New York Mets should use trade deadline to build for 2021

The Mets need to think about selling at the deadline.

Even if the New York Mets weren’t expected to contend for a championship in 2020, few thought that they would stumble out of the gate as ineptly as they did. Veteran free agents like Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha have not performed up to expectations, while their bullpen continues to be a shambolic mess. The Mets currently stand at 12-14 in the NL East, and they should be thrilled with that record.

The Mets might’ve picked up a few timely victories against a Miami Marlins team starting to regress back to the mean, but that shouldn’t change the fact that this roster, as it is currently constructed, is incapable of winning a championship. The sooner Brodie Van Wagenen understands that and starts to make some trades, the better.

The Edwin Diaz trade left the Mets without many top prospects

Van Wagenen traded away two top prospects in stud outfielder Jarred Kelenic and starter Justin Dunn to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for Diaz, a flamethrowing closer who led the AL in saves in 2018, and Robinson Cano, who is still productive but comes with a ghastly contract. Even though Dunn has struggled with the Mariners, Diaz and Cano have been equally ineffective with the Mets. The trade has left the Mets with a shocking lack of depth in their farm system, as shortstop Andres Gimenez is the only player in MLB Pipeline’s Top 10 Mets prospects list that is either in the majors right now or will likely debut in the majors in 2021.

There is a silver lining for fans, however, as Gimenez has played very well in his debut season, making an impact in the field and on the basepaths. Gimenez is far from the only young piece the club has to build around.

The Mets have plenty of players worth keeping around for the rebuild

Gimenez joined a stockpile of young Metropolitans that are among the best in the league at their respective positions. Jeff McNeil remains as consistent as ever, Pete Alonso’s power is equaled by few and Jacob deGrom is the most unhittable starting pitcher in the league. Even the likes of Dominic Smith and JD Davis have revitalized their careers with the Mets. While this group is good enough to win some games, it isn’t good enough to win a title in the near future, so shipping away veterans and vestiges from previous regimes could help the Mets rebuild.

While the Mets don’t need to go into full fire sale mode, they should identify a handful of young players and veterans that will be in New York for the long haul before sending the rest away to contending teams. For as much scorn as the Mets get on a daily basis, the development of McNeil, Alonso, Smith, and deGrom shows that the franchise is capable of molding players into superstars. They just need more prospects to work their magic on.

The Mets are in an unfortunately familiar situation. Carried by some of the game’s best but let down by a lack of depth and plain old bad luck, it’s hard for both the front office and the fans themselves to figure out a clear direction for this team. If New York can stomach trading away some studs in exchange for prospects, this franchise can build one of the best young teams in the game, provided the club’s traditional weirdness doesn’t spoil anything.

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