Up-for-grabs AL and NL Central Division races could be a problem for the needy Mets

May 25, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA;  New York Mets manager Buck Showalter (11) stands on the
May 25, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; New York Mets manager Buck Showalter (11) stands on the / Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The MLB trade deadline is the event fans of teams like the New York Mets are most looking forward to because it’s that last Hail Mary to improve the roster. For a couple of reasons, those big Mets rumors we’re all looking forward to seeing may never come to fruition.

Expanded playoffs in MLB make it so there are far fewer sellers than there used to be. The single wild card era gave us the best split of buyers and sellers. When the one-game playoff was added, a few more teams had hope of sneaking in. MLB has since added a third playoff spot which debuted last season. It gave us a glimpse of what could happen in the future with a few teams, like last year’s Baltimore Orioles, playing well but realizing they couldn’t win a championship.

This year’s Orioles will surely flip the switch and buy. The same could be said about nearly every team in the AL and NL Central. Congested with a bunch of teams not much better or even worse than the Mets, plucking players from those two divisions might not be so possible after all.

Dreams of Mets rumors involving teams like the White Sox and Cardinals may have to be put on hold

The AL Central has been especially obnoxious. A loss for the Minnesota Twins yesterday pushed them to 31-32. Despite this, they lead the Cleveland Guardians and Chicago White Sox who’ve fallen and have a chance to get up.

The NL Central does have the Milwaukee Brewers at the top and a surprisingly better than expected Pittsburgh Pirates club. The Mets get to see them this weekend and discover whether or not they’re the real deal. The Cincinnati Reds are surprisingly in third with the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals in the rear. Could one of them get hot and catch the Brewers? They won’t necessarily have to. They just need to be the sixth-best team in the National League; an identity the Mets may have to accept as theirs this season.

Less than two months separate the present from the close of the August 1 trade deadline. By then, fewer games to play catch up will have clubs deciding they should indeed sell. Others who we’ve counted out may come storming back and actually possess one of the playoff spots.

For a team like the Mets who need several upgrades, the choices of teams to turn to for a deal could be slimmer than we had hoped. This means higher bids for players and a whole lot of faith in the front office. Yikes!