The major league baseball trade deadline is rapidly approaching (July 31), and it should be very interesting to see how active the New York Mets will be in the next seven days.
New York has been playing much better lately—the Mets are 11-7 in July—so will they definitely be sellers? If so, who are they most likely to deal?
Interesting questions indeed.
Let's gaze into the crystal ball and predict what New York's post trade deadline lineup will look like once the calendar turns to August.
New York Mets' Post Trade Deadline Lineup
1. LF Eric Young
2. 2B Daniel Murphy
3. 3B David Wright
4. RF Marlon Byrd
5. 1B Josh Satin/Ike Davis (platoon)
6. CF Juan Lagares
7. C Anthony Recker
8. SS Ruben Tejada
Looks pretty familiar, right? Look a little closer though. Where is catcher John Buck? How about shortstop Omar Quintanilla?
Now is the time to trade Buck while his trade value has improved recently. After a dismal May and June, the 32-year-old backstop has hit .298 in July to up his average from near the Mendoza Line to its current .222 mark.
The 10-year veteran has belted 14 home runs and has driven in 49 runs this season and has had a fine defensive year overall behind the plate. His value is on the rise presently so now would be the time for the Mets to deal Buck for a decent prospect.
Young catcher Anthony Recker can step in behind the plate until top prospect Travis d'Arnaud is ready. D'Arnaud was cleared to play in minor league games Monday and is expected to compete in his first rehab contest Thursday.
D'Arnaud suffered a broken left foot while catching for Las Vegas on Apr. 17. He has yet to make his major league debut. Mets fans are hoping that debut is not too far away now.
As far as Quintanilla is concerned, the El Paso, Texas native has done a fine job filling in for Ruben Tejada since Tejada last appeared in a Mets game on May 29.
The problem is that Quintanilla has played almost every inning at shortstop since then and appears to be wearing down. He is mired in a 1-for-17 slump and his batting average has slipped to .223. He is a career .222 hitter and is also 31 years old.
There isn't much upside there.
Tejada, on the other hand, is still just 23 years old and has been playing well for Las Vegas in Triple-A. The slick-fielding shortstop is batting .333 in 78 ABs for the 51s. That's still a very solid average even in the robust hitting climate of the Nevada desert.
Although Quintanilla has filled in capably for the most part, Tejada needs to play the rest of the season for New York. Although he is hitting a meager .209 for New York this season, the Mets have to see whether Tejada is the answer at shortstop for their franchise.
For now, though, not much is happening on the trade front. That can change quickly, as general manager Sandy Alderson told ESPN New York:
Sometimes things happen early. Sometimes they happen late. But very seldom does anything happen in between. We're kind of in that in-between period right now. So, as we move closer to the deadline, things will pick up. But we've had very little in the way of conversations.