Jul 30

Free Agents The Mets Could Keep

The trade deadline is always an interesting time of the baseball season because of its potential for October, but there is a twinge of sadness this year for the Mets because it signifies an end. There will be no playoffs for the Mets and for some players – such as Lucas Duda – their time in Flushing will be over.

Of will it?

BRUCE: Hope they bring him back. (AP)

BRUCE: Hope they bring him back. (AP)

The players the Mets are currently shopping will be free agents this winter, which begs the question: If they are unable to trade them, which players should they bring back?

Addison Reed: Imagine a bullpen of him, Jeurys Familia and AJ Ramos. Throw in Jerry Blevins and that’s potentially a killer bullpen. Of course, that would run into some money which the Mets won’t want to spend. Too bad, but didn’t they say they plan to compete.

Jay Bruce: Reportedly, there isn’t much interest in him, which could be a good thing if it makes it easier for the Mets to re-sign him, which they should because they will need his left-handed power. I hope they bring him back.

Curtis Granderson: He’s been a terrific Met and I’ve enjoyed watching him. A contender needs a left-handed bat with pop coming off the bench, but with Brandon Nimmo, there’s little chance of bringing him back even though he is a pro’s pro.

Asdrubal Cabrera: To hear manager Terry Collins talk about him, he’s invaluable. But, that’s more likely a commercial aimed at other teams to drum up interest. The Mets are more likely to bring back Jose Reyes as Amed Rosario‘s mentor.

Rene Rivera: The catcher’s version of Cabrera would benefit any contender. Since it appears Kevin Plawecki has fallen out of favor, the Mets could use a veteran back-up presence for Travis d’Arnaud, who may also be falling out of favor.

Neil Walker: Since he just came off the disabled list, there probably hasn’t been much interest. The Mets gave him a qualifying offer because they needed a second baseman and weren’t willing to give him a long-term contract. That hasn’t changed.

Jul 29

Reed Waiting For Phone To Ring

This has to be an excruciatingly frustrating time for Mets closer Addison Reed. He’s a Met today, but could be a Dodger, or a Brewer, or a Diamondback, or on a half-dozen other teams tomorrow or Monday.

The Mets’ acquisition of A.J. Ramos from Miami on Friday, practically assures they will deal Reed by Monday’s deadline. If they don’t, he’ll be a free agent this winter because there’s no way the Mets will bring him back – at over $7 million – and Ramos – at over $6 million – to work out of the same bullpen with Jeurys Familia (over $7 million).

Those three, along with Jerry Blevins, would give the Mets a formidable bullpen, but we know they won’t spend that kind of money. So, Reed just bides his time waiting for his cell phone to ring.

What the Mets hope to do is swap Reed for a couple of prospects to make up for the two minor leaguers they traded to Miami for Ramos, just to get an extra year of reliever coverage for $1 million cheaper.

“As far as I know, I’m still here,’’ Reed told reporters in Seattle. “So, I’m going to keep pitching. Whenever the phone rings and they call my name, I’m going to be ready to go.’’

With Ramos expected to join the Mets in time for Sunday’s game, you can count on Reed not pitching Sunday as to not risk injury which would short-circuit any deal.

In replacing Familia, Reed has been superb this season with 19 saves in 21 opportunities with a 2.57 ERA.

Jul 27

Mets Do As Well As Can Be Expected In Duda Trade

Since they weren’t going to bring back Lucas Duda anyway, the Mets did about as well as could be expected in today’s trade to Tampa Bay for Triple-A pitching prospect Drew Smith.

Duda had been linked to the Yankees and Seattle, and with the Rays, he has a chance to make the playoffs for a third straight season.

DUDA: Traded to Rays. (AP)

DUDA: Traded to Rays. (AP)

It wasn’t too long ago that the Mets chose Duda over Ike Davis, both high-strikeout first basemen with plenty of power. Duda ranks seventh on the Mets all-time homer list with 125. While it is unfair, Duda’s Mets’ legacy will be his wild throw to the plate in Game 5 of the 2015 World Series.

“I’m excited to join the Rays. They’re in the hunt,’’ Duda told reporters in San Diego. “Kind of mixed emotions. There are guys here I’ve grown pretty close to, and [the Mets] are a first-class organization. I was very proud to be a New York Met, and I’m gonna be very proud to be on the Tampa Bay Rays.’’

With his power, Duda would fit in well with the Rays, who have the DH in the American League. He is hitting .246 with 17 homers and 37 RBI.

Trading Duda opens the door for Dominic Smith’s promotion to the Mets from Triple-A Las Vegas, but until he gets here they have other options, namely Jay Bruce, who is in the lineup tonight in San Diego, T.J. Rivera, Wilmer Flores and even Neil Walker. Playing Bruce at first also enables the Mets to play Curtis Granderson in center, until they trade him.

“I’ve heard a lot of good things about Dom,’’ the ever classy Duda said. “I hope he becomes a 10-year All-Star.’’

Duda will be a free agent this winter.

In Smith, 23, the Mets will add to their bullpen, which will be important especially if the Mets are successful in dealing Addison Reed. Smith was a third-round pick by Detroit in 2015 and traded to Tampa Bay in April. He has pitched for four minor league teams in the Rays’ organization and compiled a 1-2 record with a 1.60 ERA and seven saves in 31 games.

 

Jul 27

Interest In Mets’ Assets As Trade Deadline Nears

Once again, the Mets haven’t been able to trade Jay Bruce, and that could turn out to be a good thing. Bruce’s year suggest he could bring a lot in return, and even he said the “Mets would be crazy,’’ not to trade him. That could help the Mets in the long run if they are able to re-sign him in the offseason.

Reportedly, Colorado had interest in both him and Addison Reed, but they likely won’t move on the latter after acquiring All-Star closer Pat Neshek from the Phillies for three prospects.

BRUCE: Little interest. (AP)

BRUCE: Little interest. (AP)

Perhaps the Rockies won’t be able to meet whatever the Mets are asking for after what they paid in prospects for Neshek. The Mets say they believe they will be able to compete next season, so that means they prefer players who are major league ready. However, the Rockies, who would be in the wild-card if the season ended today, won’t want to weaken their current 25-man roster by trading multiple players for Bruce.

From his perspective, Bruce, who has 25 homers, knows he could be an asset to a team, and recently told Newsday, “I feel like this is the most consistent I’ve been, which is huge. I pride myself on playing every single day, preparing, being ready to go, being the guy you can count on to post, and being a quality piece to a winning team. Individually this year, so far I’ve done that.’’

Bruce, a free agent this offseason, will make $5 million over the balance of this year. That, plus a player, could make for an expensive rental. It also must be remembered that Bruce’s production must be replaced if the Mets are to be competitive in 2018.

Whether the money goes to Bruce or his replacement, it should cost more than the $13 million he is getting this year.

Not surprisingly, Reed has drawn the most interest as closers always generate a premium. The Mets have also received calls about Reed from Milwaukee, the Dodgers and Boston.

Reed will also be a free agent this winter, and with how well he’s replaced Jeurys Familia, will likely command a contract in excess of the $7.75 million he’s making this year. The Mets are hoping Familia, who is making $7.425 million this offseason, will rebound from surgery to remove a blood clot in his shoulder, and won’t want to spend over a combined $15 million for the back end of their bullpen.

Of course, if they expect to contend, they’ll need to replace Reed, and there’s no guarantee Familia will return to his 40-save form.

In addition to Reed, Boston inquired into Asdrubal Cabrera, because they are unsold on 20-year-old prospect Rafael Devers at third base. T.J. Rivera and Wilmer Flores are also on Boston’s radar.

Also, calling the Mets are the Chicago Cubs, who are asking about Seth Lugo and catcher Rene Rivera.

Lugo is 5-2 with a 4.10 ERA in eight starts, with the last three being defined as quality starts [at least three runs in six innings or more]. Lugo came up in the second half last year to help the Mets get into the playoffs.

He entered spring training this season as depth for the Mets’ “young and vaunted rotation,’’ but started the year on the disabled list after being injured in the World Baseball Classic.

However, considering Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler and Robert Gsellman currently on the disabled list, and Steven Matz pitching poorly, the Mets shouldn’t be all that eager to deal Lugo.

The Cubs’ interest in Rivera stems from cutting ties with Miguel Montero in early July.

There has been no reported no to little interest in first baseman Lucas Duda, outfielder Curtis Granderson and infielder Jose Reyes.

The Mets hope things could change between now and Monday.

 

Jul 27

What’s Wrong With Matz?

When will Steven Matz’s current troubles develop into a reason for physical concern from the Mets? Over his last four starts, Matz has a staggering 14.18 ERA, but worse, hasn’t worked longer than five innings. He’s 0-3 with a no-decision in that span.

MATZ: What is wrong? (AP)

MATZ: What is wrong? (AP)

Speaking of numbers, he spent the first two months of the season on the disabled list with elbow inflammation. This after pitching the first four months of last year with a bone spur in his elbow, and spending the last two months of the season on the disabled list with a shoulder tightness.

Perhaps the Mets pushed him last season or this year, that’s highly plausible and he aggravated something. Perhaps he hit a wall and has a dead arm. That seems likely because manager Terry Collins said there’s no movement on his fastball.

It is fast, but straight. A pitcher needs movement, location and velocity to be successful, with the last being the least important.

“The ball is down the middle,’’ Collins said. “You look at a lot of the replays of the hits, they were center-cut. We have to get the ball off the middle of the plate.’’

Matz seemed to have a decent curveball, and previously said throwing the slider stings his elbow.

Matz said, “I feel good and healthy out there, so there is really no excuses for my pitching.’’ You can plug that same quote next to Matt Harvey’s name, or Noah Syndergaards, or Zack Wheeler’s.

Of course, both Collins and GM Sandy Alderson have also said similar things.

I suggested something could be wrong after Matz’s last start. Now, I am convinced. The point is four straight stinkers from a pitcher usually signifies something isn’t right with the arm. The only question is: When will the Mets admit it?

The only question is: When will the Mets admit it?

ON DECK:  The latest Mets’ trade rumors.