Remember that potential blockbuster trade between the Mets and Cubs around last year’s deadline, which got cut in half and resulted in Javier Baez and Trevor Williams for Pete Crow-Armstrong?
Well, it sounds like the Mets are making a play for another significant deal with the Cubs ahead of this year’s deadline.
According to sources, the Mets and Cubs have had ongoing discussions about a potential trade package for catcher Willson Contreras and relief pitcher David Robertson that would see New York send multiple top prospects to Chicago.
Sources say Francisco Alvarez and Brett Baty are off limits, which is something the Mets have made abundantly clear.
That said, as of late last weekend, an agreement was not yet close, as the two sides are still tweaking the package. But the current sense is that the Mets are “committed” to landing Contreras, who all of a sudden appears to be their current focus, with a week to go until the August 2 deadline.
Baltimore Orioles slugger Trey Mancini also remains a possibility, and talks are believed to have gained some momentum there. However, Mancini winding up with the Mets depends on the price tag. If the Mets acquired Contreras, or another bat, Mancini would likely be out of the question.
The Mets made an offer to the Washington Nationals for first baseman/DH Josh Bell, but they do not expect to acquire him for a multitude of reasons, centered around the difficulty of trading impact players, as well as prospects, within the division, rental piece or not.
Although a deal for two rental pieces, Contreras and Robertson, would come with a hefty price, the Mets would be injecting some major impact level talent that could uplift their offense, as well as stabilize their bullpen down the stretch.
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It’d be a challenge for Contreras to learn a new pitching staff on the fly, but he can mostly DH and catch on occasion, if the Mets believe he fits better that way. Contreras is the game’s best hitting catcher, despite his recent slump, and crushes lefties (.893 career OPS, 1.074 OPS in 2022), while last Friday’s acquisition DH Daniel Vogelbach kills righties.
The Mets know they are in a division race with the Atlanta Braves, who are right on their heels, and if they make the right moves at the deadline they have a legitimate shot at contending for a World Series title.
Keeping Alvarez and Baty, two potential future superstars and franchise cornerstones, doesn’t mortgage the future. Yes, a trade package with the Cubs that involves other top prospects will hurt the depth of their farm system, but this can be replenished. It’s more so about quality over quantity anyway.
Contreras and Robertson would help solve some of the Mets’ deficiencies and gear them up for a division race, as well as a deep postseason run.
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