Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
Earlier this week, in a post here titled This IS the Plan, I said the Mets are going to try to make two rounds of acquisitions over the next few weeks, at least that’s what league sources have told me. The first attempt would come sooner than later, they said, as Sandy Alderson works to bring in one or two veterans to help short-term on the 25-man roster. I assume Eric Young Jr. being added counts as part of this phase, though I still think they’re looking to bring in a first baseman, so Daniel Murphy and Lucas Duda can stick at their “regular” positions.
The only guy people say is available and would make sense is Twins 1B Justin Morneau, who is due $14 million this year, after which he can be a free agent. However, I can’t find any evidence that Sandy Alderson is interested in him. And, if he is, he has Yankees written all over him. All signs indicate the Mets are actively trying to put an every-day first baseman on this roster, with their own Triple-A infielder Zach Lutz as their back-up plan.
I’ve heard on a few occasions that the Mariners are looking to move OF Franklin Gutiérrez, who the Mets had checked in on back when talking to Seattle about Jason Bay. However, he doesn’t play first base. But, if Alderson is still looking for a fill-in, low-risk outfielder, he could again be an option.
The second phase will be an effort to trade minor-league pitching for an established bat, under contract, probably around the time of the July 31 Trade Deadline.
The good news is that teams seem to value Alderson’s top pitching prospects, specifically Noah Syndergaard. Also, there is interest in Bobby Parnell, though the Mets keep saying publicly that Parnell will not be traded. I’ll believe that when I see it.
My hunch, still, is that Dodgers OF Andre Ethier is Alderson’s best shot at acquiring a proven outfielder. He’s not having his best season, but he has a track record, and the Dodgers seem motivated to move him and willing to pay a portion of his contract to make it happen. In addition to obligatory rumors connecting the Mets — and most other teams — to Rockies OF Carlos Gonzalez and Marlins OF Giancarlo Stanton, I think we may also hear Alderson connected to Padres OF Carlos Quentin, assuming San Diego flips to selling.
In either case, this summer’s trade market is shaping up to have a lot unexpected sellers, from the Blue Jays to the Phillies to the Brewers. This could make acquiring a pending free agent a lot easier, but could force teams like the Marlins and Rockies to hold off on trading top hitters until the off season when more teams can be involved.