Are Mets Buyers or Sellers?

Quick question for you: are the Mets buyers, or sellers, with the trade deadline looming? Why or why not?

I’m asking because my boss at ESPN has asked that I provide a short post for the SweetSpot Network on whether the Mets are buyers or sellers, and an explanation. I imagine that any outsider would take a quick look at the Mets’ record, roster, and the NL East and guess that they are sellers, but those who are closer to Flushing might see things differently.

That said, I pose the question to you, in the hopes you can help me put together this piece for ESPN. Let me know what you think in the comments, with supporting reasons. Thanks very much — the article will be up on ESPN on Thursday, so it’s a quick turnaround. I sincerely appreciate your input!

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. sphinx July 2, 2014 at 9:32 am
    Hi Joe,

    I have been reading and enjoying your commentary on the Mets for a couple of years now, thank you!

    Believe the Amazins should be sellers. No reason to keep expensive players like Chris Young and Bartolo Colon. Colon may have pitched well enough to attract reasonable offers, at the very least another team will take most of the responsibility for salary. We won’t get much for CY alas. If a good offer for controllable, near major league ready prospects comes across in exchange for DMurph, I hope that Mr. Alderson “pulls the trigger.” on that one.

    My reasoning is that so much of the present lineup needs improvement, it would take all of the Mets’ top prospects in trades and even then the team would likely fall short of the playoffs. Better to boost the farm and start getting the top young players (ala Nimmo, Syndergaard, Cecchini etc) ready to make the leap to the show.

    Another reason I call the Mets sellers is that they should not be in the business of taking on more expensive contracts. They have Granderson, Wright and Niese, they will have to give arbitration raises to several players (including Murphy if he stays), and they have to prepare for future large contracts (Harvey, Wheels etc).

    Finally, looking to the offseason, perhaps with some budget flexibility the team can sign an actual shortstop.

  2. Frank July 2, 2014 at 10:05 am
    We have stopped caring.

    As you can see.

    • Frank F July 2, 2014 at 10:46 am
      Frank, you have hit the nail on the head. This is a hopeless organization! How long until the NFL begins it’s season?
  3. Reese Kaplan July 2, 2014 at 10:08 am
    We are neither. We are the kings of “Do Nothing” and will continue our reign. Anyone with half a brain can see that Collins, Colon, Young, Young, Abreu, Tejada, Nieuwenhuis and others are not long term answers, yet there they are, trotted out, game after game, like they’re the 1927 Yankee lineup. Start with the guy whose pencil determines who plays and who doesn’t, then go from there.
  4. Joe Gomes July 2, 2014 at 10:39 am
    Sellers. And hopefully for a player that can be used right now.
  5. CleonJames July 2, 2014 at 10:51 am
    Well we all know the answer to this question. the first real question is who to sell. they only position player in the mix is Murphy and I would be a seller for a top flight middle infielder or outfielder prospect.. in terms of pitchers, we could sell Colon, Dice K to interested teams. Niese is another tough decision. He is very good but trade value is at peak and it might be interesting to see if we could get a front line outfield prospect or shortstop for a package involving both niese and/or murphy.

    Sell, sell, sell, try to recreate the Beltran type of situation where we got Wheeler.

  6. Richard July 2, 2014 at 11:06 am
    Everything is manic-depressive in reporting. I’ve got a great idea! How about a third category? Not buyers or sellers, but traders!
    • CleonJames July 2, 2014 at 11:08 am
      Richard I agree but in this case there are strategic considerations. You have a chance to exploit the desperation of certain buyers. this has served the Mets well in recent years, especially in the Beltran Wheeler trade.
  7. Andy July 2, 2014 at 11:07 am
    I agree the Mets are sellers, but sadly the available merchandise is not that valuable. They are not going to get rid of David Wright, and prob not Niese either. Maybe if a few contending teams have injuries at 2B then Murph could finally fetch a decent return.
  8. Dave July 2, 2014 at 11:45 am
    The short and unhelpful answer is the team should be both. If a player becomes available that they can get who will help them both now and in the future then it is absolutely worth it to make a trade. For the record I’m talking more on the David Price end of the spectrum than, say, the Victor Zambrano end. By the same token if a contending team is willing to give up genuine talent for one of the Mets veterans then the team should definitely pull the trigger.

    The longer form is looking at what kind of talent the Mets could expect to bring back in a trade. First of all remember that other teams have been watching the Mets play all year, so there is no chance of receiving anything of value for the Youngs. Cross that off your wish list right now. The best case scenario is getting a Colin McHugh type AAAA pitcher for Eric Young Jr.

    Last season the Mets traded Marlon Byrd and John Buck to the Pirates. Byrd was in the midst of a career year, accumulating 4.0 WAR (baseball reference version) in his time with the Mets. That’s a borderline All Star player. Buck was having a nice year for a backup catcher. The yield was a potential late inning reliever in Vic Black and a low minors second baseman who gets an honorable mention in top 10 Mets prospects lists.

    The team made no trades of note during the 2012 season but in 2011 traded Francisco Rodriguez (0.9 WAR) to Milwaukee in exchange for Adrian Rosario, currently toiling away in AA and Danny Herrera. That was also the year of the infamous Beltran (3.6 WAR) for Wheeler trade that everyone at the time thought was a heist for the Mets.

    Looking at the list of available players on the Mets you won’t find anyone of Beltran’s status on the roster. Colon (0.9 WAR so far) would probably be the closest but best case scenario is you get some other team’s second best A ball pitching prospect. Murphy is having a nice year posting 2.2 WAR so far but does not have the track record of success of a Beltran. Dice-K (0.2 WAR), Abreu (-0.1), Nieuwenhius (-0.1), den Dekker (0.2), Tejada (1.0) are the best of the rest and you’re not getting anything of value back for any of them. Teams are a lot smarter than they used to be so get mentally prepared for a couple of reliever prospects and maybe a flyer on an under the radar teenaged position prospect that can help the team in 3 or 4 years, if he helps at all.

    • Jon C July 5, 2014 at 10:54 am
      excellent post, I agree 100%

      also appreciate you supporting your ideas with numbers…people have a lot of dreams, but were not getting anything in return for what we have to trade

    • stephen didovich July 8, 2014 at 1:55 pm
      wheeler shows some flashes of brilliance
  9. Gene July 2, 2014 at 11:46 am
    This team is so unorganized in general. All I heard was that the Mets were going to win 90 games this year. I guess its still possible being that the NL East is what it is (The Braves don’t show me a lot other than their past success}. The lineup changes are comparable to backyard baseball I played in the neighborhood. Unfortunately, the players on the Mets are considered professional players while the neighborhood kids just wanted a chance to hit clean-up. Terry Collins must be taking that approach since his lineup changes significantly every day. Chris Young is a total bust but he starts every day. Bobby Abreu in the starting lineup on a semi-regular basis: you have to be kidding me. Bobby Abreu at 40+ years old starting!!! I have a suggestion: sit or waive Abreu and keep Nieuwenhuis in the club house to develop, and hire Abreu as your batting coach or possible part-time player/batting coach. Let’s face it; The Mets suck at hitting and the coaching staff apparently can’t help or remedy the situation.
    The Mets are lucky they locked-up Wright for the future or he would be bolting to a an organized team with a business plan.
    I have the MLB TV package and usually it takes until August until I can’t wait for football, but I want football now.
    Fire the manager now if you still think you have a chance to be competitive this year. When is Joe Maddon’s contract up?
  10. Paul July 2, 2014 at 12:10 pm
    I expect the Mets to hold on to what they have, because Sandy Alderson has shown every inclination in the past to try for the “respectable” final record rather than cash in his chips unless he feels he can get an overwhelming return.

    We can all see that the Mets are more than one or two pieces away from winning, even in the relatively weak NL East. And I don’t see any players on the current roster that are likely to bring back the level of talent Alderson probably is going to look for.

  11. Howard July 2, 2014 at 12:37 pm
    Fire Collins – He has made the same stupid moves for 4 straight years, the man has taught nothing. He speaks of fundamentals but still his teams failto execute a bunt play or a rundown, post game its the same dumb expression and no accounatability from ownership or the classless GM as well. Trade CY, Tejada, Colon and the the kids play
  12. Bat July 2, 2014 at 1:25 pm
    I know you are required to ask this question of your readers Joe but it is almost a joke. The Mets…as buyers because they are legitimate playoff contenders? I’m not buying that and judging from your commentary, neither are you. I don’t care how few games they are out of the WC race; you have to look at how many teams they would have to get hotter than and leapfrog.

    We should definitely shop Colon, Abreu, and Dice-K as these aging veterans could very well be in decline next year when the Mets are (ostensibly) going to be better.

    The tougher call is Murphy. He’s the only guy on the team in recent years – including Wright in this conversation – who seems totally unfazed by CitiField. Get rid of the only guy who is unfazed? Again, tough call because I think his value will never be higher than it is right now and you could probably play Flores there next year with Dilson Herrera or Flores the 2B in 2016.

    One thing that Alderson has done fairly well is get good value in trades (other than the Pagan deal) so I feel reasonably confident that Murphy will be on the team next year or he will sell high, and both of those two mutually exclusive alternatives are okay with me.

    If you could sell high on Murphy for a slightly better return than Herrera and Vic Black, which is what Alderson got for Byrd and Buck last year as Dave correctly pointed out, I think you’d have to think hard about doing that and using Murphy’s likely $8 or $9 million salary next year for an OF or SS with Flores playing 2B and maybe Herrera come in the future.

    Sorry to be a downer in respect of some of these posts above, but no one is trading anything of value for CY.

  13. Dan Capwell July 2, 2014 at 2:05 pm
    How about Cellar-s?

    The fans are Bye-rs?

    See what I did?

    • Joe Janish July 3, 2014 at 8:48 pm
      I used it in the ESPN piece – awesome!
  14. Bat July 2, 2014 at 2:12 pm
    Hahaha, good one Cap!

    The fact that I just wrote that the Mets may be better off jettisoning Murphy in order to have the money to improve SS or OF in the offseason made me sad after I pushed “Send”.

    How pathetic…on the day that the Yankees are reportedly going to spend $25 million on international free agents plus luxury tax, we are talking about how the Mets may need to get rid of their second best hitter in order to have the cash to improve another position on the major league team.

    This is New York sports???


  15. DanB July 2, 2014 at 3:13 pm
    Why can’t the Mets be buyers? Their one asset is young pitchers in the minors. Their biggest need is MLB ready players. So why are we talking about selling off the few trade worthy chips the Mets have on the major league roster for more pitching prospects? Is winning the AA championship a goal? What is really sad is that if the Mets do trade Murphy, it will not be to improve the team but to avoid his contract in arbitration. Really? $80 million payroll and the Mets can’t afford to overpay a million or two for Murphy? I am not his greatest fan but if he goes, who plays second? And if the Mets do sell off for prospects, why are stockpiling pitchers? Every team, it seems, now has a stockpile of young good pitchers. Their trade value is going down! If the Mets had traded Beltran, Byrd, etc.. for more position players then pitchers, they would be in a much, much better position right now. The Mets always seem to be trying to win using a plan that is already played out.
  16. Bat July 2, 2014 at 3:46 pm
    I agree with most of what you said DanB except that Byrd was traded for a position player – Herrera – who is having a fantastic year and his stock is rising quickly. Black was also included in that deal but Herrera was the (slightly) more highly-regarded prospect.

    It does feel like the Mets are in a perpetual state of rebuild but I am not sure that acquiring one or even two MLB players in exchange for minor leaguers will put the Mets in the playoffs. I think the Mets are further away than that in my opinion.

    • Dan B July 3, 2014 at 10:12 am
      I agree that the Mets need more then one or two players. But I don’t expect any team to acquire three or four impact players in one year. Eventually the Mets will have to take step one towards rebuilding the MLB roster.
  17. Howard July 2, 2014 at 4:12 pm
    I really don’t care what they do with CY – Trade – sell release or kill he sucks end of story
  18. Craig July 2, 2014 at 4:16 pm
    I have been just to flabbergasted at the teams play and their ability to find new ways to lose to post for a week or so.

    Collins is the culprit, he undermines player confidence, his constant line-up changes are infuriating because they make no difference on the outcome. He’s another coach firing or reporter question about his decision making away from a catatonic state [blowing all his circuits at once – like in Anaheim]

    Bring in a new manager who likes younger players and watch the winning difference the rest of the season.

  19. Jonathan July 2, 2014 at 5:15 pm
    Definitely Sellers. I know there is a ton of Mets fans that are dying for the Mets to win right now, but lets build the team right for the long-term, not the short-term. Lets all face reality and get some assets back in this sellers market.

    How about packaging Murphy and Colon to Oakland (who badly needs both a 2B and a starter) for our future shortstop in Addison Russell.

    Or Murphy and a reliever to the O’s for Eduardo Rodriquez a LHP prospect that fits our system needs.

    Then lets play Flores everyday, put Montero and Syndergaard in the rotation and see what sticks. Maybe even let Collins go and see if Backman can manage for real.

  20. friend July 2, 2014 at 5:26 pm
    The Mets should sell the Brooklyn Bridge to anyone interested.
  21. argonbunnies July 2, 2014 at 7:14 pm
    Preseason projections had the Mets as a 73-74-win team. The team has done little to make any objective viewers rethink that — yeah, their run differential is closer to .500, but they haven’t had any huge breakouts from young players to change expectations. There have been equal parts nice performances and disappointments, and after 80+ games, they’re still that same 73-74-win team.

    They have no hope of the playoffs, and Mets fans aren’t encouraged by a few extra wins in a non-contending season. There’s no reason at all to hold onto assets who won’t help in the future.


  22. Original Met July 2, 2014 at 7:58 pm
    The Mets should be buyers, not because they have any shot at contending this year, but because they are hopeless without either two impact bats or one serious impact bat in the next couple of years, and the competition for such bats will be fierce in the off-season. They must be willing to deal from their wealth of pitching prospects – knowing they in effect hold the upper hand on the many teams who believe they are in contention this year and are desperate for more pitching to reach the promised land. Using this leverage could land them the bats they need for ’15 and ’16.