The “open for business” sign has been all but posted outside Citi Field, but it isn’t a large neon sign. This isn’t a full-on sell-off — it’s more like a rent-off.
Sandy Alderson doesn’t foresee completely tearing this team down — and all but dismissed the idea of dealing core components of the present such as Jacob deGrom.
“What do we do without Jake deGrom next year?” the Mets general manager asked. “This is not a tear-down situation. This is what I believe is a sort of [hitting] the pause button.”
Talking to the media before the Mets began the second half of their season at Citi Field against the Rockies, Alderson left open a small possibility open that he could go in a different direction, if the team, now seven games under .500 at 40-47 after their 14-2 blowout win over the Rockies on Friday night, suddenly turns it around. Alderson did point to this weekend’s series against Colorado, which now leads the Mets by 9 ¹/₂ games for the second wild card, as a possibility to sway him.
But the Mets executive also made it seem like only a major winning streak could prevent him from looking to trade free agents-to-be like Addison Reed, Jay Bruce, Curtis Granderson, Lucas Duda and Neil Walker, among others. And even then it might not be enough, if the teams the Mets are chasing continue to win.
“I think we’ll know it when we see it,” Alderson said. “You’re always looking to see what transpires over the next seven-to-10 days, but I think we’re at the point in the season where things would have to go exceedingly well for us to realistically change direction. We had the trade deadline coming at the end of the month, as everyone is aware, and not surprisingly we’ll be open to talk to clubs about various possibilities.”
The plan, it seems, is to boost a weakened farm system with players who will be gone anyway, to put the Mets in better position to contend next year. Alderson pointed out the Mets will have a lot of money coming off the books, and envisions the opportunity to contend next year by restocking the team with younger players. That doesn’t include dealing any controllable assets, like a deGrom.
“We’re not looking to ‘rebuild,’ ” Alderson said. “We’re looking to make sure we have the nucleus of a competitive team going into year. While we wouldn’t completely discount any possibility of a trade of that type, because who knows what may be presented, I don’t think enough would be presented for us to bite on that. Again, a lot of it has to do with how we view this team as we start thinking about next year as well.
“We do feel like we’re going to be in a position similar to the one we were going into this season, which is competitive and looking to win.”
In the meantime, the Mets find themselves in neutral. The fan base is eagerly awaiting the promotions of top prospects Dominic Smith and Amed Rosario from Triple-A, while veterans only can wait to see if they will be going elsewhere. It sets up an intriguing 10-game homestand against the Rockies, Cardinals and A’s that is likely this team’s last stand.
“There may be some guys in there that are worried about July 31st. It’s out of their control,” manager Terry Collins said. “They need to worry about what they’re doing on the field, and that’s the only way we’re ever going to approach it.
“What’s going to happen at the deadline nobody knows. We may get some guys, we may lose some guys. But right now they’re wearing Mets uniforms, and they need to play like Mets.”
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