The Biggest Issues Mets Must Address at the Trade Deadline
At the middle of June, the Mets are currently 36-32 and in first place in the NL East. They certainly look to be contenders this season, but whether they can successfully hold off the Washington Nationals and win the division or take one of the wild-card spots remains to be seen. It will not be easy and the Mets will have to be more consistent, particularly on the road, to get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2006.
Most of the Mets' core is in place right now, but injuries have certainly had an effect up to this point.
David Wright, Daniel Murphy, Jerry Blevins, Rafael Montero, Buddy Carlyle, Vic Black and Erik Goeddel are all currently on the Mets' disabled list, along with Zack Wheeler and Josh Edgin, who are both missing the entire season after having Tommy John surgery. Bobby Parnell, Dillon Gee and Dilson Herrera have also spent part of the season on the disabled list, while Jenrry Mejia is serving an 80-game suspension.
With all these injuries, plus an inconsistent lineup and bullpen, the Mets should at least look into making some deals by the trade deadline on July 31.
Here are the three biggest issues the Mets must address by the trade deadline.
For a while going into the season, shortstop was by far the Mets' biggest offensive concern. But despite his below-average defense, Wilmer Flores has made up for it with his bat by hitting 10 home runs, which is tied with Lucas Duda for the team lead. This should be enough to put the shortstop debate to rest.
But with David Wright's injury and subsequent diagnosis of spinal stenosis, the Mets captain may be prone to more back problems for the rest of his career. However, Mike Vorkunov of NJ.com has reported that Sandy Alderson believes Wright's return to the Mets could happen after the All-Star break.
Nothing has been set in stone for this to happen as Wright continues to rehabilitate. But with the possibility of Wright not being the same type of player going forward that he once was, it might be time to look for another potential solution at third base this season.
One third baseman who could be on the market is Todd Frazier of the Reds. With the Reds struggling this season, they could look to move Frazier for a package of prospects and younger talent. The Mets have plenty of young talent on both the major league and minor league levels, so a trade between the two teams could work if both squads are interested in making it happen.
Of course, waiting for Wright to return would be the popular alternative here, but if he were to get hurt again later in the season, it would be a huge blow to the Mets. The Mets cannot continue to have Ruben Tejada and Eric Campbell playing third base regularly when they can do better.
That probably won't last too much longer, though, being that Daniel Murphy could return in a matter of days to play third base for the time being. But his bat is a better fit at second base, despite the presence of Dilson Herrera, who is a much better defender.
All in all, the Mets have a conundrum to work out in the infield, and trading for a power bat like Todd Frazier could certainly help the Mets offense be more productive.
Another concern at times has been left-handed relief in the bullpen. Alex Torres has a 2.55 ERA in 29 appearances, while fellow southpaw Sean Gilmartin has a 2.01 ERA.
Both of them have done pretty well so far this season and then there's Jerry Blevins, who has been out since the middle of April with a broken forearm and still has not been allowed to throw at all.
The Mets could look to acquire a veteran left-handed reliever on the trade market but could also just stick with Torres and Gilmartin, both of whom have shown a lot of potential.
The Catching Conundrum
This is a different kind of problem the Mets have. Now that Travis d'Arnaud is healthy and playing regularly, Kevin Plawecki's role has been cut down to that of a backup catcher. And then there's also Anthony Recker, who has been a backup catcher for the team since 2013.
There are three options the Mets can take with Plawecki. The first option is keeping him around as one of two backup catchers, which in a way is somewhat unnecessary. The second option is to demote him to the minor leagues, which could have already happened, but apparently that decision has yet to be made. It's probably the best option for Plawecki to play regularly, which is what he needs to do.
The third option is to trade Plawecki, which probably would only occur if the Mets were acquiring a major upgrade of some sort. So unless the Mets are blown away with a particular offer that fits one of their needs, Plawecki will likely remain in the Mets organization.
Having three catchers on the roster limits the additional infield, outfield and bullpen depth that the Mets could have, so while this isn't a trade deadline need in regards to acquiring a better player, it's just as important to try to deal with this before the trade deadline, if possible.
All statistics shown are courtesy of MLB.com.