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New York Mets Should Have Interesting Decisions to Make at Trade Deadline

July 17th, 2014 at 10:40 AM
By Mike Phillips

The trade deadline is officially two weeks away, and the New York Mets will have some interesting choices to make. For the first several years of Sandy Alderson's tenure as General Manager, the Mets have been sellers at the deadline. After adding Zack Wheeler at the deadline in 2011 and Vic Black in a post deadline trade last season, most would assume the Mets plan on dealing veterans Bartolo Colon and Daniel Murphy for similar assets.

The decision has been made more difficult, however, due to the Mets strong run of play leading up to the All Star Break. The Mets, particularly offensively, appeared to have turned a corner in an 8-2 home stand. The Mets are sitting five games below .500, and are right on the fringe of the playoff chase in both the division and the wild card. The spot the Mets are in is precarious, and the Mets could conceivably be buyers, sellers, or simply hold at the deadline.

The Mets have wanted to be buyers at the deadline for some time now, but they haven't realistically put themselves in a position to buy for a playoff run. The Mets face a nine game road trip after the All Star Break that takes them to San Diego, Seattle, and Milwaukee, and if the Mets inch closer to .500 and avoid a slump they could end up as buyers. Alderson is reportedly looking at upgrades in shortstop and left field, ESPN New York's Adam Rubin reports. With Lucas Duda looking like a capable hitter at first base and Travis d'Arnaud's resurgence, the Mets can stand pat at those positions. One team to watch is the Chicago Cubs, who have a glut at shortstop position with All Star Starlin Castro at the big league level and top prospects Javier Baez and Addison Russell at Triple-A and Double-A respectively.

The Mets also have pieces they could look to sell if the team falls off the pace after the break. Alderson could look to move Chris Young and Eric Young Jr to try and reduce the team's glut in the outfield according to Rubin's report. The Mets also are expected to test the market on veteran right hander Bartolo Colon, who could be a boost to a pennant team's rotation. Dealing Colon may seem counter-productive if the Mets are still in the race, but the Mets have an abundance of young pitchers at Triple-A Las Vegas who could step in to the job. Even if the Mets deem Noah Syndergaard is not ready just yet, Daisuke Matsuzaka could step back into a rotation slot. 

The real dilemma for the New York Mets comes with second baseman Daniel Murphy. Murphy was named an All Star this season, leaving his value on the market as high as it will ever be. Murphy is due for arbitration one more time before becoming a free agent after the 2015 season. Murphy could command nine million dollars in arbitration in 2015 and get upwards of 12 million dollars a year on the open market. The Mets have to make a judgment call of whether or not they feel Murphy can still improve and be a key piece to a winning club or if he has hit his peak now. 

The Mets have received interest from other teams on Murphy, with the Toronto Blue Jays and San Francisco Giants reportedly monitoring the situation. The Mets have a few alternatives in house that they could use to fill Murphy's shoes. Wilmer Flores has torn the cover off the ball at Triple-A Las Vegas since being sent back down last month, and he could step right in at second base if Murphy is dealt. The Mets also have rapidly rising Dilson Herrera at Double-A Binghamton, who could be a factor at second base as soon as next season. Expect the Mets to dangle Murphy at the deadline and they could pull the trigger if they get offered a piece they really like in a deal, like a young shortstop or left fielder with power.

The third option and least likely one to occur is a simple hold. The Mets held at the non-waiver deadline in 2012 and 2013, eventually dealing Marlon Byrd after the waiver deadline last year. The Mets could stand pat on July 31st and let the race play out a little longer before moving Colon or Murphy, but their options would be more limited as both players are likely to be claimed, limiting deals to only a claiming team. The Mets could end up being one of the key teams at the deadline, as they have the potential to buy or sell very easily, so a hold is very unlikely at this point. 

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