The July 31 trade deadline could be a great opportunity for the struggling New York Mets to add some much-needed young talent.
Currently five games back in the National League East and three games back in the Wild Card race, the New York Mets playoff hopes are beginning to fade.
General manager Brodie Van Wagenen built this club with the intention of contending in 2019. While they got off to a good start, they have been hovering at or below .500 for much of the season.
If the team decides to market their top-end pieces, they could receive a haul of young talent that could benefit the club for years to come.
And make no mistake about it, this team definitely has some pieces that teams around the league would call about.
We’ll break down some of the possible destinations and trade packages for the Mets’ most attractive assets if they do indeed decide to sell.
Prospect rankings are courtesy of MLB.com.
Noah Syndergaard to the Texas Rangers
Surprisingly, the Texas Rangers are currently occupying the second Wild Card spot in the American League. With the Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians and Oakland Athletics all only one game back of them, they could use an upgrade in their rotation. Mike Minor‘s emergence has been one of the best stories in 2019, but he alone won’t be enough to carry this club deep into October.
- Rangers receive: Noah Syndergaard
- Mets receive: OF Leody Taveras; LHP Taylor Hearn; RHP Ronny Henriquez
In order for the Rangers to acquire Syndergaard, it would likely require either RHP Hans Crouse (their No. 1 prospect) or Taveras (#6). We’ll go with Taveras as the headliner for this package. A switch-hitter, Taveras is the cousin of former big leaguer Willy Taveras. Just 20 years old, he is already one of the best defensive outfielders in the minors and has the arm to stick in center field. After slashing just .253/.315/.351 in his first three professional seasons, he has taken his game to a new level in 2019. The speedster is slashing .306/.372/.403 at High-A Down East.
Possessing a mid-90’s fastball, durability has always been the concern with Hearn (#10). He has been able to stay injury-free since 2017 and flashed improved command in 129 innings in 2018. He is tracking toward remaining a starter, but his fastball could play up even more if he heads to the bullpen.
Still shy of his 19th birthday, Henriquez (#30) is another hard-thrower dripping with potential. He has touched 98 MPH and routinely sits at about 94 MPH with heavy sink. Not expected to reach the bigs until 2023, Henriquez has a 32/6 K/BB ratio at Low-A Hickory.
Zack Wheeler to the New York Yankees
I realize trading with the Yankees isn’t something Mets fans are very fond of, but hear me out.
With James Paxton recently returning from the IL, and C.C. Sabathia and Luis Severino currently shelved, the Yankees need a healthy starter to help eat some innings. After missing all of 2015 and 2016, Wheeler has been durable for the last two-plus seasons. This has been especially true in 2019, he has thrown at least six innings in six of his last nine starts.
Set to be a free agent at the end of the year, Wheeler likely won’t command a top-flight prospect in return.
- Yankees receive: Zack Wheeler
- Mets receive: RHP Nick Nelson; OF Josh Stowers
This deal would be very similar to the one that netted the Red Sox Nathan Eovaldi last year.
Nelson (#11) misses a lot of bats and gets a lot of ground balls thanks to his 94-98 MPH heater. The biggest question is his ability to throw consistent strikes. He’ll likely be in the big leagues as a starter as soon as 2020, but could be up sooner as a reliever.
Stowers (#25) projects as an outfielder with the ability to post a high OBP and steal double-digit bases. Presently a center fielder, he will likely move to left field at the major league level. His arm is below-average and doesn’t have elite instincts. Still, a possible 15 HR/15 SB outfielder would be a nice piece for the Mets to add.
Steven Matz to the Milwaukee Brewers
Much like with Gio Gonzalez, the Brewers could jump on Dallas Keuchel once the MLB Draft concludes. If he proves too pricey, expect them to explore the trade market.
- Brewers receive: Steven Matz
- Mets receive: RHP Freddy Peralta; LHP Aaron Ashby; player to be named later
Freddy Peralta is a name that fans are likely to be familiar with. Peralta has struggled as a starter, but has found success out of the bullpen. In four relief appearances, he has posted a 2.19 ERA and a 2.19 BB/9 rate. He is only 22-years-old, so the Brewers might be hesitant to part with him. However, Matz has flashed tremendous upside and is not eligible for free agency until 2022.
Ashby (#9) boasts arguably the best curveball in the Brewers’ system and is now sitting 91-94 MPH with his fastball. He projects as a back-of-the-rotation lefty, but could pan out even better with improved strike-throwing. Expect him to reach the majors in 2021.
Barring a sudden turnaround, selling seems to be the best option for the Mets future. Agree/disagree with my trade packages? Let me know on Twitter @TeddyRydquist.