The Mets have drained the barrel at Syracuse, leaving the onus on the front office to make some moves. These starters can help via trades.
The Mets can call it a push to welcome Jeff McNeil and Michael Conforto (activated for last night’s game) against the loss of Joey Lucchesi, Robert Gsellman, and Jeurys Familia, the lastest casualties headed to the Injured List (IL).
The assault continued last night when Marcus Stroman had to leave his start against the Braves in the second inning with a bothersome hip. Updates are not available at this time.
The difference this time, though, is the Mets cannot turn to their minor league system, and in particular the Triple-A team in Syracuse for replacements.
The Syracuse Mets currently have the worst record of all teams in the International League, winner of only eleven games in 41 tries, and losers of twelve straight.
With no help there, the onus falls on Acting Mets Gm Jake Scott, and in turn, Steve Cohen to open up the purse in pursuit of a bonafide centerfielder and a minimum of one starting pitcher.
While the centerfield spot is a must for the regular season and into the playoffs, the addition of starters can be geared solely to the regular season as insurance for the Mets to nail down the NL East division.
Mets: Potential Trade Targets
Following are a few potential trade targets the Mets should look at pursuing.
As always, any addition will require subtraction from the Mets roster, but I’m not going to get into that because that depends on the needs of particular trade partners.
Today, we’ll begin with three proven major league starting pitchers, all of whom are in their walk year before becoming free agents.
Danny Duffy, Age 32, Royals SP
At the moment, Danny Duffy has one of the best ERAs in the American League (1.94). He’s 4-3 with decisions in all of his seven starts.
Royals manager Mike Matheny announced that Duffy, who went on the injured list May 17 (retroactive to May 14) with a left forearm flexor strain, will start the second game of a three-game series in Yankee Stadium.
Rarely injured before this, Duffy averaged between 23-28 starts each year 2014-2019.
Duffy’s salary this year is $15.5 million, and he is in the final season of a five-year deal.
Duffy is in his eleventh major league season, and he has never played for a team other than the Royals.
He’s your classic left-hander at 6’3″, 205 lbs. Until this year, his best season was in 2016, when he went 11-3. Duffy will average eight strikeouts and three walks per nine innings pitched.
Given the Royals slide in the AL Central, with little or no chance of catching the Indians or White Sox, it figures that Kansas City will be sellers, with Duffy as their chief bargaining chip.
Dylan Bundy, Age 28, Angels SP
Dylan Bundy was once the talk of baseball when the Baltimore Orioles made him their first pick (4th overall) in the 2011 College Draft out of his high school in Oklahoma.
Bundy never quite blossomed over six seasons in Baltimore, failing to develop any consistency from start to start.
Of course, some of that was due to the teams the Orioles were fielding behind him from 2016-2019, topped by two consecutive seasons of 100+ losses in Bundy’s final two years in Baltimore.
This year, Bundy is averaging six innings over five starts. He’s 1-7 with a 6.68 ERA, so there’s nothing to write home about there.
Signed by the LA Angels to a one-year deal worth $8.325 million, Bundy again finds himself mired with a team going nowhere. Stuck in a division with the Astros and A’s, if the Angels can climb above the surprising Mariners, they can be judged to have had a good season.
For the Mets, Dylan Bundy, minus the injuries, can be seen as taking a flyer as the Yankees did on Corey Kluber. The Mets know Bundy can pitch in this league, and he is still in the beginnings of what is considered a pitcher’s prime at 28.
The Angels will not trade Bundy to recoup any money – they have plenty of it, so it’ll be up to the Mets to sweeten the deal with a player or two to their liking.
Jon Gray, Age 29, Rockies SP
Jon Gray is in his seventh season with the Colorado Rockies. He’s nine games over .500 (48-39) in his career.
Durable, Gray has made twelve starts in 2021, with a 4-6, 4.29 ERA. From 2016-2019 (no one counts 2020), Gray topped 150 or more innings in three of those four seasons, going 10-4 in the other year (2017).
Pitching in Denver is no pitcher’s dream, so his lifetime ERA of 4.52 can be considered normal at Coors Field.
Again, for the Mets, they are looking at a team going nowhere after dumping their best player, Nolan Arenado, to the Cardinals. Mired in fourth place and 17.5 games removed from first place, and in a division with the Dodgers, Padres, and Giants, the Rockies have nothing to lose in trading Gray.
The Rockies would likely ask for prospects from the Mets, but not top ones, assuming Gray’s moderate value on the open market next year.
The Mets will also be looking at paying only a portion of Gray’s modest $6 million salaries this year – depending on what point in the season the trade is consummated.
Like Duffy, Gray is coming off a short stint on the IL but is expected back soon.
Jon Gray (right flexor strain) made a rehab start for Triple-A Albuquerque on Sunday, tossing four innings. On Tuesday, he threw a side session in Seattle, which Rockies Manager Bud Black saw.
It went well, so, as a result, Black said that the Rockies are currently “making decisions” on their rotation in Milwaukee, signifying that Gray could be activated off the 10-day IL when the team is in Milwaukee this weekend.
Mets: Summing Up
I’m sure you winced and maybe even chuckled when you saw that two of three starters are coming off the IL, and none of them have a respectable ERA this year – like, what is this guy thinking?
I’m thinking that there is an upside for the Mets with each of them, not the least of which is they are playing for some downright awful teams going nowhere this season except to play the games out.
Motivated to be with a team like Mets, in a pennant race and on their way to the playoffs, cannot be overestimated.
For the Mets, trading for any of these pitchers is no different than the risk they took in signing Taijuan Walker, who was on and off the IL from 2017-2020.
Of the three, I would prioritize Danny Duffy as the Mets’ first choice, followed by Jon Gray and then Dylan Bundy.
Duffy will pitch somewhere other than Kansas City this year, and he is likely to be the most sought-after starting pitcher soon or at the trade deadline.
The Mets need to get in line now…
Here’s What Readers Are Saying…
Michael Oneil At this point, We can’t make emergency trades. We need to keep everyone We can, but also have every option available. We can’t touch the #BenchMob to get a rental arm. Yes, we’re in a bad way right now, but We need to look at the whole picture, not just the view from the panic room. This is a new franchise, with a #PandemicToughNY attitude. We’re No longer the #WilfraudMets,, We need to remember that. Trust Uncle Steve,, We Will Survive!!! #LGM
Keith Potter Call an old friendBartolo Colin is still throwing and I’m willing to bet can still give you innings. Bring him for a look, who is it hurting?
Nathan Laurent I’d go after (Sonny) Gray if he’s healthy. Former Rockies seem to be better than you think when they leave Colorado.
Neal Maxson If Duffy comes back healthy he’d be a great target, but I agree with Nathan Laurent, I’m a big fan of Gray as well and think he’d be a great addition to our staff. Bundy, I would stay away from