The Mets held on to beat the Braves 4-3 Tuesday night, leaving them once again one game below .500. They are also just 4 1/2 games out in the wild card chase, which begs the question — if the Mets are this close to the wild card lead on July 31, do they deal their trade chips?
There is a very strong possibility that the Mets will be in such a position. By that time, David Wright and Ike Davis will likely (hopefully?) be back in the lineup. Johan Santana could be back on the mound. And Jason Bay won’t be hitting .210 and benched every other game, right?
So what happens? I don’t think Jose Reyes goes anywhere in any case. I believe Sandy Alderson has seen enough to realize the Mets need Reyes (imagine where they would be without him this season?), and will keep him and try to resign him in the off-season.
I think they would keep Carlos Beltran as well. There is no obligation to him next season, hence no pressing need to trade him. Yes, they would likely shed a couple of million much needed bucks. And yes, they would get some sort of prospect for him. If they allow him to leave via free agency, the Mets get nothing because contractually they cannot offer him arbitration, and get to no draft pick. But if they are close and he is healthy and playing well, it would be hard to justify trading him just to get back some marginal prospect.
Francisco Rodriguez is a tougher decision. The Mets will need a solid closer to contend, and right now K-Rod is that closer. But that $17.5 million 2012 option is a budget-buster. It would be nice if another reliever steps up and shows he is the heir-apparent, but so far that has not happened. Even they are in the race, I think the Mets would trade him to keep the option from vesting.
However, maybe Alderson thinks he would be able to deal K-Rod in the off-season and eat around $5 million of the contract. $12.5 -million for a one year commitment to one of the top closers in the game is not too much for a team which thinks a closer will put it over the top.
Whatever happens, it’s going to be an interesting trade deadline for the Mets.