COMMENTARY | Now that the calendar has flipped to July, the big focus in Major League Baseball is the non-waiver trade deadline on July 31st. Earlier this season, New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said he was expecting to make a deal for an impact player on offense. Reports are now surfacing New York will not be a buyer or a seller this month, and stick with the roster they currently have.
If Alderson decided to trade some major league talent in order to get young offensive players under team control, he could potentially have five players to choose from.
It's been real hard for the Mets to find productive relief pitchers in recent years. The one exception has been Bobby Parnell. He was anointed as the closer to start 2013, and hasn't disappointed. In 41 innings pitched (40 appearances), the right-hander is 5-4 with a 2.41 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 16 saves, and 35 strikeouts.
I recently wrote the Mets should consider trading Parnell if the price is right, especially for a young outfielder like Jackie Bradley, Jr. or Nick Castellanos. However, consistently competitive teams have a reliever that can shut the door in the ninth when there is a lead. Parnell provides that for the Mets into the future, and I don't see him leaving Flushing any time soon.
The signing of Marlon Byrd went under the radar back in February; Alderson was trying to find possible solutions to the outfield after being unsuccessful in his pursuits of Wil Myers and Justin Upton. Byrd has been a pleasant surprise in right field, and has produced a .266/.310/.488 line with 13 home runs and 43 RBIs at the plate.
Byrd's situation sounds similar to the one with Scott Hairston last summer; the Mets decided to hold onto Hairston because his production was more valuable to the team than what they'd receive in a trade. I think the same holds true in Marlon's case, and he only gets traded if a team is willing to give up an impact prospect.
The first two months of 2013 weren't kind to Dillon Gee; he posted a 3-6 record with a 5.71 ERA through April and May. His start against the New York Yankees on May 30th began turning his season around; he struck out 12 hitters over 7.1 innings pitched in the victory. He followed that performance with a 3-1 record, 2.73 ERA, and 1.24 WHIP in June, solidifying the back of the rotation.
The Mets really like Gee and how he projects as a fourth or fifth starter in the future. That feeling has likely magnified since he's now producing at the level they thought he was capable of. At this point, I'd rather see Shaun Marcum get designated for assignment instead of a trade being made to take care of the eventual roster crunch in the rotation.
The status of Daniel Murphy on the Mets' roster could depend on the future of prospect Wilmer Flores. If the front office views Flores as having a future at second base, it would make Murphy available in the trade market. He's been streaky with the bat this year, hitting .268/.303/.389 with six home runs and 35 RBIs.
While New York won't actively be shopping Murphy right now, it's possible he could be part of an off-season trade to net the Mets an outfielder. As Flores continues to hit in Triple-A (.316/.354/.511 with 10 homers and 68 RBIs), the question as to what Murphy's future with the organization is will remain up in the air heading into the winter.
Similar to Gee, Jeremy Hefner got off to a rough start in 2013. The right-hander has watched his ERA drop from over 5.00 in May, all the way down to 3.39. Hefner's 1.64 ERA since June 4th is the lowest in the majors. Yes, that's lower than Matt Harvey.
I don't see Hefner going anywhere before the season is finished. It goes without saying the Mets will listen to any team inquiring about his services. However, Hefner's production this year will likely be more valuable in the eyes of Alderson than any prospects they'd get in return through a potential trade.
Matt Musico's Mets opinion has been featured on MLB Trade Rumors, MetsBlog, Amazin' Avenue, Mets Merized Online, and Rising Apple. He currently serves as the Executive Editor of MetsMinors.net.
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