Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen said Monday that the Mets would be "very careful" in advance of the Aug. 31 trade deadline, but didn't eliminate the possibility of being aggressive.
"I think the aggressive approach that we've taken in the past is not something that we will eliminate from a possibility. But we recognize we've got a 30-game season effectively, and less than that once the trade deadline comes and goes," Van Wagenen explained. "And so we have to be responsible for the future of the organization while still being opportunistic for ways to improve the club."
In a report on Tuesday, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic cited one MLB executive who expects the Mets to be a "surprising player" at the deadline and other executives who expect Van Wagenen to be "aggressive as he tries to save his job with the sale of the team nearing completion."
In Rosenthal's report, he notes that the Mets are in a more advantageous position financially now than they were at the beginning of the season, due to the opt-outs of Marcus Stroman and Yoenis Cespedes.
As Rosenthal alludes to, though, and as Van Wagenen pointed out on Monday, this trade deadline is like no other. Most teams are still technically in contention, meaning the market is flooded with potential buyers. And the still-tenuous nature of the season makes any deal extremely risky.
Here's how Van Wagenen put it on Monday:
"I wouldn't see a rental player for us or anybody else commanding a huge return in terms of prospects, and I think teams will be more conservative overall. But we haven't necessarily identified what the marketplace is for the short-term players and I know the longer-term players -- every year that a player has of control or the higher impact that player is is gonna create a higher acquisition cost.
"We'll blend all of those factors and ultimately try to make moves that fit our goals, but we're not gonna feel like we're (under) tremendous pressure to make a move just for the sake of making a move. ... We're not gonna do it at the sacrifice of our long-term goals."
If the Mets make a move that is for a player under control only through the end of the 2020 season, it figures to be for a starting pitcher, with New York still dealing with a rotation that has been decimated by injury, opt-outs, and poor performance.
Both David Peterson and Michael Wacha could return this week, which would bring some stability, but the Mets are still in need of another top of the rotation starter to pair with Jacob deGrom.
The question is whether that pitcher will be available and whether it will be worth it to outbid other teams during this strange season in order to land him.