(Long Island, N.Y.) Role reversal. That seems to be the case this July when a big market team finds one of the small ones to take an expensive contract off their hands. Such was the case when the New York Mets traded closer Francisco Rodriguez to the Milwaukee Brewers for two players to be named later.
More importantly, this seems to be the first of many moves by general manager Sandy Alderson to dismantle the Mets. With the July 31st non-waiver trading deadline approaching, teams are jockeying for position to either be buyers or sellers. At the All-Star break, the Mets were one game over .500, but trailed the Atlanta Braves by seven and a half games for the wild card spot. Plus, there were four more teams ahead of the Mets for that final playoff spot in the National League.
Brought in to make the tough decisions, Alderson has to weigh the options for a number of players on the roster and see if moving them will be a two-fold positive: bringing in some much needed prospects to a farm system depleted over the years, and to cut payroll on a team in financial straits.
In the final installment of a long-term deal, Beltran has a no-trade clause he must waive to be moved. Healthy and coming off an All-Star selection, the veteran outfielder can surely help a team in the hunt. Only a rental, he may not bring back much of a return, but Alderson will peddle him as the top offensive player on the market and that should up his value.
The reclamation project has been surprisingly effective and would be a nice addition as a middle reliever to a contender. The former star closer is another who can be had for a song.
Unless he is taken off the disabled list, Reyes can’t be moved, anyway. But the Mets would like to re-sign him to a long-term deal and figure their best bet is to hang on to him and renegotiate in the offseason. Voted the starting shortstop on the NL All-Star squad, the speedster is having an MVP-caliber campaign and is a huge fan favorite. Even if he does leave, the Mets would be entitled to two high draft picks because Reyes is a Type A free agent.
If the struggling left fielder was to be traded, the Mets would have to pick up a good deal of the ridiculous contract former GM Omar Minaya signed him to. It’s worth a shot calling Red Sox GM Theo Epstein, who is looking for offense and acquired Bay in the past for Manny Ramirez.
The part-time catcher is having a nice season at the plate and has been pushing Josh Thole for innings. The Mets go through back-up backstops every year and should take advantage of a hot bat by getting some youth for him.
However the rest of the month plays out, the Mets should look very different once August rolls around.