I’m not sure what to make of the New York Mets. To be fair, I’m not sure anyone else does these days, including their new general manager, Brodie van Wagenen. Even though his club is nine games below .500 and 12 1⁄2 games out of first place, van Wagenen and the Mets have shown some interest in Tigers relievers Shane Greene and Joe Jimenez, according to a report from Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press.
While the Mets are much closer to a potential Wild Card spot — they are only 6 1⁄2 games back of the Washington Nationals right now — they don’t appear to be in much of a position to buy at the deadline. Even at nine games under .500, they have the second-worst record in the National League heading into play on Sunday. There are eight teams between them and the Nationals in the Wild Card race right now, and only two NL clubs have a worse run differential.
It’s possible, however, that van Wagenen, a first-year GM and former agent, is more optimistic about his team’s playoff chances. Their .479 third-order win percentage is a hair better than their current situation, and van Wagenen already pushed the team’s chips in when he made a few big moves during the offseason, including the trade that brought Robinson Cano and closer Edwin Diaz to New York.
Diaz has not worked out, though. Through 36 appearances, he has a 5.67 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP. His 3.71 FIP suggests better days are ahead, but his walk and home run rates have both increased compared to last season. He has struggled even more of late, with a 10.64 ERA since June 1 — one that balloons to 13.50 if you include his last outing in May. He has blown four saves since May 25 (the first against the Tigers, coincidentally).
Both Greene and Jimenez would provide an upgrade for a Mets bullpen that has the second-highest ERA (5.65) in the National League. Greene has been lights out in 2019, with a 1.09 ERA and 26.0 percent strikeout rate. He made the AL All-Star team for the first time in his career, and is 22-for-24 in save opportunities. Jimenez has had an up-and-down season, but has an excellent strikeout rate. His 4.08 xFIP and 3.36 SIERA suggest that a better second half could be in order.
It will take a decent package for the Tigers to part with either Greene or Jimenez at this year’s trade deadline, and I’m not even sure they would want to part with Jimenez at this point. He could almost certainly benefit from another year in the Tigers organization to further build trade value, as he is under club control through the 2023 season.
Greene, on the other hand, is a safe bet to move this July.
The Tigers have been asking for the moon in return for lefthander Matthew Boyd, and the asking price for Greene is likely also steep. Netting a top-100 prospect would be a nice return, as Greene has one more year of club control remaining after the 2019 season.
The Mets have three top-100 players in their farm system right now. Shortstop Andres Gimenez is playing in Double-A at 19 years old, but has struggled at the plate this year. He is the organization’s top prospect, and was even ranked ahead of rookie phenom Pete Alonso by Baseball Prospectus last winter. Ronny Mauricio, another teenage shortstop, is in Single-A ball right now. Both he and left-handed pitcher Anthony Kay sit towards the back end of the top 100 lists at MLB Pipeline and Baseball America. Third baseman Mark Vientos, another teenager in Single-A, made FanGraphs’ preseason top 100 list.
There are some other interesting names further down the list, but nearly all of them are several years away from MLB action. Infielder Shervyen Newton is a top-five prospect in their system according to multiple outlets, but has struggled to adjust to full season ball in 2019. Nearly everyone else in their top 10 is also at least two more years away from having an impact at the big league level.