This past weekend, Sandy Alderson said again that the Mets will be ‘buyers,’ as he prepares for the July 31 trade deadline, despite the team falling below .500 for the first time this season.
However, “Realistically, the next seven, eight, 10 games become important for us,” he further explained.
The reality is this, though most Mets fans would like to imagine otherwise: Tim Byrdak, Jon Rauch, Daniel Murphy and Lucas Duda all have very little in-season trade value right now, at a time of year when contending teams are mostly looking to improve their big-league roster.
However, the Mets could easily find a taker for Scott Hairston, if they decided to move him. The thing is, at best, the Mets would get back one less-than-exciting minor leaguer, who could actually be first labeled a ‘player to be named later,’ depending on the other team’s roster situation.
This lack of assets makes it easy for Alderson to repeatedly say the Mets are ‘buyers,’ simply because he doesn’t have many options if he wants to be a ‘seller.’ The Mets are not trading RA Dickey and David Wright, who they’d like to sign to contract extensions in the off season. Johan Santana might have had value, but now on the disabled list, in year one after major shoulder surgery, and due at least another $30 million, he’s pretty much unmovable at this point.
So, what does Alderson do?
I bet he finds a taker for Hairston, who he will replace on the roster with Mike Baxter, who should be due back from the disabled list sooner than later. Byrdak could get moved too, though not for much… At the same time, I see no chance Alderson trades away a player in Double-A or above. However, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him take on salary and move a Single-A player or two to get Ramon Hernandez and a reliever from the Rockies, since both would be under contract and useful in 2013. This way, he could defend his comments about being a ‘buyer,’ while also essentially putting pieces in place for the following season, which also fits in with his long-term plan.
In regards to the rest of the roster, I’m eager to see what happens with Jason Bay. There are some fans and media demanding the Mets do something big to demonstrate they are financially viable, such as sign Wright or Dickey to an extension now, trade for a big player, etc… But, those are things are tricky to do in season and they aren’t moving big-time prospects in trades. So, an alternate way of slamming a new flag in the ground could be done by cutting Bay, who has just four hits in 20 plate appearances since returning form his most recent trip to the DL.
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