Spectacular numbers aside, the Mets will almost certainly be in the market to add a bat (or two) at the trade deadline in early August. Sluggers like Pete Alonso and on-base machines like Jeff McNeil have remained hot, but the bottom of the lineup has largely failed to produce.
Eduardo Escobar, an All-Star last season, has struggled. The Mets’ trio of catchers — James McCann, Tomás Nido and Patrick Mazeika — have posted an OPS of .511, by far the lowest of any position group. Dominic Smith has not hit a home run since last September and recently spent time at Triple A Syracuse.
So there is room to improve. Here are three potential trade targets for general manager Billy Eppler:
Trey Mancini, Orioles. Mancini has been a star on an otherwise-dreadful Orioles team for his entire career. Mancini hit 21 home runs last year after missing the entire 2020 season with colon cancer. Mancini’s 127 OPS+ is the second-highest of any full season of his career. Mancini’s positional flexibility also allows him to play either corner outfield spot or first base, although he’s mainly served as the Orioles designated hitter this year.
Brandon Drury, Reds. Drury posted an 111 OPS+ with four home runs in 51 games for the Mets last season. He has already belted 15 home runs to go along with 37 runs batted in his first year in Cincinnati. While he did excel as a pinch hitter for the Mets (1.154 OPS in 31 pinch hit plate appearances), he also brings extreme positional flexibility. Drury has played all four infield spots for the Reds, and spent time in both corner outfield spots in New York last year as well.
Willson Contreras, Cubs. Contreras is a two-time All-Star and is having a career year, including a .383 on-base percentage. Contreras has been connected to the Mets given their need for a catching upgrade until star prospect Francisco Alvarez is ready. But Contreras is going to cost a lot as one of the best players on the market.