Mets are reportedly interested in Upton and Gomez

By Danny Abriano

With the non-waiver trade deadline two weeks away, the Mets are reportedly expressing interest in Justin Upton of the Padres and Carlos Gomez of the Brewers.

Earlier this week, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reported that the Mets would not likely be trading for an outfielder. A day later, Marc Carig of Newsday cited a Mets source who said the team refuses to rule out anyone (no matter the position) as a potential acquisition at this point.

The Mets are at or near the bottom of the National League in every offensive category, and their need to acquire a hitter to bolster the lineup is arguably higher than any other team that’s in contention.

Upton, who is a free agent after the season, is hitting .253/.321/.422 with 14 home runs and 48 RBI so far this season for San Diego.

Gomez, under contract through 2016, is hitting .273/.322/.450 with eight home runs and 48 RBI for Milwaukee.

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Seeing the Mets linked to two players who would potentially be difference-makers is exciting, and the team certainly has the pieces necessary to obtain either Upton or Gomez if they so choose.

Arguments can be made for bringing in either Upton or Gomez, but Upton is the player who would likely cost substantially less in terms of pieces going the other way.

With Upton set to become a free agent after the season, any team that acquires him would be prohibited from making him a qualifying offer after the season. That issue should bring his price tag down further. Upton is also trending well below his career norms in terms of OBP and SLG, putting San Diego in an even weaker position when it comes to what they can acquire for what amounts to a two-month rental.

Gomez, who is one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball on top of being an offensive threat, would likely cost substantially more than Upton. If the Mets are prepared to shut Juan Lagares down due to his elbow woes and insert Gomez in center field, trading for him would make tons of sense. However, there’s no reason to believe the Mets are about to shut Lagares down. And trading for Gomez would likely require trading a set of prospects the Mets aren’t ready to part with.

Upton, 27, is due roughly $6 million for the rest of the season and Gomez, 29, is due even less. The Mets — even in their still less than ideal financial state — should be able to absorb either salary. The question here is whether or not Sandy Alderson is ready to buy a significant piece in-season.