Should Mets Continue Pursuing DH Upgrade amid Josh Bell Trade Rumors?
The New York Mets are in the market for reinforcements ahead of the Aug. 2 MLB trade deadline.
Like many teams, they reportedly have their sights set on a power-hitting player from the Washington Nationals.
Only, in this rumor, Juan Soto isn't the player on the radar. While the Mets have been connected to those sweepstakes, they're reportedly in the running for Josh Bell, though they're not considered "front-runners" for Bell, per SNY's Andy Martino, who shared more alternative targets we'll break down in a second.
The focus, it seems, is juicing an offense that entered Monday ranked 19th in the majors with 93 home runs. More specifically, they're apparently hoping to upgrade at the DH spot.
So, what options are on the table? And could the best move be no move at all? Let's explore those questions and more.
What External Options Are Available?
If the Mets want more offense, then we've got good news for Gotham: Offense should be available.
Bell is a good place to start, as the 29-year-old could be of little use to Washington with the franchise preparing to plunge into a Soto-less rebuild.
Bell, an All-Star in 2019, is enjoying his best season since then with a .305/.388/.496 slash line to go along with 13 homers and 51 RBI in 96 games.
Should he prove too cost-prohibitive to acquire, though, there are other options. Martino reported "the sense is they have a better chance to land Trey Mancini, C.J. Cron or even Willson Contreras." Martino also tossed J.D. Martinez into the mix "if Boston decides to sell."
In other words, this is far from being a Bell-or-bust situation. Any trade comes with a not-insignificant cost, though, so might standing pat be the way to go?
The Internal Options
If you're reading this speculation about the Mets pursuing a DH and thinking, "Wait, didn't this already happen?," you're not wrong.
Just last week, New York brokered a deal for left-handed masher Daniel Vogelbach by sending rookie reliever Colin Holderman to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The issue with Vogelbach is he's purely a platoon option. While he has raked against righties to the tune of a .261/.367/.528 slash, he's been virtually punch-less against southpaws (.141/.267/.156).
In fact, if the Mets add someone who wouldn't need platooning, they could actually dangle Vogelbach, whom Martino noted "attracted widespread interest" ahead of the deal.
Beyond Vogelbach, New York has other imperfect options on the roster. J.D. Davis is limited defensively and has just three homers in 63 games. Dominic Smith is sidelined by a right ankle sprain and wasn't hitting a lick before the injury (.194 average, zero homers in 134 at-bats). Travis Blankenhorn handled DH duties on Friday and was designated for assignment a day later.
Is It Time for A(nother) Trade?
In a word: absolutely—or absolutely*.
The asterisk, of course, signifies all of the unknowns that could ultimately shape the front office's decision. Like, just how available are the players Martino mentioned? How many other teams have interest in those players? What will that interest do to their trade cost?
Assuming reasonable price tags, though, New York should focus on adding at least one more bat to the mix before the deadline passes.
This team is, objectively speaking, tremendous. Entering Monday, the Mets were one of four teams with a .600-plus winning percentage (.615 to be precise) and ranked fourth overall with a plus-82 scoring differential. And remember, New York has only gotten 75 innings from Max Scherzer so far and none from Jacob deGrom, who could make his final minor league rehab start on Wednesday.
The Mets, arguably, have as much incentive as anyone to buy, since they otherwise have all the markings of a top-shelf contender. If they can only find a platoon partner for Vogelbach, that could work. If they sniff out someone who slugs against righties and southpaws, that's even better.