The New York Mets could use some help to sustain their lead. The trade deadline is coming up quickly, with teams having to make their moves before the end of the month. That means the normally slow and plodding Mets will have to get a move on to acquire the players needed to not only sustain their lead in the NL East but make some noise in a potential post-season appearance.
The Mets have some very finite needs. Another starting pitcher would be great, even after acquiring Rich Hill earlier in the week. However, this starting pitcher should offer a bit more juice. Relief pitching is a need, to the point where we should discuss whether the Mets need one big name or should pick through the bottom of the league for multiple arms to help their chances. A middle-of-the-order bat would be grand, as it would slot in perfectly behind a scorching Pete Alonso.
So with that, we have an idea of what we want, but some targets will make more sense than others as always. Let’s talk about one player that should be a must-add for the Mets and one player that the Mets should avoid.
One player the Mets should acquire: Jose Berrios, Pitcher, Minnesota
This offseason, the Mets chose to acquire pitching depth. This season is a reason why not only should we continue to do so moving forward but why – it isn’t easy to go through a 162-game season with just five starters. Joey Luchessi suffered a Tommy John injury, David Peterson broke his foot, Jordan Yamamoto has been an up-and-down arm, and we’ve yet to see Carlos Carrasco and Noah Syndergaard on a major league mound. Thank goodness for the breakout season of Tylor Megill.
The Mets added Hill, but the need is still there. Jose Berrios, perceived to be the best available starter on the market, certainly fits the bill. Berrios fits the bill as a high-level arm to slot behind deGrom. Berrios is currently 7-5 with a 3.48 ERA and solid underlying numbers this season, including a career-high strikeout rate and a career-low walk rate. Plop into the rotation, and as the team gets healthy, the idea of walking into the postseason with deGrom, Berrios, Stroman, and Syndergaard as starters would be tantalizing.
Berrios also offers a solution to a problem the Mets could face down the road.
Both Noah Syndergaard and Marcus Stroman are free agents next season, with Stroman ineligible to receive a qualifying offer after receiving one the previous offseason. Stroman’s freedom of the QO should elevate his market this offseason, let alone as one of the better, younger arms on the market this offseason. In short, the Mets could find themselves looking for another top of the rotation arm sooner rather than later.
A 27-year-old pitcher with a year of control, Berrios will cost a nice price to acquire from Minnesota. However, this is the type of player the Mets should look to acquire, and with a handful of top 100 prospects, dipping into your prospect depth to add a starting pitcher of Berrios’ level is worth it, let alone the prospect of having him on a cheap contract for the 2022 season.
To remain in the race with San Diego and Los Angeles, the Mets will have to continue to add talented players and shore up their rotation. Berrios would fit the bill.
One player, the Mets, should avoid Javier Baez, Shortstop, Chicago.
The New York Mets and Chicago Cubs are optimal trade partners, with New York requiring another bat and a reliever, and Chicago has two of the best players in both markets. In a way, the Mets could make a one-stop-shop to Wrigley, add two or three players and move on with their season.
However, I’m not exactly sure Javier Baez fits the bill. He fits defensively, as Baez’s ability to play second base, third base, and shortstop could allow the Mets to be a bit more flexible with their defense. Put him at second and move Jeff McNeil to the left. Place him at third and allow J.D. Davis to come off the bench and boost their options there. How about slotting Baez in at shortstop while Francisco Lindor is out? Simple options, and even some center field, if the Mets want to get aggressive.
That’s my biggest concern. Baez is currently batting .242/.287/.482 with 22 home runs and 13 stolen bases. He doesn’t fit the profile of a Mets position player, as he only sports a walk rate of 4.2% while having a sizeable strikeout rate of 36.5%. He doesn’t change New York’s offense that much because of his swing-and-miss profile while helping New York’s defensive flexibility.
The Mets could use another bat to juice up their lineup, but Baez’s profile as a hitter is a cause for concern and over the last two seasons, it seems like he has regressed as a hitter. Considering his status among the game and to the Cubs, Chicago won’t give him away, making him a questionable target for the Mets as they look to move forward to strengthening their N.L. East lead and a potential postseason appearance.
The New York Mets should be aggressive in the final days of the deadline as they have several needs on the roster. However, they should be a bit picky on who they should be acquiring and who they should avoid. Jose Berrios seems like a quality addition for the Mets, as they could use him as a top starting pitcher this season and cover for the pending departure of Stroman this offseason. Baez on the other hand, comes off as a bit of a concerning add, due to his batting profile, especially his swing-and-miss rates.
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With just three days left before the end of the trade deadline, the Mets have several options, let’s just hope they choose the right ones.