Mets could look to make a swap similar to what they did with the Red Sox when they dealt Addison Reed last season.

 

 

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