Entering the All-Star break, the New York Mets currently sit six games back of the Washington Nationals for first place in the National League East, and are tied with the Miami Marlins for the final wild-card spot. But the Mets’ (47-41) problems fall far past their gap in the standings. Starter Matt Harvey is undergoing season-ending surgery, and Noah Syndergaard, Yoenis Cespedes, and Steven Matz have been banged up with injuries. These come after the team lost David Wright for the year, and Lucas Duda until late August.
With potential weaknesses in the starting rotation (shockingly), bullpen, and lineup (which ranks 13th in the National League with a .238 average), Mets’ astute GM Sandy Alderson has an intriguing few weeks ahead of him in terms of what moves to make at the deadline. The Mets are in need at each of those three areas, but don’t have the surplus of prospects to make deals like they did last season.
These may not happen, but here are a few trades I believe the Mets should make to satisfy their deadline needs, overtake the Nationals, and go one step further than they did in 2015.
This deal not only makes sense on the Mets’ side, but for Boston as well. Clay Buchholz is having a horrendous year and has just been demoted to the bullpen for the second time this season. It seems his long-time home, Boston, no longer has a place for him and the veteran righty could benefit from a change of scenery in the National League. Let’s not forget Buchholz has long been a good starter, just last year finishing with a 3.26 ERA. He could be a solid option as New York’s fifth starter in place of Harvey.
As for Boston, the Red Sox are desperately looking to get rid of Buchholz after he is demoted to the bullpen, and this trade gets them back De Aza, who could be serviceable for them. De Aza is hitting a poor .181/.252/.276 with the Mets, but a switch to Boston, where he hit .292/.347/.484 in 161 at-bats last season, could benefit him. Furthermore, the Red Sox are in need of left-handed hitting outfield depth and this low risk move could pay dividends with Boston looking to move Buchholz anyway.
Now this is the blockbuster. The Mets check off two needs in this mega-deal: big bat and bullpen help. Carlos Gonzalez, 30, is having another stellar season with a .318/.366/.550 slash-line and could pair with Cespedes in the middle of the Mets’ order to be a huge threat and exactly the boost New York needs down the stretch. Gonzalez is also under contract for next season too, giving the Mets some outfield insurance in case Cespedes leaves this off-season. In this deal, the money is basically a wash with Granderson and Car-Go, similar to what the Rockies did last year in the Tulowitzki deal with Jose Reyes. Also in this deal, the Mets get right hander Boone Logan, who in a very hitter-friendly Coors Field has been stellar this season, with a 3.18 ERA in 35 appearances this season, and would provide depth in the Mets’ pen.
As for Colorado, it’s tough to give up Car-Go, but now is the time to trade the three-time All-Star. Gonzalez’ contract is up after 2017 and this deal nets the Rockies a very good rotation piece in Zack Wheeler– who despite some setbacks should be back to his form as a top young starter at just 26 – Brandon Nimmo, the Mets’ 2011 first rounder that has shined in the minors, has looked good in his time in the majors, is from Wyoming which is near Colorado, and should excel in the hitter-friendly Colorado, Dominic Smith – another Mets’ first rounder, a first basemen who is 21 and started for team USA in the Futures Game while slashing .287/.354/.398 in the minors thus far – and don’t discredit Granderson, who although is just a money wash in this deal, his contract is up after 2017 and should be able to put up great numbers playing in Coors Field which could potentially make him a trade deadline piece for the Rockies to reel in some more prospects in 2017.