The New York Mets are on their way to putting up one of the most disappointing seasons in modern baseball history. After winning 101 games last season and raising the team's payroll to the highest value in MLB history, the team finds in a consistent debacle.
On the way to the trade deadline, the team is at the crossroads of whether to go as buyers and improve the team to compete for a playoff spot or to sell and start a rebuild. Within this ambivalence, the fans are desperate and expect drastic and radical changes that would not be consistent with the reality of the team and the expectations for this year and the next.
As disappointing as this season has been, a fire sale is not the answer to improving the Mets roster
The Mets could take a radical course and start selling every possible player, including Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander. However, the areas of baseball operations are less passionate and focus on the best course of action taking into account the roster you have.
It's unrealistic that the Mets sell these types of players for several reasons. First, the value of these pitchers is not at an optimal level which limits the possible return, and second, getting multiple replacements at the top of your rotation would be difficult, taking into account the upcoming free agency market, if you want to compete in 2024, and Steve Cohen intends to compete.
At the same time, it is difficult for the Mets to compete this year, so being a buyer would be out of common sense. Therefore, the best course of action would be to sell those rental players or veterans with only one year of additional control and get the highest possible return on prospect and MLB-ready talent.
While many available players won't be top-of-the-market players by the deadline, they could make a nice return for the Mets around August 1st. This is not intended to say that the Mets should not listen to all possible proposals from all the players on the team, that is the correct move that any organization would make, but intending to make a large-scale rebuild and competing in 2024 would not be compatible.
The Mets' real and achievable option in 2023 is to sell those vets and rentals, take on some bad contracts from organizations desperate to lower their payroll, and focus on testing their prospects after the deadline. This would give the team a clear vision to look forward to in 2024 and adjust in free agency after this season.
As difficult as it may seem, this team has a lineup capable of returning to its 2022 form and a rotation with experienced aces capable of correcting what is necessary to return to better shape next year. The Mets will do this at the trade deadline and will be ready to compete in 2024.