The 2021 Major League Baseball trade deadline is approaching quite rapidly. We are a little over three weeks away from one of the most hectic days in baseball. This day is always surrounded with billions of questions. Who will be buyers, who will be sellers? Who will be traded, who will be kept? Who will be the shock trade of the year? All of these questions will be answered soon enough, but until then we are left with speculation.
This speculation has led to questions of Zack Scott, Mets acting General Manager. Scott recently said in a press conference that the Mets are not willing to part ways with their top prospects.
Here is a quick refresher of the Mets top 10 prospects:
- Francisco Alvarez C ETA 2023
- Ronny Mauricio SS ETA 2022
- Matthew Allan RHP ETA 2024
- Brett Baty 3B ETA 2022
- Pete Crow-Armstrong OF ETA 2023
- J.T. Ginn RHP ETA 2023
- Khalil Lee OF ETA 2021
- Mark Vientos 3B ETA 2022
- Alex Ramirez OF ETA 2024
- Thomas Szapucki LHP ETA 2021
I think it is safe to say that the top six are whom Scott is referring to, but we wont know for sure until July 31. Mauricio is the only player in the top six that is blocked at their position for an extended period of time, with Lindor having signed a long-term extension to be the Mets shortstop.
First off, let’s take a stab at some of the top 10 prospects the Mets may flip. The aforementioned Mauricio is the Mets number two prospect, but I believe is the biggest trade chip the Mets have. However, because Scott said he isn’t willing to trade any of the top prospects, he may be sticking around until next year.
Khalil Lee seems like a player the Mets may want to flip, but he is the biggest piece of outfield depth they have.
Alex Ramirez is an intriguing prospect that could be very useful in trades. I don’t think he will have such a huge future with the Mets.
Lastly, Thomas Szapucki could be another person the Mets use as trade bait. Szapucki recently made his Major League debut against the Atlanta Braves, and didn’t shine. Obviously, you can’t judge a player on their Major League Debut. However, based on the use of Szapucki and his performance over the last few years, I believe he will be possibly traded.
This time of year also lends its hand to Major League talent that is likely to be traded too. Most players that we hear rumors of tend to be players in the last year of their contracts, mostly on non-contending teams. This year the most rumors have come regarding: Jose Berrios, Twins starting pitcher, Joey Gallo, Rangers outfielder, Trevor Story, Rockies shortstop, Ketel Marte, Diamondbacks outfielder, and many more.
We have heard speculation of the Mets targets for this years deadline: Starting pitching, third base, and outfield. Those three positions have plenty of potentially available targets.
Some of the pitchers rumored to be possibly on the move at the end of this month are: Jose Berrios, Max Scherzer, Alex Cobb, Danny Duffy, Michael Pineda and Kyle Gibson.
Berrios seems to be out of the Mets radar at the moment, especially because he is under team control until 2023. However, the Mets may make a push for him if the price is cheap enough. Considering the Mets are loaded with pitching through 2023, this may not make sense.
Max Scherzer is likely to be the most coveted pitcher at the deadline, if the Nationals are willing to sell, and he will likely come at a high cost. This probably puts Scherzer beyond the reach of the Mets as well.
Alex Cobb has a 4.60 ERA so he will likely not be traded to any team looking for a solid starting pitcher, taking the Mets out of his race.
Things get interesting at Danny Duffy. Duffy, 32, is 4-3 with a 2.60 ERA in 2021 with ten starts. His WHIP is 1.231, a tad high for his ERA, but he is a great option for the Mets. He will likely not be very expensive, and is a lefty. The Mets have lost their two left-handed pitchers for a solid chunk of time, so getting one at the deadline could be a good boost.
Michael Pineda is having a very underrated season for the Twins. He has a 3.70 ERA in 11 starts, and has been in the New York atmosphere before. Could be someone the Mets take a flyer on if he is cheap.
Lastly, Kyle Gibson. Gibson is having the most underrated season in baseball. He has a 1.98 ERA and is 6-0 over 16 starts. He has a 1.035 WHIP, and was named an American League All-Star. Gibson will probably not be as expensive as Scherzer or others, allowing the Mets to give lower level prospects for him.
Who they should get: Kyle Gibson
While Gibson may come at more of a cost than Duffy, he is having a spectacular season. The Mets obviously need pitching help, and Gibson is in the Cy Young race in the American League. Having two pitchers with an ERA under three would be game-changing for New York.
Third base is a position that has been up in the air since the off-season. JD Davis has been amazing when he plays, but he has been hurt for over half the season. That has put his job in jeopardy for the rest of the season. There are plenty of guys that may be available for trade, the question is how much do the Mets really need a third baseman? There aren’t many upgrades at third base over Davis, and those that are will likely cost many prospects.
Kris Bryant, Eduardo Escobar, Adam Frazier, and Josh Donaldson have all been names swirling around trade talks.
Kris Bryant was tied to the Mets before the season started, as the Mets seemed heavily in on him. It seems unclear as to whether the Mets are involved in discussions for Bryant, or even if the Cubs are willing to trade him. He is having a very good year with a .271 average and 16 home runs. However, is it worth the prospects that the Cubs will certainly be looking for? Bryant is a former-MVP whose name carries a lot of weight, but he has certainly not lived up to that.
Eduardo Escobar has been at the forefront of trade talks for third baseman. Escobar was reported to be traded to the White Sox by Bob Nightengale, a trade that ended up not being true. However, the White Sox were certainly very close to getting the Diamondbacks’ third baseman. It is clear that he is involved in many talks because he hasn’t been starting much for the last place Dbacks. The lone Dbacks All-Star is hitting .248 with 18 home runs, making him a likely cheaper option at third. He can play all infield positions but first, making him a very versatile bat. Definitely a player the Mets should take a flyer on.
Adam Frazier, Pirates second baseman, is having a fantastic year with the Pirates. His year is going quite unnoticed because of the horrible season the Bucs are having. He is hitting .324 with four home runs and 28 RBI. The reason I include him here, is because the Mets may be inclined to put him at second base and shove McNeil into a platoon with Davis at third. McNeil is not having the best of years, and Frazier seems to be an upgrade in 2021. However, he is under contract through 2022, making him a part of the plan next year for the team that acquires him.
Last on here is Josh Donaldson, who was simply mentioned by Andy Martino as a part of trade discussions. Donaldson, 35, is under contract through 2023, with a club option for 2024. He is hitting .252 with 13 home runs and 34 RBI. For a player of his age, with the massive contract he has, he doesn’t make much sense.
Who they should get: Nobody
I firmly believe that JD Davis should be trusted to get the Mets to the end of the season. He has proven himself to be reliable in the lineup, with defense being his only issue. However, I don’t believe any of those players mentioned would be significant upgrades to Davis, let alone ones that you spend prospects on.
The outfield, predominantly left field, has been a position the Mets have discussed. Michael Conforto, albeit hurt most of the year, has been subpar in his contract season. Nimmo has been spectacular, and Dom Smith is either in a 10-21 stretch with 4 home runs or a 2-25 stretch with 0 home runs. There is definitely an opportunity to upgrade in the outfield somewhere, with Conforto and Smith possibly losing playing time. While we love them as players, it may be time to put one on the pine for a bit of time.
Joey Gallo and Kevin Kiermaier are the only names that have come up in conversation so far this season. However, with three weeks until the deadline, more names are sure to pop up.
Joey Gallo is hitting .233 with 21 home runs in the final year of his contract with the Texas Rangers. He is an outfielder who can play first and third base occasionally. Gallo has turned into a three true outcomes player, someone who only hits home runs, walks and strikes out. His OBP is .387, and his OPS is .880. Gallo may be a target for the Mets in the off-season to potentially replace Michael Conforto, if they let him walk. This is a prime opportunity to get him into New York, in a playoff atmosphere, to see how he can handle it.
Kevin Kiermaier was discussed in trade talks earlier in the season, but likely won’t go to a contender because he is only hitting .232 with one home run.
Who they should get: Joey Gallo
Gallo may come at a cost, but his power bat will be much appreciated in a lineup that has hit for little to no power. He would have the most home runs on the team when acquired, and would provide a great home run bat for a team 28th in the league in home runs. He is on pace to hit around 40 homers, and with a lineup that loves to get on base, this could potentially be a Cespedes-esque trade.
Decisions, decisions. As we sit three weeks out from the trade deadline, there aren’t tons of players available on the market. Obviously, there will be more that come out in the next few weeks, and some that sneak into trades unexpectedly. The Mets will definitely be heavy buyers at the deadline for the first time since 2016, which should provide for an interesting ending to July.
Photo Credit Dallas Morning News