Mets: Reaching out to the Cardinals for a trade is in their best interest

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - MAY 28: Lane Thomas #35 of the St Louis Cardinals gets ready in the batters box against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on May 28, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, ARIZONA - MAY 28: Lane Thomas #35 of the St Louis Cardinals gets ready in the batters box against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on May 28, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /

The New York Mets have been ravaged by injuries this season. The majority of their regular players are currently on the shelf, many of whom will be out of the lineup for the foreseeable future.

So far, the Mets’ replacements have not delivered any tangible results. Cameron Maybin, who the team acquired from the Cubs, barely can buy one hit. Minor leaguers Johneswy Fargas, Khalil Lee, Jake Hager, and Wilfredo Tovar were similarly ineffective despite their occasional magnificent defensive plays.

Even with the Mets acquisition of Billy McKinney from the Milwaukee Brewers, the Mets should not be done adding to their team. Although McKinney will slide into center field while Brandon Nimmo is on the shelf, the team could still use another major league-caliber outfielder. Like McKinney, the Mets could use another outfielder who can carry them through this period of upheaval, but who can accept a bench role once Michael Conforto, Albert Almora Jr., and Nimmo return from the IL.

The New York Mets outfield is set to get Kevin Pillar back in the lineup, but they could still use one more outfielder as June arrives.

Therefore, the Mets should look at teams that have tremendous outfield depth, who have capable outfielders that are simply the odd men out on their teams. Because of how early the season is, the Mets will find it difficult to trade with teams since all 30 major league clubs are still mathematically alive and very few would be sellers at this point.

One team that stands out is a contender in 2021, but they have an abundance of outfielders who are capable of filling in while the Mets regulars are off the field. That team is the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Cardinals have a large group of young and veteran outfielders in their system, and not enough places to fill them. With Harrison Bader, Dylan Carlson, and Tyler O’Neill securing the starting outfield spots on the team’s roster, that leaves one, maybe two spots for players such as Lane Thomas, Matt Szczur, Austin Dean, Scott Hurst, and Justin Williams. As a result, one of them could certainly be dangled in a trade, and that would be mutually beneficial for the Cardinals and Mets: The Cardinals could fill a position area where they have less depth, and the Mets will get an outfielder who will (at least in the short-term) receive more playing time at the major league level.

There is one player that makes the most sense to me. That player is Lane Thomas, even though it is uncertain whether the Cardinals would deal him. Initially drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the fifth round back in 2014, Thomas found himself traded to the Cardinals early in his career. Although Thomas’s bat has not yet come around, he is known for being a solid defender out in the outfield and has spent time at all three outfield positions. Many scouts view him as a fourth outfielder, which would make his role on the Mets clear. Once the Mets outfield is completely healthy, Thomas would slide in back to being a reserve and could potentially replace Almora Jr. as the team’s fifth outfielder because of the latter’s offensive struggles.

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Although the Mets are set to get Kevin Pillar back against the Diamondbacks, the Mets could still use another outfielder to fortify the team’s bench. Lane Thomas, who is seeing playing time hard to come by in St. Louis, might welcome a chance to come to New York where, at least in the short-term, he would be able to receive the playing time he seeks to establish his value at the major league level.