This time last year, the Mets and the Cubs made a deal at the trading deadline that sent outfield prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong to Chicago in exchange for a half-season of Javier Báez, as well as Trevor Williams. Báez put up a 143 wRC+ as a Met, but it was not enough to save the Mets from free falling out of playoff contention. Báez is now struggling as a Tiger and Pete Crow-Armstrong is considered one of the top prospects in the Cubs organization. Meanwhile, Trevor Williams has been an important contributor to the Mets this season, stepping up to fill in while injuries plagued the Mets rotation and also serving as a long man out of the bullpen. So, in a way, it was ultimately a deal that worked out pretty well for both sides.
This season, the two teams may be trade partners again, as the Cubs sit in last place in the NL Central and in possession of pieces that very much address the Mets’ roster needs, while the Mets have a fight ahead of them with the Braves for the NL East crown. Specifically, the Mets are discussing a deal with the Cubs that would send three-time All-Star catcher Willson Contreras and reliever David Robertson to Queens in exchange for “multiple top prospects,” according to reporting from Pat Ragazzo of Sports Illustrated. However, Ragazzo’s sources say that the Mets are only offering a package that does not include top prospects Francisco Álvarez and Brett Baty, who remain “off limits” in the discussions.
A deal is not yet close, but Contreras has become a focus for the Mets, who are clearly committed to adding another bat at the deadline in addition to Daniel Vogelbach. With James McCann still sidelined with an oblique injury, Contreras’ ability to either DH or catch is an asset to the Mets. Contreras is also having a career season with the bat, having posted a 137 OPS+ in the first half. With talks with the Nationals involving Josh Bell having cooled off, it seems that Contreras or Orioles’ 1B/OF/DH Trey Mancini are the avenues that the Mets are most aggressively pursuing at the moment. Which one ends up panning out (if any) will likely depend on price and the fruition of a trade for one of the two bats would likely take the other off the table. Mancini’s ability to play the outfield in a pinch is something that makes him a good fit for the Mets’ roster, which is lacking a legitimate fourth outfielder.
David Robertson—a rental, as is Contreras—would also help shore up deficiencies in the Mets bullpen, which is lacking a reliable setup man for Edwin Díaz. Acting as the Cubs’ closer this year, the 37-year-old has racked up 14 saves, pitched to a 1.83 ERA, struck out 50 batters, and accrued 2.3 bWAR in 39 1⁄3 innings of work. In addition to the impending return of Trevor May, adding Robertson to the roster would certainly be a huge boost to the Mets’ bullpen.
Of course, this situation is fluid and things can change rapidly, as they often do nearing the trading deadline. But on paper, the Cubs and Mets are a match made in heaven.