5 Mets storylines to watch for the second half of the 2022 season

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Francisco Lindor Mets
New York Mets’ Francisco Lindor celebrates with teammates after scoring on a one-run double by Pete Alonso during the fourth inning in the first baseball game of a doubleheader against the Chicago Cubs in Chicago, Saturday, July 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

The second half of the Mets’ 2022 season begins on Friday. While they hold a lead in the National League East, it’s a foregone conclusion that the roster could still undergo some major changes before Major League Baseball’s Aug. 2 trade deadline. 

1) Juan Soto watch

Juan Soto Mets trade rumors
Juan Soto (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

The Nationals could begin exploring the possibilities of trading their transcendental outfielder after he turned down a 15-year, $440 million extension and the Mets reportedly are exploring the option of going after him.

New York certainly has the young talent to sweeten the Nationals’ return, whether it’s the No. 2 overall prospect in baseball, Francisco Alvarez, and the No. 20 prospect in Brett Baty. The Mets have five top-100 prospects and the funds to take on an albatross contract in Patrick Corbin, who has woefully underperformed in DC.

It all boils down to whether or not Nats GM Mike Rizzo will want to make this blockbuster with a divisional rival and if the Mets will have to pay an extra tax to get the 23-year-old.


2) Jacob deGrom’s return

Jacob deGrom injury update
Jacob deGrom (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)

It’s been over a calendar year since deGrom toed the rubber at the major-league level as various injuries — most recently a stress reaction in his right scapula — have left the Mets without the best pitcher in baseball. 

Originally slated to come back either this weekend or Tuesday against the Yankees, soreness in the shoulder area has pushed things back just a bit. Given how cautious the team has been with him — and rightfully so — what version of deGrom will we see and how long can his body hold up? Anything near the 2018-2019 version of him is an immense bonus for a rotation that could use depth as it is. 


3) What will happen at DH, catcher?

Willson Contreras Mets trade rumors
Willson Contreras (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

The Mets are getting nothing from their designated hitter spot in the lineup as JD Davis and Dominic Smith have underwhelmed in their last opportunity to prove that they can be everyday players. It’s one of the main reasons why the Mets offense has sputtered at times over the last month. 

Options are available, whether it’s in the form of Nelson Cruz and Josh Bell of the Washington Nationals or Trey Mancini of the Baltimore Orioles. It all depends if the Nationals — like Soto — would make a deal with the Mets while the Orioles are playing just well enough to provide a second thought on potentially dismantling the roster.

If the Mets can get a competent DH, they can live with the black hole that is the lack of offensive production coming from the catcher’s spot. James McCann and Tomas Nido both have OPS’ under .600. But their relationship with the pitching staff is even more important.

Should the DH search come up empty, you could see them pivot to Willson Contreras of the Chicago Cubs. 


4) Bullpen boost on the horizon?

Edwin Diaz
Edwin Diaz (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

The Mets are lacking a competent bridge to Edwin Diaz in the ninth inning as well as a consistent left-hander after recent struggles from the likes of Seth Lugo, Drew Smith, and Joely Rodriguez.

This is a need that is just as important as a bat to ensure that they can preserve late-inning leads — especially when the stakes begin to ramp up. 

Names like David Robertson and Andrew Chafin could be ones to watch in the coming weeks.


5) Fending off the Braves

Jansen has been called to the 15-Day IL
(AP Photo/Todd Kirkland)

The NL East is coming down to a two-horse race between the Mets and Atlanta Braves as the Philadelphia Phillies continue to fade.

After taking two of three games before the All-Star break in a huge series in Atlanta, New York is going to see a ton of its rival down the stretch. 

They host the Braves for a five-game series from Aug 4-7 before going to Atlanta just eight days later for a four-game set. 

In total, they face each other 12 more times over the final 69 games of the season.

For more Mets coverage, visit AMNY.com

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