Mets more likely to buy than sell?

Though the Mets are still not close to playoff contention despite playing better of late, they may (rather counter-intuitively) be more likely to buy than sell at this year’s Trade Deadline.

Simply put, the Mets do not have many pieces to sell that would be of use to contenders. Their best trade chip, starting pitcher Jon Niese, is out indefinitely with a shoulder injury, sapping him of any short-term value. Closer Bobby Parnell is another desirable chip, but the Mets have already expressed a desire to hang onto him. And starter Shaun Marcum’s salary ($4 million plus incentives) and on-field struggles may prove prohibitive.

What the Mets do have a surplus of are pitching prospects, from Rafael Montero to Noah Syndergaard to Michael Fulmer, Domingo Tapia and others. Packaging several of them together could land them an elite outfield prospect, or even a veteran outfielder at the big league level.

“If [a high-profile trade offer] came up this year, would we talk about [the top Minor League pitchers]? That’s a good question,” assistant general manager John Ricco recently told the New York Post. “Knowing what we have now, we could go either way on it. You could basically say, ‘Hey, we’re going to see this through with pitching and just go all in that way and just try to address the hitters through free agency or lower-level trades,’ or we could say, ‘Hey, we’ve got enough, we think — with the pitching we have now — we have enough to move one of the other guys.’”

Ricco went on to say that in any event, the Mets will practice prudence.

“It’s one thing to look for somebody to help us this year,” he told the Post. “To find someone to help for the long term, it’s a much smaller universe of players. … I think it might be tougher to do a deal like that.”

–Anthony DiComo

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