After five straight seasons of missing the playoffs, the New York Mets have returned to respectability this season. The Mets sit at 59-37 and atop the NL East, and as the August 2 trade deadline approaches, they are still trying to improve.
On Friday, the Mets acquired DH Daniel Vogelbach from the Pittsburgh Pirates in a deal that included right-hander Colin Holderman.
On Sunday, Vogelbach got his first hit as a Met, and New York went on to defeat the San Diego Padres 8-5.
The addition of Vogelbach, who has 12 home runs and 34 RBI this season, adds some potency to a Mets lineup. New York may not be done, either. Not long before the Mets acquired Vogelback, they were linked to Washington Nationals first baseman/DH Josh Bell.
"Mets would like Josh Bell, while another league source says Astros pursuing him," Andy Martino of SNY tweeted.
The rumors of New York's interest in Bell continued after the Vogelbach trade, too.
"As sources tell me and Michael Marino, the Mets are one of several teams that have sent a trade offer to the Washington Nationals for first baseman/DH Josh Bell," Pat Ragazzo of FanNation wrote on Sunday. "The deal would see the Mets send an upper-level minor league starting pitcher and outfielder to Washington in exchange for Bell and a big-league relief pitcher."
While Ragazzo doesn't give specifics on the relief pitcher, bullpen depth is rarely a bad thing. More importantly, though, Bell would be a big offensive asset, even with Vogelbach on the roster.
The argument against adding Bell is this: doing so would leave New York with three positional first basemen in him, Vogelbach and All-Star Pete Alonso. That's a lot of talent at a single position.
Managing that talent could be tricky. However, it would also give manager Buck Showalter some intriguing options heading into the stretch run.
While Vogelbach is a fine slugger, his batting average of .229 isn't great. Bell (.302) is a more consistent hitter who also happens to bat both ways. With 13 home runs and 51 RBI, Bell doesn't sacrifice power for consistency, either. Having both would give Showalter options at DH and the opportunity to adjust to specific matchups.
It would also give New York the opportunity to give Alonso the occasional night off while keeping two productive bats in the order.
Adding Bell would further boost an offense that already ranks eighth in runs, which would be beneficial for a couple of reasons. One, it would help New York continue winning while pitchers Trevor May and Jacob deGrom rehab. Two, it would ensure that the Mets can go bat-for-bat against the league's best in the postseason.
It's been a relatively quick turnaround for the Mets, who just two years ago won a mere 26 games. They're now in the thick of the World Series race, but they're not going to run away with the division.
New York is just one-and-a-half games up on the defending champion Atlanta Braves. The Mets should have no interest in getting into the postseason as a wild card.
It only makes sense to go all-in at the trade deadline.
Other teams will be doing the same, and some of them—Martino mentioned the Houston Astros—undoubtedly have one eye on Bell. New York should be inclined to make a strong push for him now before the opportunity to add another force at the plate passes.