The 2015 National League crown found its way to the New York Mets in large part to two key trades: one that reeled in Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe from the Atlanta Braves, and another that brought slugger Yoenis Cespedes to the Big Apple from the Detroit Tigers. Johnson and Uribe went on to play crucial utility roles while Cespedes ascended into superstardom.
Midseason additions, such as the ones made by the Mets last year, can often be x-factors that drive a team into contention. As currently constituted, the Mets are a championship caliber team. However, injuries to David Wright, Lucas Duda, and Travis d’Arnaud have left the Amazin’s with potential long term holes. So, as May turns to June, who could the Mets could bring in to put them over the top?
Five Potential Mets Trade Targets
Kelly Johnson, Utility, Atlanta Braves
Why not bring back the veteran Johnson? His usefulness comes from his ability to play many different positions; Kelly has played second base, first base, and left field so far this season. Johnson could play a similar role to the one he played in 2015 as a versatile bat off the bench and someone who could plug several different holes when injuries arise. Johnson has struggled for the hapless Braves in 2016, batting just .218 with one home run, but a return to contention in New York could spark his production.
Jonathan Lucroy, Catcher, Milwaukee Brewers
Lucroy, who voiced his displeasure with Milwaukee in the offseason, would be an ideal fit for the Mets. Lucroy is an elite catcher who received MVP votes in 2014. He is batting .293/.352/.506 this season. His value is raised exponentially by the fact that he can also play first base, an important factor due to Duda’s injury. Given Lucroy’s prior success, the Mets would need to give up a lot to obtain the All-Star (something like d’Arnaud, Amed Rosario, and Rafael Montero). But the Mets are trying to win now, and Lucroy is an obvious choice to support that cause.
Yangervis Solarte, Third Baseman, San Diego Padres
Solarte is having a productive season, batting .300 for a mediocre Padres team. Solarte swings the bat from both sides, which is a skill that Terry Collins is known to appreciate. Acquiring a third baseman could be a necessity due to the state of David Wright’s neck and back, and Solarte, a former New York Yankee, is equipped to handle the New York spotlight. Solarte has also spent time at second base, which adds to his versatility.
Luis Valbuena, Third/First Baseman, Houston Astros
The Mets are certainly in the market for a corner infielder, and Luis Valbuena, a left-handed hitter, fits the mold. Valbuena can play both third and first base in a backup role. The major knock on Valbuena is his tendency to strike out. He is a streaky, boom-or-bust hitter who is served much better as a fill-in for injuries. Thus far in 2015, Valbuena is batting .227 with six home runs.
Danny Valencia, Third Baseman, Oakland Athletics
Much like the rest of the players on this list, Valencia plays for a struggling club that will likely look to sell as the trade deadline approaches. Valencia is primarily a third baseman, but can also play the corner outfield positions or first base if necessary. He is batting .328 with seven home runs for Oakland in 2016 and is owed just $3.15 million, making him a cost-effective option for the Mets.