Yahoo Sports will be examining the New York Mets’ options at the trade deadline. Here’s the latest installment:
Back in the 1930s there existed a group of FBI agents known as The Untouchables because of their fearlessness and supposed incorruptibility in the fight against the legendary gangsters, bank robbers and bootleggers of the era.
Some 80-plus years later, the Mets have their own group of Untouchables, designated as such for different reasons. For one, among a cast of losers, they have distinguished themselves as winners.
And for another, they work cheap.
As the Mets approach the trade deadline as sellers, here are the four Mets who probably will not even be considered in trade talks:
Alonso: 270-31-71, .978 OPS
Salary: $555,000 (MLB minimum)
It would probably take a combination of Mike Trout, Christian Yelich, Cody Bellinger and say, Chris Paddack thrown in, to pry Alonso away from the Mets. And even then, it’s highly unlikely the Mets would part with the most exciting rookie they’ve had on their roster since Darryl Strawberry arrived 36 years ago.
Alonso is also the best rookie to hit town since Aaron Judge burst into the Bronx in 2017, which gives the Mets a player to compare favorably to the Yankees, one of their organizational obsessions, for the first time since some overzealous types were trying to equate Jose Reyes and Derek Jeter.
Currently, Alonso ranks third in MLB in HRs, eighth in RBI and sixth in OPS. He’s a virtual shoo-in for NL Rookie of the Year and if the Mets weren’t so gosh-darn awful, would be in the MVP conversation. And Judge’s rookie record of 52 home runs is hardly out of reach. His fWAR is 3.5, which according to the current monetary valuation of $8 million per point, means he is giving the Mets approximately $28 million worth of performance for MLB’s minimum wage.
Alonso’s victory in this year’s Home Run Derby raised his profile nationally, and his 474-foot bomb against the Twins on Wednesday was the longest home run hit by a Met in the Statcast era (although it still was probably not as impressive as the shot Tommie Agee hit into the upper deck at Shea Stadium in 1969, which was estimated at 505 feet).
Some may quibble now that by promoting Alonso this year, the Mets squandered a year of service time on a losing season, but that is the worst kind of 20/20 hindsight. Imagine the squawks if the Mets hadn’t promoted him?
Soon enough, the Mets will have to decide whether to tie Alonso up to a long-term extension or risk losing him as a free agent in 2025, but for now, the Polar Bear ain’t going anywhere.
McNeil: .345-8-39, .914 OPS
McNeil is leading the league in hitting, is seventh in on-base percentage and his OPS is second only to Alonso among his teammates. And yet, the suspicion is had Mets fans not reacted so strongly on social media back in December, McNeil likely would have been included in the so-far disastrous trade that brought Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz to Flushing.
Clearly, the Mets had no idea what they had in McNeil, who is poised to become one of the most anonymous batting champions in baseball history. But they certainly know what they have now, a relatively young (27) leadoff hitter who although his outfield skills need sharpening, is versatile enough to play both infield and outfield. If the Mets ever find a regular position for McNeil to settle into, there’s no telling how good he might become.
And, like Alonso, he’s an incredible bargain; his 2.6 fWAR translates to $20.6 million worth of ballplayer for the price of Alex Rodriguez’ station car.
Conforto: .250-17-48, .832 OPS
Salary: $4.025 million
Conforto can be streaky, and there is some question as to whether he has completely shaken off the effects of the concussion he suffered earlier this season, but when he’s on, he possesses one of the most dangerous left-handed bats in the Mets lineup and he’s a more than serviceable outfielder. His a career-high 28 home runs last year and has a chance to hit 30 this year. Doesn’t hit his 27th birthday until next March and doesn’t hit free agency until 2022. No sense moving him anytime soon.