New York Mets Trade Deadline: Potential Targets

Mets trade

The New York Mets kicked off their 2021 trade deadline activity last Friday, acquiring veteran lefty starter Rich Hill from the Tampa Bay Rays for fellow vet pitcher Tommy Hunter and minor leaguer Matt Dyer. This move provides much-needed backup to their injury-beleaguered rotation, and Mets fans hope it is merely the first in a series of deadline moves. The Mets currently enjoy a modest lead in the NL East over the Philadelphia Phillies. However, their sluggish offense has plagued them all season. It would certainly behoove the Mets to add at least one bat before the July 30 deadline. Some bullpen help or even another starter could also figure into GM Zack Scott’s plans. It’s impossible to say which moves they will make, but a few players who’ve been the subject of trade rumors merit a closer look at what they could bring to the Mets.

Potential New York Mets Trade Targets

Assuming the Mets remain buyers at the deadline, their biggest need is another bat to inject life into their offense. Two of the biggest names currently floating around the rumor mill who fit that bill are Kris Bryant and Trevor Story. If they decide to add pitching help, they are more likely to pursue rental starters than potential long-term additions. On the bullpen front, the Mets are thought to be in the market for affordable middle relievers. However, depending on their faith in closer Edwin Diaz, a play for Craig Kimbrel could also enter into the realm of possibility.

Kris Bryant

Bryant has enjoyed a bounce back year after struggling during the abbreviated 2020 season. His OPS is up from .644 last year to .856 this year, much closer to his prior season outputs. His average is also up from .206 to .269. However, his resurgence has not done much for the fortunes of the Chicago Cubs, as a late June and early July swoon left them well behind in the NL Central race and cemented their status as deadline sellers. Bryant, due to his impending free agency, has generated significant trade interest around the majors, including from the Mets.

The former NL MVP would fit in nicely at third for the Mets and would be an upgrade over current third baseman Jonathan Villar. Adding Bryant would give the Mets’ lineup some much-needed power, and he remains a reliable glove at the hot corner. The excitement of being on a playoff contender once again could provide Bryant a further jolt offensively. His upcoming free agency would give the Mets a choice to extend him or let him walk in the offseason. This would likely depend partly on his performance, but also on the team’s willingness to continue spending big.

Trevor Story

The Colorado Rockies shortstop is not having his best season in 2021. He has 12 homers and 46 RBI, but his slash line is .240/.312/.421, all well below his career averages. Despite those struggles, his status as an All-Star caliber player makes him an attractive target for many teams with the Rockies out of the NL West race. Like Bryant, Story will be a free agent this offseason. If the Mets trade for him, however, it would likely be as a rental, with Francisco Lindor ensconced at shortstop for the Mets for the next decade.

Story would fit at short temporarily for the Mets while Lindor is on the injured list. Once Lindor is back, he would probably need to play another position, a gamble the Mets many not want to take. Still, Story could be a solid rental pickup for the Mets if they don’t give up too much. He is a constant home run threat and also provides some speed, as he led the NL in steals last year and has 17 this year. If the Mets try and fail to acquire Bryant, Story might be their top alternative.

Pitchers

The dream scenario for the Mets would be to snag Max Scherzer from the Washington Nationals at the deadline, but that appears highly unlikely now. According to Andy Martino of SNY, Scherzer would exercise his no-trade clause to nix any deal with the Mets. Martino had reported earlier that Washington wouldn’t want to help their division rival anyway by trading them Scherzer. The Mets are hoping Rich Hill will bolster the back end of their rotation, but they remain in the mix for more rental pitchers. Notable names thought to be available include Zach Davies of the Cubs, Jon Gray of the Rockies, and Kyle Gibson of the Texas Rangers. One of these starters could provide insurance against any further absence of Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Carlos Carrasco.

In terms of the bullpen, the Mets may look to swing small deals for middle relief help. If they are overly concerned with Edwin Diaz’s recent performance, however, their attention could shift to Craig Kimbrel. The veteran closer sports a minuscule 0.49 ERA this season with 23 saves. Adding Kimbrel would instantly transform the reputation of the Mets bullpen from iffy to formidable. Depending on the Mets’ other targets, a package deal with the Cubs could enter the equation. Since that would likely require a big return on the Mets’ end, however, they will probably be more inclined to pursue middle relievers at the deadline.

New York Mets trade predictions

Given owner Steve Cohen’s desire to give his franchise a new reputation as big spenders, the Mets are likely far from done ahead of the deadline. They will likely make a play for either Bryant or Story, but not both. With the amount of interest both players have generated, there’s a chance the Mets get neither. A Kimbrel deal remains a small possibility, but one or more deals for middle relievers are much more likely. With Carlos Carrasco due back soon and the Hill deal already done, the Mets will likely stand pat on the starter front, although some of the names out there could be beneficial if the price is right. The Mets should have two main goals at the deadline. The first–priming for a deep run into October. The second–protecting their future by not giving up too much.

Players mentioned: Rich Hill, Tommy Hunter, Matt Dyer, Kris Bryant, Trevor Story, Edwin Diaz, Craig Kimbrel, Francisco Lindor, Max Scherzer, Zach Davies, Jon Gray, Kyle GibsonJacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Carlos Carrasco

Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images


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