Ranking the 5 New York Mets Most Likely to Be Moved at the Trade Deadline
The New York Mets seem destined for another mediocre season with their rebuilding process still ongoing.
As Zack Wheeler’s recent promotion proves, the rebuilding process is coming to its later stages in New York and help seems on the way. Wheeler and many other young power arms are close to the majors, and the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate has a number of promising hitters.
The Mets' Triple-A team currently ranks second in the 16-team league in OPS.
Thus, many of the 2013 Mets will likely not be on the 2014 roster. For those current players who have value to other teams, there is also the possibility of a mid-season trade to a contender.
Following is a ranking of the Mets most likely to be moved at the trade deadline.
5. Lucas Duda
The Mets may still believe Lucas Duda can develop into a great all-around hitter, but that does not appear to be the case.
Right now, Duda looks like a much cheaper—and arguably better and younger)—version of Adam Dunn. He owns a low batting average with poor defense and a high amount of power, strikeouts and walks.
While Duda cannot match Dunn’s 18 home runs this season, Duda is still a very productive player and more importantly, is roughly 29 times cheaper than Dunn’s $15 million salary.
Duda has already hit a 13 doubles and 11 home runs this season, including an impressive seven home runs at pitcher-friendly Citi Field.
After an impressive April in which he hit .264 with five home runs to go with 20 walks and a whopping .436 on-base percentage, Duda has struggled. He is starting to heat up this month, though, and his on-base percentage is an above-average .352.
If Duda continues to show off impressive power and plate discipline, teams could certainly use his left-handed bat.
However, Duda has been pitiful in clutch situations. He is hitting .143 with runners in scoring position, which explains how he only has 23 RBI to go with those 11 home runs. In fact, 10 of Duda’s home runs are solo home shots.
Duda must improve with runners on base or it will cripple his value to contending teams who are looking for a clutch, quality hitter.
Duda ranks low on this list for that exact reason. He has plenty of raw power and great discipline, but has simply not been able to get the job done in key situations. Teams may not want Duda if he continues to struggle in important situations.
4. Bobby Parnell
One of the most useless assets that an unsuccessful team can have is a great closer.
That is precisely what the Mets have in Bobby Parnell.
Despite some recent struggles, Parnell is still having an amazing season with a 2.70 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 10 saves. Parnell has struck out 28 batters and not allowed a home run in 30.0 innings so far. More impressively, his stats have been negatively affected by some unlucky hits and poor fielding behind him.
Opposing 2-3-4 hitters, usually the better hitters on a team, are hitting .231, .133 and .231, respectively, against Parnell. Although he doesn’t get many save chances on a team like the Mets, it is clear the 28-year-old can get the job done.
Opponents also have an anemic .290 slugging percentage against Parnell, but he still does not rank higher on this list because he does have long-term value. While the Mets may not need a dominant closer this season, they will need one in 2014 and beyond.
Parnell may have more trade value than most Mets, but he also has just as much value long-term being in a Mets uniform.
A struggling team has no need for a dominant closer, so there is logic in trading Parnell, but at only 28, he has plenty of years left, so it also makes sense in not trading him.
As the Mets become less successful and Parnell’s personal success increases his trade value, it will be interesting to hear about the possible trade rumors for him as the deadline approaches.
3. Dillon Gee
By the end of May, Zack Wheeler’s call-up seemed imminent, and it was clear a rotation member would have to be sacrificed to make room for Wheeler.
Since then, Dillon Gee has gone from the inevitable sacrifice to a shoo-in for the rotation.
Gee’s season stats are nothing inspiring at 5-7 with a 4.56 ERA and 1.44 WHIP, but in his last four starts, he has looked like an ace.
In 29.1 innings, Gee is 3-1 with a dominant 32/4 K/BB ratio, as well as a 1.55 ERA and 0.96 WHIP. Gee recently was sacked with an unfortunate loss, giving up a walk-off two-run homer in a 2-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves. However, he was otherwise superb in his 8.1 innings, allowing just five hits and one walk with six strikeouts.
The Mets have a plethora of great young arms. Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler are just the beginning. Gee, though, has already developed into a solid back-of-the-rotation starter who the Mets could rely on.
Depending on the return package, the Mets would be foolish not to consider trading Gee this season.
Gee is currently in top form heading into the trade deadline. Last offseason, the Mets stole away two of Toronto's top three prospects and a promising international outfielder from the Blue Jays in a deal for R.A. Dickey, who was also at the top of his game at the time.
So far, Dickey has been fairly good, but not his former NL Cy Young Award self. If the Mets can get a high-ceiling prospect for Gee, they certainly have to consider a trade.
While the Mets would obviously suffer without Gee this season, that doesn’t even matter.
The team is not trying to contend in 2013, and some of the great young arms that could replace Gee in the coming years include Rafael Montero, Noah Syndergaard or Jacob deGrom.
Gee does have some long-term potential as a Met, but if they can get a contending team to overpay for Gee like they were able to do with Dickey, the Mets must pull the trigger.
2. John Buck
After an outrageous first month to the season, it seemed logical that the red-hot John Buck would be traded mid-season to make room for young phenom, Travis d’Arnaud.
But Buck has been a shell of his April self and d’Arnaud fractured his foot. That means Buck could stay put and d’Arnaud may only recover in time to be a September call-up.
In April, Buck had a ridiculous nine home runs and 25 RBI en route to a stellar .575 slugging percentage. But Buck’s already mediocre batting average dipped 20 points to .223, and his May and June slugging percentages were a mere .306 and .313, respectively.
Right now, Buck looks lost as a hitter. He is getting embarrassed and overpowered by the same fastballs he used to crush in April.
However, Buck still is a valuable player as a great defensive catcher and locker room presence. He is also hitting a surprising .292 with runners in scoring position.
If Buck can start slugging anything close to what he did in April, then a deadline move seems very possible.
If not, the Mets may be forced to eat his $6 million salary and hope he can provide a veteran presence when d’Arnaud, the catcher of the future, makes his long-awaited debut.
1. Marlon Byrd
Although Marlon Byrd is currently one of the Mets’ better hitters, he is not a long-term solution to the team’s outfield woes.
Byrd will turn 36 at the end of August. He was signed to a minor-league contract as a player who could fill in to a woeful outfield until the team has the money or prospects to bring in better players.
Byrd, however, has been a pleasant surprise this season and there is some distinct value in trading him for a prospect or two.
Byrd has hit a whopping 11 home runs while hitting .318 outside of Citi Field and .280 with runners in scoring position. The Mets could convince a team that Byrd’s stats are negatively skewed as a Met, considering he has an unbelievable 1.013 OPS on the road.
If the Mets plan on getting value for an aging veteran like Byrd, they must rely on stats like that to achieve the ultimate goal of convincing a team a player is more valuable than he actually is.
If Byrd continues to heat up, there will almost certainly be rumors surfacing with his name involved.
Byrd has a cheap contract, is hitting .327 in June, plays solid enough defense in right field and hustles every play. Scouts and GMs will pick up on that.
By no means is Byrd a franchise-changing player, but he could be a valuable role player for an end-of-season push for another team. The Mets will not contend this season so have no reason to hold onto Byrd's value.
Of all players on the current Mets roster, Byrd is the most likely to go.
Stats and/or info via: ESPN.com, mlb.com, baseball-reference.com