Mets Need to Sell


Last time the Mets faced the Chicago White Sox? A sweep for the Mets on the south side of the windy city during the trade deadline in 2019 with a possible second half surge to their season. Tuesday the White Sox visit Citi Field for three games and the trade deadline in two weeks.

Should these three games determine whether or not the Mets should be sellers at the deadline, or should they await their next series up in Boston with the Red Sox at Fenway Park?

My sources are saying Mets GM Billy Eppler is facing reality. The Mets are not in contention and it’s probably inconceivable to catch the Arizona Diamondbacks for a third NL Wild Card. The Mets dug a hole in the first half and at this point buying has no logic as it’s time to reload for 2024.

You get a few of those optimistic ones in a fan base that still believes, though a reality has to set in because the Mets have no chance of catching the Braves, the best team in baseball running away with the NL East. Chances of playing .700 baseball the remaining two months is not the makeup of a Mets team that showed some life with a six-game winning streak prior to the All-Star break and then dropped four in a row. 

Any momentum was stopped with a series loss in San Diego. Sunday, despite a 10th inning win, the Mets lost a series to the Dodgers coming out of the break. Momentum and any type of consistent winning has not been the tempo of the 2023 Mets.

I don’t expect anything to be different from building a streak of wins in the next two series, despite good signs coming from starters Max Scherzer and Kodai Senga. As a result, I expect Eppler to continue taking phone calls, answering text messages, and the Mets will be sellers at the trade deadline.

As Scherzer said Sunday after holding the Dodgers to one hit in seven shutout innings “We just need to play well as a team, day in and day out. You look at the standings and it looks insurmountable. But take it one day at a time, come in here, play team baseball, and hopefully it snowballs, and we find a hot streak.”

He was the difference maker, the optimist, and he could be on the trading block. The Dodgers need a starter and the Mets could find a way to work around the complicated contract of one more year after this that has an annual value of $43,3 million.

Plenty of pieces to trade and begin the process of getting a return of available prospects. It’s about 2024 and thereafter, no longer about 2023 and a lost season. Eppler and owner Steve Cohen have many options working around the huge contracts of a team that is bound to become the richest payroll in baseball that failed. Perhaps the Padres will rival that claim with their disappointment and third highest payroll.

So the Mets will be sellers and not buyers. Who goes? And don’t expect Shohei Ohtani at Citi Field, though free agency is the best chance because Cohen has the assets to spend. And the Mets need to retain their top prospect, shortstop Ronny Mauricio and continue to build around catcher Francisco Alvarez, Pete Alonso, and Francisco Lindor.

Remember, though, it’s all about value in return. The few scouts that remain are also putting their notes and reports together. One scout said David Robertson is that valuable commodity out of the bullpen who pitched two scoreless innings Sunday. I expect Robertson with the backend and closing experience as that key player of interest for teams. I have heard from reliable sources that the Texas Rangers are in need of bullpen help and could be a landing spot for Robertson in return for a top pitching prospect.

Though, I would doubt the Mets will part ways with Jeff McNeil who continues his season long struggle. The reigning NL batting champion has drawn interest along with Tommy Pham, the Mets most consistent hitter and I expect any number of contending teams to make their pitch to Eppler.

Indeed, this is a different perspective for the Mets. They were expected to be buyers and not sellers, and as a team they refer to their ability to win and get back in contention.

Reality is setting in. The Mets have to be sellers. I want to be optimistic about this team, but the expectations are for next year and beyond. They have the pieces to begin the process.

Rich Mancuso: Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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