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Mets deal Familia for 2 prospects, int'l cash

New York nets third baseman Toffey, reliever Wahl, $1 million in slot money for closer
MLB.com @AnthonyDiComo

NEW YORK -- By the time the Mets reported to Yankee Stadium on Saturday, Jeurys Familia's locker was already empty. They had said their goodbyes the night before, understanding that Familia's departure was a matter of when, not if.

It finally happened during their 7-6 loss to the Yankees. The Mets dealt Familia to the A's for two prospects, third baseman Will Toffey and reliever Bobby Wahl, plus $1 million in international bonus pool money.

NEW YORK -- By the time the Mets reported to Yankee Stadium on Saturday, Jeurys Familia's locker was already empty. They had said their goodbyes the night before, understanding that Familia's departure was a matter of when, not if.

It finally happened during their 7-6 loss to the Yankees. The Mets dealt Familia to the A's for two prospects, third baseman Will Toffey and reliever Bobby Wahl, plus $1 million in international bonus pool money.

"This trade hits three major areas," Mets assistant general manager John Ricco said in a statement. "We got a Major League-ready reliever our scouts recommended, a position player who was a high selection from the 2017 Draft and strong prospect in the A's system as well as receiving international bonus pool money to help in the future."

Video: MLB Tonight on Jeurys Familia being traded to the A's

Toffey, 23, was Oakland's 17th-ranked prospect and a fourth-round pick in the 2017 Draft. He was batting .244 with a .741 OPS at the organization's Class A Advanced Stockton affiliate. Upon acquiring Toffey, the Mets immediately promoted him, assigning him to Double-A Binghamton.

"I think very highly of Toffey," Mets special assistant J.P. Ricciardi said in a statement. "He's got great strike-zone discipline, gap-to-gap power and is a solid defender."

Wahl, 26, made his Major League debut during a brief stint with the A's last summer. Capable of throwing in the upper 90s, he owned a 2.27 ERA in 34 appearances with Triple-A Nashville. Wahl underwent surgery last year to alleviate symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome, but he has responded with 65 strikeouts in 39 2/3 innings this season.

Video: CHC@OAK: Wahl gets groundout to complete save

Rather than call Wahl straight up to the big leagues, the Mets assigned him to Triple-A Las Vegas. A source said the team is recalling Paul Sewald to replace Familia on the active roster.

In addition to the players the Mets acquired in the trade, special assistant Omar Minaya called the international bonus pool money "extremely helpful" for a team that has become increasingly aggressive in that arena in recent years. The Mets also received roughly $3 million in salary relief, as the A's reportedly absorbed the rest of Familia's contract. A day before completing the trade, Ricco said the Mets were willing to take on money to acquire better prospects in deals for Familia, Asdrubal Cabrera and other pending free agents. But they did not do so in this deal.

In Familia's absence, the Mets will likely install Robert Gsellman as their closer, though manager Mickey Callaway said matchups could dictate whom he uses in the ninth. Replacing Familia, who ranked third in team history with 123 saves, will not be easy in any context.

"The A's are lucky to have a quality guy and a quality pitcher like Familia," Callaway said. "He's done a great job for this organization. I know the fans, I know the coaching staff and the players are going to miss him. But I understand it's also necessary at this point to try and strengthen our team in the future. It sounds like we did a pretty good job of that."

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook

New York Mets, Jeurys Familia

Mets' 9th-inning charge falls short vs. Yankees

MLB.com @AnthonyDiComo

NEW YORK -- For nine brief innings on Friday night, for three short hours, the Mets rediscovered what they look like with Yoenis Cespedes anchoring their lineup. Cespedes homered and the Mets won a game, and all was rosy until the outfielder's postgame admission that he may need major surgery on his heels.

A day later, the Mets tumbled back to the reality of life without their best hitter. As Cespedes rested, the Mets struggled throughout a 7-6 loss Saturday to the Yankees at Yankee Stadium, which exposed their lack of position-player depth.

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NEW YORK -- For nine brief innings on Friday night, for three short hours, the Mets rediscovered what they look like with Yoenis Cespedes anchoring their lineup. Cespedes homered and the Mets won a game, and all was rosy until the outfielder's postgame admission that he may need major surgery on his heels.

A day later, the Mets tumbled back to the reality of life without their best hitter. As Cespedes rested, the Mets struggled throughout a 7-6 loss Saturday to the Yankees at Yankee Stadium, which exposed their lack of position-player depth.

View Full Game Coverage

"We know that when he's healthy, he's going to produce," manager Mickey Callaway said of Cespedes. "It's more about the other guys that we have, that we need to figure out exactly what they can and what they can't do."

The critical rally unfolded in the fourth, when center fielder Matthew den Dekker misplayed a trio of run-scoring hits. First, den Dekker dived in an attempt to snare Didi Gregorius' liner, which skipped past him for a triple. Two batters later, Greg Bird crushed a double that glanced off den Dekker's glove as he attempted to make a basket catch. Then Austin Romine hit a sinking liner that den Dekker did not read properly off the bat, resulting in a single.

Video: NYM@NYY: Matz, den Dekker talk loss to Yankees

"That's just how it goes sometimes," den Dekker said. "Sometimes you make the play, sometimes you don't. They put some good swings on the ball and it paid off for them."

All four runs in the fourth were charged to Steven Matz, who allowed a total of five in five-plus innings

Without Cespedes, the Mets struggled to match that sort of offensive output. Michael Conforto provided an early run with a solo homer off Yankees starter Sonny Gray, and the Mets took advantage of two walks and an error to draw within a run of the lead in the sixth.

Video: NYM@NYY: Rosario drives in Conforto with a single

They then rallied against Aroldis Chapman in the ninth, scoring twice and loading the bases with no outs to force the Yankees to pull their closer from the game. But Chasen Shreve induced a double play from Devin Mesoraco, and Wilmer Flores grounded out to end the game.

"You had a guy out there that was kind of struggling [with] the strike zone," Callaway said. "I thought we were going to be able to make a good comeback there."

Video: NYM@NYY: Reyes draws a bases-loaded walk in the 9th

It is a comeback that might have been easier with Cespedes, who ranks fifth on the team in home runs despite losing nine and a half weeks of the season to injury. And he's almost certainly about to miss more. After Saturday's loss, Callaway said Cespedes will undergo an MRI and meet with a foot specialist early next week. The outfielder is dealing with calcification in both heels, which he says could require major surgery and an eight- to 10-month recovery.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Rally in the ninth: Trailing by four runs heading into the ninth, the Mets found new life when Chapman loaded the bases on a pair of walks and an infield single. Jose Reyes followed with a bases-loaded walk to force in a run, and Chapman hit the next batter, Brandon Nimmo, to send home another.

That was enough for Yankees manager Aaron Boone, who lifted Chapman in favor of Shreve. The move worked, as Shreve stranded the potential tying run on third.

"I just think it's one of those hiccups that happens over the course of the year," Boone said. "It just got a little away from him there."

Video: NYM@NYY: Kelly scores on DP to bring Mets within 1

SOUND SMART
Aaron Judge's solo homer in the seventh snapped a stretch of 25 consecutive innings without one for Mets pitchers. Tim Peterson gave up the shot.

Nimmo tied Lucas Duda (2015) for the Mets' single-season record for hit-by-pitches when Gray plunked him in the fifth, and he broke the mark when Chapman clipped him in the ninth, Nimmo's 15th hit-by-pitch of the year.

Video: NYM@NYY: Nimmo gets HBP with bases loaded in the 9th

ROESSLER, CABRERA EJECTED
Unhappy with Larry Vanover's strike zone, Mets hitting coach Pat Roessler began barking at the home-plate umpire after he called Reyes out on strikes in the third inning. Vanover turned toward the dugout and began yelling back at Roessler, ultimately ejecting him.

Video: NYM@NYY: Roessler tossed from the game in the 3rd

Two innings later, Asdrubal Cabrera slammed his bat to the dirt when third-base umpire Hunter Wendelstedt called him out on a check-swing appeal. As Cabrera verbalized his protest from 90 feet away, Wendelstedt tossed him from the game.

"Everybody wants to win," Callaway said. "Everybody's pumped up for this series. They're grown men and they have to say what they have to say, and they have to do what they have to do. I think they're just fighting, trying to win a game."

Video: NYM@NYY: Cabrera tossed after striking out to end 5th

HE SAID IT
"Familia was a great teammate, a really great person. It's not great to see him go. I really enjoyed having him around this team, and having him come in that ninth inning. It's tough when you have guys around for a while. But we understand it's a business, and that's what's got to happen." -- Matz, on the Mets' trade of closer Jeurys Familia, which they finalized after the game

Video: NYM@NYY: Matz whiffs Sanchez swinging in the 4th

UP NEXT
Fresh off his second career All-Star appearance, Jacob deGrom will open his second half in a Sunday Night Baseball matchup with Masahiro Tanaka at Yankee Stadium. deGrom will put his MLB-leading 1.68 ERA on the line in the 8:05 ET game, facing a Yankees offense that ranks top two in the Majors in home runs, OPS and runs per game.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.

New York Mets

Cespedes sits; Mets monitor lingering heel issue

Callaway: 'We thought his heels were in a really good spot coming in, or we wouldn't have activated him'
MLB.com @AnthonyDiComo

NEW YORK -- A day after Yoenis Cespedes returned to the Mets following a nine-and-a-half-week absence, homered, then revealed that he is battling heel issues that may require major surgery to fix, Cespedes was out of the Mets' lineup Saturday against the Yankees. Manager Mickey Callaway, who said he was unaware of Cespedes' comments regarding his heels, painted the issue as one of general soreness.

"That's concerning," Callaway added. "I feel bad for the guy. He has worked so hard. If you see the stuff he has to go through to get back -- he worked so hard this winter. We talked about everything that he tried to do to put himself in a good spot to come out and be healthy for the team. I feel for the guy because he's done everything he possibly can to stay healthy. It's just not happening for him."

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NEW YORK -- A day after Yoenis Cespedes returned to the Mets following a nine-and-a-half-week absence, homered, then revealed that he is battling heel issues that may require major surgery to fix, Cespedes was out of the Mets' lineup Saturday against the Yankees. Manager Mickey Callaway, who said he was unaware of Cespedes' comments regarding his heels, painted the issue as one of general soreness.

"That's concerning," Callaway added. "I feel bad for the guy. He has worked so hard. If you see the stuff he has to go through to get back -- he worked so hard this winter. We talked about everything that he tried to do to put himself in a good spot to come out and be healthy for the team. I feel for the guy because he's done everything he possibly can to stay healthy. It's just not happening for him."

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When the Mets activated Cespedes from the disabled list on Friday, their expectation was that he would be able to start all three games against the Yankees. But Cespedes began experiencing soreness while running out a ground ball in the eighth inning, and he did not feel well enough to play by Saturday afternoon.

Asked if Cespedes was feeling soreness in his heels, quad or hip, Callaway said that everything is "interconnected."

Video: The guys on MLB Tonight discuss Cespedes' injury

The manager also said he could not speak in detail about Cespedes' heel issues, deferring to team doctors. (The Mets, per team policy, do not make their medical staff available to the media. Neither Cespedes nor anyone from the front office was available Saturday morning to discuss the issue.) Callaway did reveal that the Mets have long been aware of Cespedes' problem, but that they believed it wouldn't be an issue when he returned from the DL. Instead, Cespedes will visit a doctor in the coming days for another examination.

"We thought his heels were in a really good spot coming in, or we wouldn't have activated him," Callaway said. "He was good to go. He was in a good spot. As far as what the doctors have advised Yo -- or know about it -- I wasn't in the room. It would be tough for me to speculate on anything."

Following Friday's game, Cespedes said he has been dealing with heel pain for 15 years, and that he may require surgery -- which carries an eight- to 10-month rehab -- to fix the issue. When asked if he could make it through the season without surgery, Cespedes shrugged and replied: "I don't know."

Video: NYM@NYY: Cespedes homers off pole in return from DL

In the interim, Callaway said the Mets will continue to proceed day to day with Cespedes, who spends multiple hours every day on a warm-up program to prepare his body for games. For as long as Cespedes is on the active roster, the Mets will check in with him daily to gauge his availability.

"I feel bad for the guy because he does everything he can to go out there and stay on the field, just like all of our players do," Callaway said. "Everybody battles something. But in his case, it's been extraordinarily tough for him to be on the field."

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.

New York Mets, Yoenis Cespedes

Tebow hits DL with right hand discomfort

MLB.com

Outfielder Tim Tebow was placed on the 7-day disabled list on Saturday by Binghamton, the Mets' Double-A affiliate, with discomfort in his right hand. It marks the first trip to the disabled list for the 30-year-old outfielder during his season-plus in professional baseball.

According to a report in USA Today, Tebow is scheduled to see a hand specialist in New York City on Monday. He left Binghamton's Thursday game against Trenton, the Yankees' Double-A affiliate, after seven innings. He had worked a six-pitch walk in his final at-bat in the bottom of the seventh. He reportedly underwent an X-ray and MRI on Friday.

Outfielder Tim Tebow was placed on the 7-day disabled list on Saturday by Binghamton, the Mets' Double-A affiliate, with discomfort in his right hand. It marks the first trip to the disabled list for the 30-year-old outfielder during his season-plus in professional baseball.

According to a report in USA Today, Tebow is scheduled to see a hand specialist in New York City on Monday. He left Binghamton's Thursday game against Trenton, the Yankees' Double-A affiliate, after seven innings. He had worked a six-pitch walk in his final at-bat in the bottom of the seventh. He reportedly underwent an X-ray and MRI on Friday.

After receiving a promotion to Binghamton during the offseason and working to change his swing, Tebow has enjoyed a breakout campaign in Double-A, slashing .273/.336/.399 before his injury, with six homers and 36 RBIs. He was named to the Eastern League All-Star roster and went 1-for-4 with a double in the July 11 All-Star Game.

Video: Tim Tebow doubles in '18 Eastern League All-Star Game

Tebow had hit safely in 13 of his last 14 games before the injury and had shown steady improvement at the plate over the course of the season, hitting .226 in April, .241 in May, .301 in June and .340 in July.

Do-Hyoung Park is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter at @dohyoungpark.

New York Mets

Yo returns with HR; Thor exits with 'dead arm'

Syndergaard works 5 innings, expects to make next start
MLB.com @AnthonyDiComo

NEW YORK -- When Yoenis Cespedes initially hit the baseball, he seemed frustrated with the result: a fly ball destined for foul ground, or Brett Gardner's glove, or both. But as Cespedes jogged toward first, the ball offered a long-lost reminder of his strength, clanging off the left-field foul pole for a solo homer.

The run was the Mets' fourth in a 7-5 win over the Yankees on Friday -- Cespedes' first night back from a nine-and-a-half-week stay on the disabled list.

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NEW YORK -- When Yoenis Cespedes initially hit the baseball, he seemed frustrated with the result: a fly ball destined for foul ground, or Brett Gardner's glove, or both. But as Cespedes jogged toward first, the ball offered a long-lost reminder of his strength, clanging off the left-field foul pole for a solo homer.

The run was the Mets' fourth in a 7-5 win over the Yankees on Friday -- Cespedes' first night back from a nine-and-a-half-week stay on the disabled list.

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His return gave the Mets equal measures hope and worry; after their victory, Cespedes said he can trace his leg problems to calcification in both heels, which may require surgery. If Cespedes undergoes the procedure, he could miss eight to 10 months.

Video: NYM@NYY: Conforto, Cespedes, Syndergaard power Mets

"When I feel pain in my heels, I start modifying the way I walk, the way I run, even the way I stand," Cespedes said through an interpreter. "That is the main cause of the problems in my legs."

For now at least, Cespedes is healthy enough to contribute, which he did with a leadoff homer in the third inning against Yankees starter Domingo German. Cespedes also walked and scored in the fifth inning, and singled in the sixth as the Mets' designated hitter.

 "Today," Cespedes said, "I felt well."

Video: NYM@NYY: Cespedes discusses lingering injury to heels

But not everything went well for the Mets. Pitching with a five-run lead in the fifth inning, Noah Syndergaard -- who missed seven weeks this season due to a strained right index finger -- began losing enough arm strength for manager Mickey Callaway and a member of the training staff to meet him on the mound. Although Syndergaard finished the inning at 84 pitches, allowing one run, he departed with his fastball velocity flagging in the low to mid-90s. The Mets said afterward that he was suffering from fatigue.

"I might be a little bit down, but I think it's just a little dead arm," Syndergaard said. "Nothing to be alarmed about."

The Mets took an early lead on a trio of RBI doubles off German in the first, then extended it with a two-run rally in the fifth. That was enough to thwart the Yankees' comeback attempt against Seth Lugo, who escaped a bases-loaded jam in the seventh, and Robert Gsellman.

Video: NYM@NYY: Gsellman fans Sanchez to strand tying run

It was the type of offensive output the Mets hope to see more often with Cespedes, who has played in less than half their games since signing a four-year, $110 million contract prior to last season. Entering Spring Training, the Mets hoped an offseason full of flexibility training would allow Cespedes to avoid the hamstring and quad injuries that have plagued him in the past. But Cespedes began feeling quad soreness again early this season, playing through it until he exacerbated the injury in mid-May.

His rehab wound up taking more than nine weeks, during which time the Mets developed an hours-long pregame routine that they hope will keep Cespedes' muscles limber. The team went as far as to use Cespedes at first base during his final Minor League rehab game, believing that position could be less demanding on his legs.

Cespedes' admission that he may need surgery complicates that situation, adding another layer to his injury issues.

"You just keep looking for every different way you can in terms of maybe modifying his schedule, both pregame and also in terms of how much he plays and where he plays -- all those things are on the table," assistant general manager John Ricco said. "He has had some injury issues of late. The performance team is trying to look at it from every different way to keep him on the field."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Substitute closer: As the Mets batted with a one-run lead in the top off the ninth, closer Jeurys Familia sat on the bullpen bench wearing a hooded sweatshirt. Callaway was told midway through the game not to use Familia, who was the subject of advanced trade talks between the Mets and A's. Instead, Gsellman worked around a two-out walk to complete a two-inning save.

Video: NYM@NYY: Gsellman locks down 6-out save, Mets' win

SOUND SMART
Syndergaard's strikeout of Neil Walker to end the fourth inning was the 500th of his career, making him the fastest in franchise history to 500 strikeouts in terms of innings pitched. Tom Seaver holds the franchise record with 2,541 strikeouts as a Met. The only active Mets pitcher with more strikeouts than Syndergaard is Jacob deGrom (880).

"It's a great feat to be a part of," Syndergaard said. "It's a great feeling."

Video: NYY@NYM: Syndergaard K's Walker for 500th strikeout

HE SAID IT
"It's not something that I think people have the wrong idea. I am sure it is like that. I found some things on social media, and honestly I don't care, but it shows people don't know how hard I worked to get back here." -- Cespedes, on his long recovery

UP NEXT
Cespedes should DH again on Saturday when the Mets return to Yankee Stadium for a 1:05 p.m. ET matinee, looking to support Steven Matz. Matz, who posted a 2.91 ERA in his final 13 first-half starts, will oppose Yankees right-hander Sonny Gray.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.

New York Mets, Yoenis Cespedes

Cespedes almost loses necklace on a play

It was announced on Friday that Yoenis Cespedes would be back in a Mets uniform after being activated from the disabled list. And it didn't take long for him to make some noise. He hit a homer in the top of the third inning of the Mets-Yankees game, which isn't bad considering he hasn't had any real action since May 13. And while he may have been pretty excited to be reunited with his team, he had some jewelry drama ... again.

Oswalt optioned with Vargas nearing return

Rookie made 3 straight strong starts; Smith recalled for bullpen
MLB.com @AnthonyDiComo

NEW YORK -- Rather than allow Corey Oswalt to remain in the rotation after closing the first half with three consecutive strong starts, the Mets optioned the right-hander to Triple-A Las Vegas and recalled reliever Drew Smith.

Smith will serve as a stopgap until Tuesday, when Jason Vargas is set to come off the disabled list and start in Oswalt's place.

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NEW YORK -- Rather than allow Corey Oswalt to remain in the rotation after closing the first half with three consecutive strong starts, the Mets optioned the right-hander to Triple-A Las Vegas and recalled reliever Drew Smith.

Smith will serve as a stopgap until Tuesday, when Jason Vargas is set to come off the disabled list and start in Oswalt's place.

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"Oswalt made it a little difficult, there's no doubt about that," manager Mickey Callaway said of the decision. "When you look at our team and I look at our team and we evaluate who we are, we are a better team when we have Vargas pitching the way Vargas is capable of, and we have a solid sixth starter down in Triple-A, ready to come up and help us at any point."

Back to the Minors
To make room for Yoenis Cespedes on the active roster, the Mets optioned Dominic Smith to Triple-A. There, Smith will play mostly left field as the Mets continue to try increasing the natural first baseman's versatility.

"He's still a young player with a lot of talent who needs to play," assistant general manager John Ricco said. "We saw some glimpses and we kept him up here for a little bit, but ultimately the playing time, where we are right now with the way the roster's constituted, wasn't there for him. And we weren't at the point where we were going to hand first base or left field over to him."

During his latest 26-game stint in the Majors, Smith hit just .186 with a .548 OPS.

Video: NYM@COL: Smith legs out his 1st triple in the majors

Injury updates
Outfielder Jay Bruce, who has been on the DL since June 18 due to a sore right hip, has not begun swinging a bat. He expects to do so in the coming days, but has already missed more than a month.

"It has not been fun," Bruce said. "This has been a pretty helpless feeling for me, being on the DL. It's tough. I take a lot of pride in coming out every single day and playing."

The news was batter on third baseman Todd Frazier, who has been out since July 9 with a left ribcage muscle strain. Frazier worked out with Mets staffers Friday at Yankee Stadium, and appears close to a return.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.

New York Mets, Corey Oswalt, Drew Smith

Todd Frazier's son Blake is hitting home runs

Mets third baseman Todd Frazier is no stranger to the long ball. The eight-year MLB veteran has 185 home runs to his name at the big league level, as well as a Home Run Derby title thanks to his epic performance in his then-home ballpark in Cincinnati back in 2015. So it should be no surprise to learn that his 4-year-old son Blake has already started to perfect his own home run swing.

How Deadline is shaping up for Mets

MLB.com @mlbbowman

As the Nationals enter the second half attempting to live up to expectations and defend their National League East crown, they are looking up at the Phillies, who want to make a significant acquisition, and the Braves, who have the prospect currency necessary to make a big deal before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

The Phillies own a half-game lead over the Braves and a 5 1/2-game advantage over the Nats. So, what happens over the next two weeks might significantly impact the NL East race. This will also be a potentially impactful stretch for the Mets and Marlins, a pair of teams that have the significant pieces necessary to impact their respective futures with what would be among the year's biggest trades.

As the Nationals enter the second half attempting to live up to expectations and defend their National League East crown, they are looking up at the Phillies, who want to make a significant acquisition, and the Braves, who have the prospect currency necessary to make a big deal before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

The Phillies own a half-game lead over the Braves and a 5 1/2-game advantage over the Nats. So, what happens over the next two weeks might significantly impact the NL East race. This will also be a potentially impactful stretch for the Mets and Marlins, a pair of teams that have the significant pieces necessary to impact their respective futures with what would be among the year's biggest trades.

Here is a look at what each NL East club needs and wants approaching the Trade Deadline.

PHILLIES
What they need: Now that Manny Machado has gone to the Dodgers, Phillies general manager Matt Klentak must look elsewhere to satisfy his wish to improve offensively. Scouts have identified acquiring a bat as the team's biggest need. But the addition of a front-line starter could also enhance the team's bid to gain a postseason berth and progress through October.

"Machado would have been a huge get, but they will still be active players because it does not seem like money is an issue," an American League scout said. "The rotation lacks a true No. 1, but they have pitched better lately. So expect them to continue kicking the tires on some starting pitchers."

What they can get: As soon as it appeared Machado might head to the Dodgers, Mike Moustakas was mentioned as a candidate to land in Philadelphia. If Klentak does not land a middle-of-the-lineup bat, he may at least attempt to upgrade the team's offensive capability off the bench. Potential starter targets include J.A. Happ, Cole Hamels and Michael Fulmer, who is drawing interest from multiple NL East contenders.

"They will be willing to give up premium prospects, but they will not completely wreck what they have been doing," an AL scout said. "My expectation is they will target veteran-type starting pitchers. Without Machado, I just don't see a significant bat available that would be an upgrade."

BRAVES
What they need: There is a need to add veteran presence and depth in the bullpen. Some of the concerns about their 'pen could be lessened by adding a starter to the front of their rotation. Such an acquisition could lead to using one of their young pitchers to enhance their bullpen depth. The addition of a bat could also improve what is an offensively-thin bench.

"Fulmer makes a lot of sense here," an AL scout said. "Everybody is looking for a reliever. Getting a top starter would allow the Braves to take advantage of their depth by moving one of their young pitchers to the bullpen. Fulmer is 25 years old and has four years of control remaining. Those guys don't come cheap, but they aren't supposed to be cheap."

What they can get: Shortly after becoming the Braves' general manager this past winter, Alex Anthopoulos inquired about Fulmer. So it certainly makes sense for him to keep tabs on the former AL Rookie of the Year. Getting Jeurys Familia from the division-rival Mets seems like a long shot, but the Braves have the prospect pool necessary to pursue veteran relievers like Zach Britton or Joakim Soria. The club will also keep tabs on Kyle Barraclough and Craig Stammen, who have the ability to add depth to a young 'pen.

"The Braves are loaded with prospects and have the pieces necessary to get any deal done," an NL scout said. "They just have to determine which pitchers are a part of their future. They can't wait too long though, because once they start to struggle, they don't have value. But they all have value right now."

NATIONALS
What they need:
There's no doubt the Nationals want to acquire a catcher. They have inquired about a reunion with currently injured Wilson Ramos, but their top target is J.T. Realmuto. To get the All-Star catcher from the Marlins, Washington would almost certainly have to part with top prospect Victor Robles, who may at least be more expendable now that Juan Soto has been successful at the Major League level. There may also be a desire to add a starter.

"Much of the prospect talent is at the lower levels right now," an AL scout said. "That's not a knock against the club. It's just how it goes with the process. So unless they are willing to move Robles, I can't see them making a significant trade."

What they can get: An AL scout who recently inquired about the possibility of Matt Harvey landing with the Nationals was told it would likely not happen. Still, Harvey, Happ and Nathan Eovaldi are among the starters who may draw interest from the reigning division champs. But it's no secret that the top target from both an immediate and long-range point of view is Realmuto.

"I talked to a scout whose team asked about Realmuto, and I can't believe how much teams are asking in return for some of these top players," an NL scout said. "I get it from the Marlins' perspective. But it makes it harder to believe a deal will get done."

Video: deGrom on his future with the Mets, trade rumors

METS
What they need: While rumors surrounding Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard will continue to create a buzz, the most likely significant piece the Mets could end up dealing is Familia, who is arguably the best in what should be an active bullpen market. deGrom would net a significant return that would upgrade a thin farm system. But it seems unlikely teams will be willing to acquiesce a justifiably significant ask. So, Zack Wheeler may be used to at least get a decent piece for the pipeline.

"The whole deGrom buzz is overblown, because it's going to have to be a significant overpay for it to make sense to move him," an NL scout said. "It's a hard read with the new front-office guys. It's going to come down to what kind of returns they can get."

What they can get: The direction of the Mets might be determined this winter, when they may have a better opportunity to get a feel for the potential trade values of deGrom, Syndergaard and Yoenis Cespedes. But with Familia and Wheeler, the club at least has a chance to start enhancing its prospect pool.

"They would love to get a premium offensive prospect," an AL scout said. "Though Wheeler has pitched better lately, he's not going to get you that kind of player. But they could get a mid-level Double-A guy, or a young kid who is still in the early stages of his development."

MARLINS
What they need:
As the Marlins progress through the early stages of their rebuild, they will focus on potential returns for Realmuto, Barraclough and reliever Brad Ziegler.

What they can get: Realmuto is the one big piece the Marlins still have to use to significantly strenghten their farm system. But it remains to be seen whether they will eventually get what they want in return for the All-Star, who arguably stands as the game's best catcher.

"Moving Realmuto before the end of this month seems like a long shot to me, unless somebody really steps up," an NL scout said. "They want a huge return, and that's exactly what they should be seeking. But I think it's more likely we'll see him moved this winter."

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Atlanta Braves, Miami Marlins, Philadelphia Phillies, Washington Nationals, New York Mets

Mets in seller's position entering second half

MLB.com @AnthonyDiComo

NEW YORK -- It is an understatement to say the Mets did not expect to be in this spot. Heading into the season, the Mets were confident they would be a contender and likely a buyer at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. Instead, the club has tumbled to one of the Majors' worst records, as injuries have again wreaked havoc on its season.

As such, the Mets are one of baseball's clear sellers, with plenty of inventory from which to draw. They'll spend the next two weeks fielding offers from teams around baseball as they try to determine if they're prepared to compete in 2019 or better served descending into a full-blown rebuild.

NEW YORK -- It is an understatement to say the Mets did not expect to be in this spot. Heading into the season, the Mets were confident they would be a contender and likely a buyer at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. Instead, the club has tumbled to one of the Majors' worst records, as injuries have again wreaked havoc on its season.

As such, the Mets are one of baseball's clear sellers, with plenty of inventory from which to draw. They'll spend the next two weeks fielding offers from teams around baseball as they try to determine if they're prepared to compete in 2019 or better served descending into a full-blown rebuild.

Current status: Seller
The season quite simply hasn't worked out the way the Mets envisioned, particularly after starting the year 11-1. All of their pending free agents -- along with some others -- will therefore be available as the fourth-place club barrels toward the Deadline.

What they are seeking
Like last year, the Mets want pieces that can help them in 2019 and beyond. Depending on whom they trade, the return will likely take the form of as many organizational Top 30 prospects as possible.

What they have to offer
Plenty, though it remains to be seen which of their most valuable trade chips they'll realistically consider dealing. While Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard are at the top of every contender's wish list, Mets officials have long insisted they will only trade those players for packages rich enough to bowl them over. Translation: it probably isn't going to happen.

More reasonable would be trading Zack Wheeler or Steven Matz, two oft-injured starters enjoying rare runs of health this summer. Even more reasonable would be dealing a bench bat such as Wilmer Flores, who has one more year of team control and could be a potent right-handed option for a contender in need.

If nothing else, the Mets are likely to deal closer Jeurys Familia and second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera, both of whom can be free agents after the season. Lefty reliever Jerry Blevins also fits into that camp, but his struggles have run so deep that the Mets will have a difficult time getting anything of value for him.

Possible scenario
When the Mets traded Addison Reed to the Red Sox last season, they received Boston's 18th-, 23rd- and 28th-ranked prospects -- all relievers -- in return. A year later, the Sox again profile as a trading partner for the Mets, who could theoretically command even more in a trade for Familia. Word is New York is looking for position players. Sox prospect Bobby Dalbec, a third baseman who's ranked No. 12 in their system, could be a good starting point for a deal.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.

New York Mets

deGrom's bid for perfect inning thwarted by Trout

MLB.com @feinsand

WASHINGTON -- Jacob deGrom was one strike away from collecting the second perfect inning of his All-Star career. Unfortunately, he needed to get that strike against Mike Trout.

The two-time American League MVP took the Mets ace deep in the top of the third inning of Tuesday night's All-Star Game presented by Mastercard, though it turned out to be the only blemish on deGrom's outing.

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WASHINGTON -- Jacob deGrom was one strike away from collecting the second perfect inning of his All-Star career. Unfortunately, he needed to get that strike against Mike Trout.

The two-time American League MVP took the Mets ace deep in the top of the third inning of Tuesday night's All-Star Game presented by Mastercard, though it turned out to be the only blemish on deGrom's outing.

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deGrom took over for starter Max Scherzer with the National League trailing, 1-0. Facing the top of the AL's lineup, deGrom got Mookie Betts to fly out to center fielder Bryce Harper, then Jose Altuve hit a harmless popup to third baseman Nolan Arenado.

Then came deGrom's biggest test: Trout, considered by most to be the game's best player.

"That's what it's about," deGrom said. "Going out there and playing against the best."

deGrom got ahead of Trout, 1-2, but the Angels star drove a 92 mph sinker to left-center field, depositing it into the AL bullpen to give his team a 2-0 lead.

Video: 2018 ASG: Trout laces a solo home run to left on FOX

"Yeah, he hits the low ball well, though," deGrom said of his pitch selection. "Two strikes, probably should've gone fastball up; but he got me."

Asked what the best approach is when facing Trout, deGrom said, "Not like that, apparently. I'll have to come up with a different gameplan when I face him next time."

deGrom gathered himself on the mound and struck out Red Sox designated hitter J.D. Martinez to end his inning of work. He was charged with one run on one hit, striking out one.

"I was fortunate to pitch in my first one in '15, and then I was able to throw in this one," deGrom said. "It's a lot of fun to go in there and compete."

The first time deGrom made an All-Star team, he put on a pitching clinic during his one inning of work in the National League's 6-3 loss to the American League in 2015. The right-hander struck out all three batters he faced in the sixth inning at Great American Ball Park, throwing only 10 pitches -- nine of them for strikes.

A few hours before he would follow starter Scherzer in Tuesday night's game, deGrom didn't anticipate a repeat performance this time around.

"That's going to be tough," deGrom said. "That's a good lineup over there."

NL manager Dave Roberts indicated that deGrom -- who leads the NL with a 1.68 ERA, and is second in the league with 149 strikeouts and a 0.973 WHIP -- likely would have been his choice to start the game had the event not been taking place at Scherzer's home ballpark in Washington, a decision with which deGrom agreed.

"It's definitely an honor," deGrom said. "When they announced that Max would start, I thought that was the right thing to do. This is his ballpark and I think he deserves to pitch here."

deGrom was a 27-year-old second-year player when he made his first All-Star team, and while the experience was certainly exciting, the three-day stay in Cincinnati didn't come without some anxiety.

"I was so young," deGrom said. "I did a lot of running around last time and was in a constant panic that I was missing something or was supposed to be somewhere. This one, I knew what I needed to do and was able to enjoy the time with my family."

This year's All-Star Week brought a new challenge for deGrom, who spent the majority of Monday's media availability talking about his future with the Mets. Earlier in the day, his agent released a statement saying that deGrom's first choice is to sign an extension with the Mets, but if the club wasn't interested in doing so, it should trade him.

deGrom knew it was coming, as he and agent Brodie Van Wagenen had plotted out the right time to let their feelings be known.

"I figured there would be a lot of questions about trade stuff, so that was our way of getting ahead of it," deGrom said. "I think we expressed that we enjoyed it here and we'd like to stay. It's up to the Mets. I've really enjoyed my time here and enjoyed winning here; I'd like to get back to that."

Mark Feinsand, an executive reporter, originally joined MLB.com as a reporter in 2001.

Jacob deGrom

On record-setting night, AL outslugs NL

MLB.com @castrovince

WASHINGTON -- The ball wasn't flying out of Nationals Park quite as frequently as it did during Bryce Harper's heroic hometown homer binge a night earlier, but it was flying all the same in a dinger-driven, record-breaking 89th All-Star Game presented by Mastercard on Tuesday night.

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WASHINGTON -- The ball wasn't flying out of Nationals Park quite as frequently as it did during Bryce Harper's heroic hometown homer binge a night earlier, but it was flying all the same in a dinger-driven, record-breaking 89th All-Star Game presented by Mastercard on Tuesday night.

Video: 2018 All-Star Game sets new record with 10 home runs

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In the end, the two standout swats were the back-to-back solo shots hit by Astros teammates Alex Bregman and George Springer -- off a Dodgers pitcher (Ross Stripling), no less -- in the top of the 10th inning of what became an 8-6 victory for the American League.

Video: 2018 ASG: Bregman wins MVP, gives car to his mother

Bregman was given the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet for his role in the AL's sixth straight win in the Midsummer Classic.

"I took a cutter down the middle of the first pitch and kind of went into battle mode and just was trying to put a line drive in play, and it left the yard," said Bregman. "It was crazy. It was a lot of fun."

But while the result reflects the AL's recent dominance in this summer showcase and, in a way, the Astros' standing as defending champs, the game itself was reflective of the homer-happy times we live in.

Video: 2018 ASG: AL bash 5 homers to earn extra-innings win

"It was like a regular-season game with the home runs accounting for pretty much everything," said Blue Jays pitcher J.A. Happ, who made a rare turn in the "closer" role by getting the save in the 10th. "Maybe a few less walks than normal, but pretty standard stuff. We were commenting in the bullpen that that's the way it's going these days."

The two teams combined for 10 homers, destroying the previous record of six that had last been reached in 1971 by some gentlemen named Johnny Bench, Hank Aaron, Reggie Jackson, Frank Robinson, Harmon Killebrew and Roberto Clemente -- Hall of Famers, all.

Video: 2018 ASG: NL crush 5 home runs in Washington, D.C.

Maybe not all of the blasts on this night were hit by guys who are Cooperstown-bound. But Bregman, Springer, Aaron Judge, Mike Trout, Willson Contreras, Trevor Story, Jean Segura, Christian Yelich, Scooter Gennett and Joey Votto collectively put up a performance for the All-Star ages. All but one of the game's 14 runs was driven in by a long ball.

Video: 2018 ASG: Segura clobbers a go-ahead 3-run HR

"To kind of empty your tank and hit homers at this event is probably the best thing imaginable," said AL and Astros manager AJ Hinch. "Just to have that kind of emotion that comes with the home run. Especially when the big boys hit it, and especially when the Astros hit it."

Video: 2018 ASG: Hinch on Bregman, Springer in All-Star Game

The AL seemingly had the game in hand thanks to Segura's pinch-hit three-run homer off Josh Hader in the top of the eighth. But Gennett wowed the crowd and stunned the junior circuit by taking Mariners closer Edwin Diaz deep in the bottom of the ninth to tie it.

To extras it went, and it didn't take long for Bregman and Springer to summon the Fall Classic magic of old. The AL added another run on -- of all things -- a sacrifice fly from Michael Brantley. And though Votto's solo shot in the bottom of the 10th kept things interesting, Happ was able to close it out before any more dinger drama developed.

Video: 2018 ASG: Sale K's 1 in scoreless 1st inning

So this was a night for watching it fly and letting it fly. AL starter Chris Sale threw a fastball clocked by Statcast™ at 100.7 mph -- his fastest pitch since 2010. NL starter Max Scherzer threw his four fastest pitches of the season en route to striking out four in two innings of work.

Video: 2018 ASG: Scherzer fans 4 batters in ASG start

The All-Stars capitalized on their opportunity to showcase their skills in the nation's capital, and they let their personalities show, too, with in-game selfies and mic'd-up position players. Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor felt so bad when he couldn't muscle a drive over the wall that he dropped down and did some pushups. It was that kind of night.

Video: 2018 ASG: Lindor hits the grass for some pushups

There was even some off-the-field drama developing, with reports swirling about Manny Machado possibly heading to the Dodgers as he played what might have been his last game in a Baltimore Orioles uniform. In an in-game interview with FOX Sports and MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal, Machado acknowledged the not-so-subtle storyline by saying, "If this is the last time, hopefully I treated them well, I did everything I could for the organization."

Video: 2018 ASG: Machado talks All-Star Game, trade rumors

The AL could be losing one of its signature stars. But it won a game that very much resembled a Derby.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Gennett's game-tying homer might get lost to history, given the end result, but he still put himself in a pretty cool spot in the All-Star history books. When he hit his two-run, 396-foot blast off Diaz, Gennett became just the third player to hit a game-tying home run in the ninth inning of a Midsummer Classic, joining Ralph Kiner in 1950 and Fred McGriff in '94. That sent the All-Star Game into extras for a second consecutive year. The last time that had happened was 1966-67.

Video: 2018 ASG: Gennett hits game-tying HR in the 9th

SOUND SMART
This was the first game in MLB history -- regular season, postseason or All-Star -- in which five players homered for each team.

HE SAID IT
"In the beginning, it was, 'Is anybody going to get a hit other than a homer?' And at the end, it was, 'Are we going to have enough pitching to get out of this mess?'" -- Hinch

UP NEXT
Oh yes, they'll meet again. The 90th All-Star Game will take place on July 9, 2019, at Cleveland's Progressive Field, which last hosted the Midsummer Classic in 1997 (when it was still known as Jacobs Field). The AL will take an All-Star edge into that contest, having broken the all-time tie Tuesday by improving to 44-43-2 against the NL.

Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince.

Alex Bregman, Willson Contreras, Scooter Gennett, Aaron Judge, Jean Segura, George Springer, Trevor Story, Mike Trout, Joey Votto, Christian Yelich

deGrom discusses future in advance of ASG

MLB.com @AnthonyDiComo

A celebration of Jacob deGrom's present turned into an examination of his future on Monday, when deGrom's agent suggested that the Mets should either sign him to a long-term contract extension or trade him.

Responding to agent Brodie Van Wagenen's assertion to The Athletic that doing nothing "could complicate Jacob's relationship with the club," deGrom put the onus of an extension squarely on the Mets.

A celebration of Jacob deGrom's present turned into an examination of his future on Monday, when deGrom's agent suggested that the Mets should either sign him to a long-term contract extension or trade him.

Responding to agent Brodie Van Wagenen's assertion to The Athletic that doing nothing "could complicate Jacob's relationship with the club," deGrom put the onus of an extension squarely on the Mets.

Tweet from @Ken_Rosenthal: CAA���s Brodie van Wagenen, agent for Jacob deGrom: ���We have discussed Jacob���s future with the Mets at length. Jacob has expressed interest in exploring a long-term partnership that would keep him in a Mets uniform for years to come.��� 1/2

"We've said multiple times that we're open to talking extensions," deGrom said at All-Star media day in Washington. "It's kind of up to them what they want to do."

The Mets' lone All-Star and the Major League ERA leader with a 1.68 mark in 19 starts, deGrom said his agents have spoken multiple times with the Mets about an extension. But the parties have never exchanged salary figures.

Under team control for two more seasons, deGrom cannot become a free agent until age 32 -- something that, in the past, has dampened the Mets' desire to buy out his first few free-agent years. But deGrom has remained healthy into his early 30s, improving at an age when many pitchers begin declining. This season, deGrom is on pace for career bests in ERA, innings and strikeouts. He eclipsed 200 innings last year for the first time in his career.

Tweet from @Ken_Rosenthal: More from Van Wagenen: ���If the Mets don���t share same interest, we believe their best course of action is to seriously consider trade opportunities now.The inertia of current situation could complicate Jacob���s relationship with the club and creates an atmosphere of indecision.���

More than that, deGrom has become the Mets' clear ace as others have struggled through injuries and inconsistencies. Despite deGrom's standout season, his team lost more games before the All-Star break than any Mets club in the past 25 years of franchise history.

"I enjoyed winning in 2015," deGrom said. "It doesn't get more fun than that. We made it to the World Series, and we were just a little short of winning it. Hopefully, we can get back there."

Mets assistant general manager John Ricco, one of three executives filling in for GM Sandy Alderson on an interim basis, did not respond to a message Monday seeking comment. Nor did chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon, who in January defended his team's middle-of-the-pack payroll.

Adam Fisher, the former Mets senior director of baseball operations who spent 15 seasons with the organization, points out that the Mets have had a "strong working relationship" in the past with deGrom's agency and noted it would not be surprising if the two sides talk seriously about an extension in the offseason.

Tweet from @adamgfisher: 2) CAA and the Mets have had a strong working relationship in the past. It would not surprise me if they talk seriously about an extension this off-season.

In addition to deGrom, CAA Sports represents current Mets Todd Frazier, Noah Syndergaard, Jason Vargas and Yoenis Cespedes, who opted out of a long-term contract but then signed a $110 million extension with the club after the 2016 season.

Making $7.4 million this season through arbitration, deGrom should be in line for significant raises the next two seasons. Industry sources have suggested that the framework for an extension could look something like the three-year, $75 million base deal that Jake Arrieta signed with the Phillies as a 31-year-old last offseason, with deGrom's two remaining arbitration years tacked on top. A total commitment of around five years and $100 million would thus be a reasonable starting point, according to those sources.

But first, the Mets would have to engage deGrom in talks. If they decide instead to go year to year with deGrom through 2020, there is little that Van Wagenen can do, other than hope deGrom continues performing at an elite level.

The third option is to trade deGrom -- an idea that, until recently, Mets officials have dismissed. Trading deGrom would make competing in 2019, the Mets' stated goal, extremely difficult. But if the Mets do decide to do so, teams such as the Mariners, Cubs and Yankees could dangle significant packages to improve New York's farm system.

"Starting pitching is always big during the Trade Deadline, whether that's me or somebody else who's having a good year," deGrom said. "The talks have been there before. That stuff's kind of out of my control. I just try to go out there and focus on what I can control, and that's throwing a baseball."

deGrom will next do so today at the All-Star Game, where NL manager Dave Roberts has scheduled him to pitch second for the NL behind Washington's Max Scherzer. Though deGrom may be the odds-on favorite to win the NL Cy Young Award thanks to his league-leading ERA, he was unsurprised to learn that Scherzer will start in his home ballpark.

The only other time deGrom pitched in an All-Star Game, back in 2015, he struck out the side on 10 pitches. His family will be with him at this year's game in Washington.

"My first one, I don't think I got to enjoy as much as I'm trying to enjoy this one, because I was so nervous about it," deGrom said. "Anytime you get selected to the All-Star Game is a huge honor. You're surrounded by the best in the game."

While watching the 2018 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard live on FOX tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET, fans can submit their choices for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet with the 2018 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote.

The 89th Midsummer Classic, at Nationals Park in Washington, will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 180 countries. FOX Deportes will provide Spanish-language coverage in the United States, while ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network, MLB.com and SiriusXM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook

Jacob deGrom