Prior to yesterday’s victory over the Colorado Rockies, New York Mets’ General Manager Sandy Alderson met the media to give a state of the union about his club. Alderson conceded that the Mets will be selling at the trade deadline unless they play “exceedingly well” over the next few weeks. Exceedingly well figures to be at least an 8-2 homestand that features a sweep of the Rockies, who the Mets are chasing for the second wild card spot and currently trail by seven games in the all important loss column. The schedule isn’t that difficult for the Mets over the next few weeks, but they have dug themselves such a hole that a dominant run is required to avoid a sell off.
Alderson was quick to point out that the Mets aren’t planning on trading players who are under team control beyond this season, noting this wasn’t a “tear down” or total rebuilding effort. In other words, unless the Houston Astros are willing to give up Carlos Correa in season their dreams of getting Jacob deGrom will remain just that. Even if the Mets can manage to crawl their way back into the race, they still could look to ship off an outfielder to help clear the logjam right now. Michael Conforto had a big night last night and reminded everyone that he needs to play every day, and with Yoenis Cespedes busting out of his slump with a four hit night the offense could start clicking again.
The more likely scenario is the Mets waste the easy schedule and find themselves roughly seven games out of a playoff spot at the deadline, leading to the sales from Alderson. The Mets have yet to show this season that they can sustain excellent play for more than a week at a time, and it has been rare for them to put together strong showings when anyone other than deGrom starts. deGrom doesn’t pitch again until Wednesday, so the Mets will need the rest of the staff to pitch “exceedingly well” in order to avoid a sell off. If not, the Mets can try and do what the New York Yankees did a year ago by dealing off excess veteran players for prospects. The Yankees had a six week surge of strong play after they sold as Gary Sanchez and several other young players brought some much needed life to the team, nearly leading them to the postseason anyway. The best case scenario for the Mets is that they sell a few pieces and the major league debuts of Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith breathe life into the clubhouse, propelling them into a surprise playoff push. Even if that doesn’t happen, the switch to get younger and more athletic should excite the fan base, which has been calling for Rosario to make his debut since mid-April.