The MLB trade deadline of August 2nd at 6 p.m. ET appears to be fast approaching and trade rumors are starting to fly. Given their success in the first half of the season, the Mets find themselves at the center of plenty of rumors.
However, it can sometimes be hard to make sense of which rumors are totally off the wall and which are based on some semblance of truth. Below we’re going to take a look at the most common Mets trade rumors of the last week and discuss just how logical or likely that trade might be.
We’re not necessarily going to predict which trades will happen, but we did that earlier today for all the biggest trades at the deadline, so feel free to check that out here.
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Juan Soto – OF, Washington Nationals
We have to start with Soto because all MLB trade rumors are centered around Soto now, and rightfully so. He’s a generational talent that any team would be lucky to have.
As we discussed in our last podcast episode, the idea that the Nationals are in the same division as the Mets shouldn’t have much of an impact on the likelihood of the trade. With the current postseason format, four teams from the same division can make the playoffs, so the Mets having Soto wouldn’t severely impact the Nationals’ ability to make the playoffs over the next few years.
What would impact that possibility is that the Nationals don’t figure to be very good. Since Soto is only signed for two more years, it’s possible the Nationals could trade him to the Mets but then see him on the Yankees or Red Sox or somewhere else in two years’ time. If the Mets make the best offer, the Nationals aren’t going to reject it because they play in the same division.
But will the Mets make the best offer? There has been some speculation that the Mets are not interested in including their top prospects. If the Mets aren’t willing to part with two of Francisco Alvarez, Ronny Mauricio, and Brett Baty, it’s unlikely they would be able to get Soto.
RATING: Not a need but logical because it’s freaking Juan Soto, but doesn’t seem overly likely. I put the odds at 70/30 Soto stays in Washington for now.
Josh Bell/ Nelson Cruz – 1B/DH, Washington Nationals
If the Mets can’t get the Nationals to part with Juan Soto, then turning their attention to either Josh Bell or Nelson Cruz makes sense.
The Mets have a desperate need for production from their designated hitter spot. So far this year, Dom Smith is hitting .194/.276/.284 with no home runs, 17 RBI, and 11 runs in 58 games. J.D. Davis hasn’t been much better, with a triple slash of .234/.325/.345 with three home runs, 19 RBI, and 25 runs. That’s simply not going to cut it for a team that has goals of winning a World Series.
For many reasons, Bell is the preferred option to Cruz. Bell is putting together a tremendous season, hitting .311 with 13 home runs, 50 RBI, and 49 runs scored. He’s also a capable first baseman, which would give the Mets the ability to let Pete Alonso get some rest days in the designated hitter spot without seeing any downgrade at first base or in the lineup.
Nelson Cruz, on the other hand, would never see the field. If Pete Alonso was at DH then Cruz would be out of the lineup. The veteran has also slowed a bit of late, hitting .242 with eight home runs, 48 RBI and 39 runs this season. (Did you know he has three steals? WHAT!?).
New York has actually hit for more power against right-handed pitching this year, so adding a left-handed bat is not a priority. Josh Bell will also require a bigger prospect to acquire since he’s the younger and, at this point, more talented hitter. The cost shouldn’t be prohibitive for the Mets, but they might decide that Cruz is a good enough option to make the team better but not force them to sacrifice the future.
RATING (BELL): Extremely logical, and, I believe, the likely option
RATING (CRUZ): Also extremely logical, but I think less likely given his poor performance
Trey Mancini – 1B/OF, Baltimore Orioles
In the same vein of acquiring designated hitter help, the Mets have been linked to Trey Mancini in trade rumors. If they can’t make a deal for Josh Bell, Mancini would seem to be their next target. The 30-year-old is hitting .277 with nine home runs, 37 RBI, and 35 runs. He can also play both first base and outfield which would give New York plenty of lineup flexibility.
The two issues standing in the way are that the Orioles are just 4.5 games out of the playoffs, and Mancini the heart and soul of that franchise. After battling back from colon cancer last year, Mancini has become even more of a fan and clubhouse favorite, and the franchise would certainly face backlash if they dealt him. With this being the best Baltimore team we’ve seen in years, it’s possible the team decides to hold onto Mancini and make a playoff push.
RATING: Pretty logical and somewhat likely
Daniel Vogelbach – DH, Pittsburgh Pirates
Over the last few days, perhaps no player has been linked to the Mets more often than Daniel Vogelbach. The case for Vogelbach is simple. We already covered above that the Mets have a need at DH. The Mets could also use that spot to add more thump to a lineup that’s 14th in the league in slugging percentage, 17th in home runs, and 12th in OPS.
Those are areas where the left-handed-hitting Vogelbach shines since the Pirate (who was an All-Star this year by the way) has 12 home runs, a .430 slugging percentage, and .769 OPS at the break. He also has an 11.7% barrel rate and 44.4% hard-hit rate, which are both above league average.
Another feather in Vogelbach’s cap is his career 15.4% walk rate. In fact, his tremendous patience at the plate has led the Pirates to lead him off often against right-handed pitching. New York would certainly not do that, but knowing that he can work a count and is not likely to strike out often is a plus. However, his .213 career batting average and poor defense at first base are not ideal when thinking about where he slots in among the Mets’ priorities.
RATING: Pretty logical, not overly likely
C.J. Cron – 1B, Colorado Rockies
Rounding out the first base targets for the Mets is C.J. Cron.
— SNY Mets (@SNY_Mets) July 21, 2022
However, there are a couple of things that make this less likely for me. For starters, Cron is signed for $7.25 million for next year, which means the cost to acquire him in a trade would be much higher than any of Bell, Cruz, Mancini, or Vogelbach.
The other factor working against Cron is his poor home/road splits. Coors Field is the best hitting environment in the league, and Cron is flourishing there. However, on the road, Cron is hitting just .229 with five home runs, 16 RBI, a .399 slugging percentage, and .695 OPS in 40 games. Would the Mets really want to pay the cost to acquire a hitter that might take weeks to adjust to no longer playing his home games in high altitude?
RATING: Somewhat logical, but not likely.
David Robertson – RHP, Chicago Cubs
The Mets need bullpen help. Edwin Diaz has been lights out, but there are tons of question marks behind him. The team is 9th in baseball with a 3.46 bullpen ERA, but they are 20th in home runs allowed and 25th in strikeout rate, which shows you how poor the strikeout numbers of the other relievers are since Diaz has an elite 18.08 K/9.
Adam Ottavino was signed to be a late-inning option, and he has a fine 2.52 ERA on the year, but he has six “meltdowns,” which is a Fangraphs stat for when a reliever hurts his team’s chances of winning. Ottavino’s six trails both Seth Lugo and Drew Smith, who have seven.
Lugo has not been the pitcher we’ve known in the past. In 2022, he has a 3.82 ERA and hasn’t been able to give the Mets consistent multiple innings as he did in the past. Drew Smith has shown flashes of being a strong reliever, but he has a major home run issue, allowing 1.8 bombs per nine innings.
Meanwhile, David Robertson has come back from injury and been elite in the Cubs’ bullpen. He’s pitched to a 1.93 ERA while registering 13 saves and putting together a 31.8% strikeout rate. He also has 22 strikeouts in 17.1 innings that were deemed “high leverage,” and is allowing just a .094 batting average against with runners in scoring position. That would make him an ideal late-inning complement to Edwin Diaz, and one that we’ve been talking about for weeks now.
RATING: Highly logical and very likely
Andrew Chafin – LHP, Detroit Tigers
Chafin is another name we’ve been discussing for weeks because all of the Mets’ bullpen issues mentioned above are amplified when it comes to left-handed relievers. The Mets have been stuck with Chasen Shreve (6.49 ERA) and Joely Rodriguez (4.67 ERA). Rodriguez has had major command issues, allowing 5.67 walks per nine innings, while Shreve is allowing 2.05 home runs per nine innings. Neither man can be trusted in key situations.
Chafin, meanwhile, has a 2.45 ERA and 29.2% strikeout rate on the year. His 7.5% walk rate means he has a strong 21.7% strikeout-minus-walk rate. He has also allowed just a .194 batting average against with runners in scoring position and a .188 average against in situations that were deemed high leverage. He’d immediately become the best lefty in the Mets’ bullpen by a good margin and give them another pitcher who is not afraid of tense late-game situations.
RATING: Highly logical and fairly likely
Jorge Lopez – RHP, Baltimore Orioles
We’ll end with Jorge Lopez because there have been many trade rumors circling the Orioles’ closer, but with him still having two more arbitration years, it seems unlikely the Orioles deal him unless they get a haul in return. With the Mets really needing a designated hitter, I think it’s far more likely they make a big swing on a bat and make more reasonable trades for bullpen help.
RATING: Highly logical and not likely