While the New York Mets made a splash in free agency before the lockout, they are not done yet. The team has added Max Scherzer, Starling Marte, Eduardo Escobar, and Mark Canha thus far, but there are still moves to be made if the team wants to compete for a World Series Championship next season.
The team still has holes on its roster, particularly on the pitching staff, with the team needing to add to the starting rotation as well as the bullpen before the start of the season. Look for the team to scour both the trade market and free agency to fill those holes. Here are my three predictions for the team after the lockout ends:
1. The New York Mets trade Dominic Smith to the Oakland Athletics for Sean Manaea
It is no secret that the Mets have a logjam of bats on their roster, as well as a need for pitching help. Dominic Smith, Jeff McNeill and J.D. Davis have all been rumored to be on the trading block, and while the team will likely keep two of them, one of them will likely be shipped out of Flushing in order to bolster the rotation.
McNeill's versatility makes him the most valuable to the Mets, and Davis lacking a true position gives him the least trade value, thus making Smith the odd-man out. With Pete Alonso as a cornerstone player for the franchise already locking down first base there is nowhere for Smith to play. While he spent time in left field last year, he belongs at first base, and although the DH is coming to the National League, the team has plenty of options to put there.
Smith would fit in great on an Oakland Athletics team that seems to always find a way to extract the best out of players. With current first baseman Matt Olson likely being traded, Smith could fill the void flawlessly for the Athletics, while adding a bat to the lineup with some serious untapped potential. While it is unsure if Smith will ever be able to replicate the success he had in the shortened 2020 season, if anyone can return him to that form, it's the A's.
As for the Mets return, the A's represent a perfect team to trade with as they have three starting pitchers who have been linked to trade talks. Sean Manaea, Chris Bassitt, and Frankie Montas are all potential trade candidates, but for the Mets, Manaea makes the most sense. The team doesn't currently have a left-hander in their starting rotation, and Manaea would solve that problem while also filling out the back end of the rotation. The 30-year old has a career 3.86 ERA, and possesses good swing and miss stuff, which will make him a welcome addition to the rotation in Flushing.