MLB commerce deadline 2022: Ought to Mets goal Contreras, Soto?

By Deesha Thosar
FOX Sports activities MLB Author

Across the seventh or eighth inning at Citi Discipline, Mets gamers lingering within the dugout will search for on the out-of-town scoreboard in left subject. Their eyes will discover that swirly, white A set towards a darkish blue background. 

Often, the Braves are successful. Atlanta has loved 35 wins — and solely 11 losses — since June 1. The Mets have performed .500 ball in that stretch. 

New York and Atlanta are in a battle for first place within the NL East, however the subsequent time these division rivals meet, on Aug. four in Queens, their groups ought to look improved. The Mets particularly have holes on the roster that have to be addressed. 

Does Tomas Nido’s defensive savvy paired with an absence of offensive success warrant preserving him because the beginning catcher for the following month-plus? With Jacob deGrom‘s well being a steady uncertainty, can the Mets afford to sit down idle on the starting-pitching market? Are the Mets in place to go for Juan Soto?

Wanting past the Mets’ apparent wants, equivalent to bullpen assist, subsequent week’s Aug. 2 commerce deadline figures to be a captivating one for normal supervisor Billy Eppler and his entrance workplace. The Mets started the commerce season with a pickup of slugger Daniel Vogelbach in change for rookie reliever Colin Holderman. That was a begin. 

However there’s extra to deal with, starting with the irksome state of affairs behind the plate.

1. Backstop blues

Mets beginning catcher James McCann has performed simply 30 video games this yr on account of a left hamate fracture and an indirect pressure. However even when he was wholesome, his numbers on the plate have been disappointing, and that isn’t a singular downside. It has been a troubling development for Mets catchers this season, one the entrance workplace has to date failed to handle. 

McCann, Nido and Patrick Mazeika have mixed for a seventh-worst-in-MLB .197 batting common, a dead-last .503 catcher OPS and a league-worst 48 wRC+ (100 is league common). The Mets worth their backstops for his or her defensive proficiency, however the gaping gap within the nine-spot is terribly tough to disregard. The Mets’ lineup wants a lift at catcher, the group’s most offensively underwhelming place — and never simply because if Nido will get injured, the predicament turns into even uglier.

“They’ve performed an excellent job defensively,” Buck Showalter stated of his catchers. “Throwing and calling the sport. Offense has type of come and gone.”

Form of? There was no offense to talk of. 

Enter the CubsWillson Contreras, who owns the fourth-best catcher OPS (.844) in MLB and is on the buying and selling block. Contreras turns into a free agent after this season, and he would price at the least a few prospects the Mets won’t be so eager to surrender. 

However the three-time All-Star, who sports activities a 1.073 OPS towards lefties, can be a major improve. The Mets have a .238 batting common towards southpaws this season, good for 21st within the sport and solely barely higher than three different NL groups.

If the Mets are involved about Contreras’ defensive and framing points, they’ll use him at DH. They’ve a .605 OPS from the DH spot, ranked 27th in MLB and within the basement with Cleveland, Arizona and Oakland. A commerce for Contreras won’t require an excessive amount of of a haul if the Cubs are fascinated by taking a flier on Dominic Smith, whom the Mets have been making an attempt to maneuver since spring coaching. 

Both manner, upgrading at catcher and ultimately supplementing Contreras with McCann would have a ton of upside for the Mets.

2. Cy Younger — or the perennial well being scare

A few weeks in the past, when deGrom was hitting each rehab benchmark with reported success, the Mets’ want for a beginning catcher was someplace between low and medium. However that urgency jumped final week after the group introduced deGrom’s “delicate shoulder soreness” that delayed his fourth rehab outing. 

That’s a direct crimson flag for a pitcher who has sustained a number of accidents prior to now 21 months and hasn’t pitched a big-league begin in additional than a yr. 

The Mets performed off deGrom’s shoulder soreness identical to they’re enjoying off his sluggish rehab course of. The ace walked into spring coaching this yr wanting leaner and stronger than ever, solely to be shut down from throwing after a few Grapefruit League outings. 

Since then, his return has been a transferring goal. He’s anticipated to make his closing rehab begin someday within the subsequent week, after which he ought to be able to rejoin the rotation. However each time (if?) he takes the mound, his longevity might be some extent of concern for the Mets. That’s why they’ll’t afford to whiff on beginning pitchers forward of subsequent week’s commerce deadline.

“He is not our savior,” Francisco Lindor stated Saturday of deGrom. “Yeah, he will win video games for us, and we’re wanting ahead to it. Nevertheless it’s unfair for us to say, ‘We will watch, and you are going to take us to the promised land.’ That is not the way it goes. He already has sufficient on his plate, like making an attempt to remain wholesome and making an attempt to carry out and making an attempt to be one of the best he could be to assist us win. It is going to be unfair for us to place all the load on him.”

Reds right-hander Luis Castillo can be a stable match for the rotation and within the clubhouse, the latter being a culture-building space of excessive significance to the Mets. Castillo, a 2022 All-Star, owns a 2.77 ERA and 1.zero77 WHIP throughout 13 begins and 78 innings. 

However the competitors for Castillo reportedly contains the Yankees, Dodgers and Astros. For the Mets, a commerce for the right-hander, who turns into a free agent in 2024, will seemingly require transferring two high prospects — even perhaps the group’s No. 2 prospect, Brett Baty. The Athletics’ Frankie Montas and the PiratesJose Quintana may be choices for New York.

The Mets consider their starting-pitching depth covers them within the occasion of one other deGrom setback. David Peterson and Tylor Megill are main causes the group loved a three-plus-month run in first place. Nevertheless it’s robust to think about the Mets making a deep run within the postseason with their present rotation and with out deGrom, whose sturdiness for October baseball stays unclear. 

Max Scherzer turns 38 this week, Taijuan Walker nonetheless should show he can carry his first-half consistency into second-half success, Chris Bassitt has been up-and-down, and Carlos Carrasco has been iffy towards highly effective opposing lineups.

By now, it’s honest to say that it’s a protracted shot that deGrom can full 12 begins within the the rest of the common season. Thus far, the Mets have confirmed that they’ll play successful baseball with out him. However will his well being be the distinction between an NL pennant and an early exit, or can the Mets safeguard towards his potential absence by buying and selling for a starter? 

Will the Mets win the NL East?

Ben Verlander provides three causes he believes the New York Mets will win the Nationwide League East: their pitching employees, their straightforward schedule and their depth.

“We’ve plenty of respect for Jake and what he can do,” Showalter stated. “However we won’t actually function like [we’re waiting for him to return]. As a result of generally that promise by no means exhibits up, no matter who it’s. Typically it simply would not occur. After which what do you do?”

three. The Soto sweepstakes

The Nationals are receiving curiosity from quite a few groups, together with the Yankees, in generational star Juan Soto. Ought to the Mets be one among them? 

As mentioned, the Mets want an offensive enhance, and the 23-year-old Soto would guarantee elite manufacturing for years to come back. However they must hand over the farm to get him. 

The Mets’ rebuilding farm system is an space proprietor Steve Cohen dedicated to bettering as early as his introductory information convention in November 2020. Buying and selling away a handful of high prospects, along with major-leaguers with minimal service time, would utterly negate Cohen’s acknowledged objective.

“Taking part in in New York towards the Mets, I find it irresistible,” Soto stated on the All-Star Sport. “I hit the ball far. For those who see my numbers in that subject, it’s wonderful.”

Will Juan Soto be traded by the Washington Nationals?

Ben Verlander discusses Juan Soto’s rejecting the Nationals’ provide and what it means transferring ahead. Will he be traded? The place are the seemingly locations?

The Mets must begin from scratch in the event that they went for Soto, and Cohen needs to construct a Dodger-esque group, successful yr after yr. Then once more, Soto is likely one of the few exceptions who’s value that sort of prospect haul. 

Nonetheless, it is likely to be wiser for the Mets to attend till Soto turns into a free agent in a number of years, once they can use their largest asset, Cohen’s pockets, whereas persevering with to construct their system.

Deesha Thosar is an MLB author for FOX Sports activities. She beforehand lined the Mets for three-and-a-half seasons as a beat reporter for the New York Day by day Information. The daughter of Indian immigrants, Deesha grew up on Lengthy Island and now lives in Queens. She by no means misses a Rafael Nadal match, it doesn’t matter what nation or time zone he’s enjoying in (sleep can at all times be sacrificed for sports activities). Observe her on Twitter at @DeeshaThosar.

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