SAN FRANCISCO -- Asdrubal Cabrera's public request for a trade may have furthered the conversation, but even before Cabrera made his statements Friday, six weeks of losing baseball opened the Mets' minds to the reality that they are unlikely to contend for a third straight postseason berth. As such, team officials are privately acknowledging that the Mets are likely to become sellers at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.
Though officials cautioned that the Mets are unlikely to make any moves before mid-July, they will listen to calls for all their pending free agents -- a group that includes outfielders Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson, infielders Lucas Duda and Jose Reyes, and relief pitchers Addison Reed and Noel Salas. In addition, Cabrera and lefty specialist Jerry Blevins hold 2018 options on their contracts, with the potential to become free agents after this season.
The Mets have no interest in dismantling the core of their roster. But with so many members of their support cast approaching free agency, they are open to making a series of smaller moves.
"It's all about what clubs might be looking for," general manager Sandy Alderson said. "I think we're just going to have to wait and see. But in the meantime, the best thing our players can do is play well. ... I think it's fair to say we're open to have conversations. That doesn't mean we're going to do something that isn't in our short-term or long-term interest."
National League scouts widely view Bruce, Reed and Blevins as the Mets' three most valuable trade chips. In 68 games entering Friday's play, Bruce ranked tied for sixth with 19 home runs, and 24th with an .881 OPS. But below-average corner-outfield defense limits his market.
Reed has blossomed into one of the league's top setup men since joining the Mets in August 2015, posting a 2.09 ERA with 147 strikeouts in 129 1/3 innings.
The Mets' most intriguing trade chip may be Blevins, whose unique skill set -- he has held left-handed batters to a .103 average and .265 OPS this season -- is typically coveted on the trade market. Blevins' numbers are superior to those of San Diego's Brad Hand, another lefty specialist rumored to be available, and his reasonable $7 million option for 2018 makes him attractive to a contender. But that option also makes the Mets wary of parting with Blevins, knowing he could help them in 2018.
For now, the Mets will wait to see how the market develops for those three, Cabrera and others.
"People can talk about trades," Alderson said. "The bottom line is right now, there is little to no market for anybody, because there are too many teams that haven't decided if they're buyers or sellers. Quite often, very few if any deals get done this early in the summer."