If the Mets had been able to ride the six-game winning streak that they put together at the beginning of this month, they might have been able to seize an opportunity to get back into the Wild Card race. With the Diamondbacks and Marlins having won just two of their past ten games, two of the National League’s three Wild Card spots look more attainable for the rest of the league than they did just a couple of weeks ago.
The Mets, however, did not take advantage of that opportunity, a common theme during their frustrating 2023 season. Since rattling off a six-game winning streak to begin the month of July, the Mets are 4-7, and they sit 7.5 games back of the last Wild Card spot in the league—with the Padres, Cubs, Phillies, and Marlins all in between them and that spot.
Given that reality, the team should be approaching the August 1 trade deadline as sellers. Things have been trending that way for quite a while now, and we already looked at three candidates for the Mets to deal: Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, and David Robertson. Let’s look at a few more.
Tommy Pham: In his age-35 season, Pham is having one of the better years of his career as a hitter, as he’s currently hitting .271/.355/.472 with a 129 wRC+. He’s topped that mark in wRC+ just twice—in 2017 and 2018—and had just a 94 wRC+ over the 2020 through 2022 seasons. Signed to a one-year, $6 million contract before the season, he’s a perfect trade candidate, but he is dealing with a groin injury that forced him out of games earlier this month and last week. If the Mets had placed him on the injured list the first time, perhaps the second wouldn’t have happened—or at least not before the trade deadline. It’s hard to imagine the team getting much of a return given the uncertainty about his injury, but a contending team that needs a right-handed bat might still roll the dice on him.
Adam Ottavino: Matching what he did in 2022 was always going to be challenging for the 37-year-old Ottavino simply because his numbers last year were incredible. Despite his strikeout rate being down significantly this year, he has a 3.57 ERA in 40.1 innings of work, albeit with a fairly unsightly 4.80 FIP. The Mets signed him to a deal that pays $7.75 million this year and includes a player option at $6.75 million next year. Those numbers shouldn’t scare other teams away, though, even if the assumption right now is that Ottavino would pick up the option. There are certainly worse relievers on the rosters of some contending teams.
Brooks Raley: One of the Mets’ additions over the offseason who has worked out very well, the 35-year-old lefty is tied with David Robertson for the best ERA in the Mets’ bullpen at 2.08. He’s making $4.5 million this year, and his contract—which he signed with the Rays a season before he was dealt to the Mets—includes a team option at $6.5 million for next year. Maybe the Mets can’t see how they can field a competitive bullpen next year without him—or some combination of him and Ottavino—and decide that they can’t trade all of them. But if they can get a decent enough prospect for him, filling a bullpen spot over the offseason is not impossible.
Mark Canha: An very likable player, the 34-year-old outfielder hasn’t fared as well in his second season with the Mets as he did in his first. He’s hitting .238/.338/.381 with six home runs and a 105 wRC+. His playing time hasn’t been as regular as it was last year, but that’ll happen when there’s a significant dip in production and another player on the roster—Pham—is hitting significantly better. Still, Canha is managing to hit above league average, and maybe another team will see an opportunity for him to improve for them during their own playoff run. He’s making $10.5 million this year, and his contract includes a team option for 2024 at $11 million with a $2 million buyout.