The Mets should pursue these 2 players as the trade deadline creeps closer

Ryan Ragan
Andrew Chafin, mets
May 14, 2022; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Andrew Chafin (37) pitches in the eighth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

It’s no secret that the New York Mets are off to a blistering hot start. Entering the All-Star break, the team held a 58-35 record. This is just a win shy of the all-time franchise record going into the season’s unofficial midway point. 

Outside of this season, the Mets have struggled greatly over the past two decades. They’ve enjoyed a few postseason appearances, including World Series runs (and eventual losses) in 2000 and 2015. Outside of these seasons, though, the Mets have mostly been a laughingstock in Major League Baseball. The phrase “Mets gonna Met” has risen in popularity over the last few years to express disdain for the Mets’ characteristic tragic collapses that seem to occur each season. 

Despite this, things seem to be looking up for the Amazin’s. In late 2020, hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen purchased the team. Things seemed to turn around almost immediately, with the first major indication being the trade for Francisco Lindor. It only took one season before the under-new-ownership Mets have been able to show what they’re truly capable of. This start to the season is something that fans have been dreaming of for years on end. 

While this hot start is something to rejoice, this does not mean that the Mets should be complacent. In fact, quite the opposite. There are a multitude of needs that must be addressed if they seek to compete in October. Owner Steve Cohen and general manager Billy Eppler should seek to bolster the Mets’ roster via the trade market. They must work quickly as the August 2nd trade deadline approaches swiftly. 

Don’t let the Mets’ early season success fool you. They are far from a perfect team. Several glaring weaknesses on their roster are holding them back. These can easily be taken care of if precaution is taken. 

Mets Trade for Andrew Chafin:

The Mets have struggled with their middle relievers all season. To be fair, this has somewhat been a chicken-or-the-egg issue, though. Their starting pitching has dealt with injuries, causing manager Buck Showalter to rely more heavily on the Mets bullpen. The additional loss of reliever Trevor May to injury in early May has not helped. 

In order to patch these holes, the Mets should seek to pursue left-handed reliever talent in the trade market. Fortunately for them, there are several candidates who would make an abundance of sense to acquire. One such target should be Tigers reliever, Andrew Chafin.

Chafin was a free agent this offseason and was one that the Mets certainly should have signed off the bat. He was “the one that got away,” so to speak. However, that failure in the winter should not prevent the Mets from succeeding this summer.

The success Chafin has enjoyed this season is a clear mark that the Mets should try to remedy their offseason mistake of letting him go as soon as possible. His stellar 2.22 ERA through 28.1 IP and 10.8 K/9 are numbers indicative of an elite pitcher. 

While these strong marks may tighten the grasp that Detroit holds on him, there is really no reason that the Mets should not be able to pry him loose. The Tigers are 37-55, good for fourth place in the AL Central. If the Mets were able to sweeten the deal with some prospects, there is a good chance that they could make this deal happen. Personally, I would find this deal to be beneficial to both sides and an important move for the Mets to make as they march towards a run in October. 

Mets Trade for Trey Mancini:

Although the Mets offense has been spectacular so far in this campaign, there is still work to be done. The Mets rank fourth in the major leagues in runs but a measly seventeenth in home runs. They have clearly succeeded without dominant power thus far. To be able to go yard more consistently may be a key to winning more close games and making a postseason push. Just look at the Yankees, who lead the MLB in home runs with 157 and hold an MLB-best record of 64-28.

To break the contact-reliant mold the Mets have followed all year, they could seek to acquire a power bat ahead of the deadline. One name that the Mets have been connected to is Trey Mancini of the Baltimore Orioles. I think that Mancini is one of, if not the best bat that the Mets could seek to trade for. 

Generally one of the best power bats in baseball, Mancini’s 9 home runs at the break are a far cry from the 35 that he posted in 2019 or even his mark of 21 from last year. While it would appear as though he is suffering a down year, there is more to the story than that. Despite only slugging 9 home runs so far, his xHR (expected home run) value stands at 16, a whopping 7 more than his actual value. What this means is that Mancini has hit 7 less home runs than expected due to simple unluckiness or park factors. 

If Mancini were to have played all of his games at the Mets’ home stadium of Citi Field, he would have this same mark of 16 homers based on field dimensions. He truly has been crushing the ball all season. Mancini ranks in the 82nd percentile in maximum exit velocity, 84th in xSLG (expected slugging percentage), 87th in xwOBA (expected weighted on-base average), and xBA (expected batting average. It is important to take these advanced statistics into account when considering Mancini’s success. His counting stats do not tell the whole story, which is that thus far, Mancini has been far above average and a good trade candidate for the Mets. 

Mancini has been one of the unluckiest players in baseball so far. His subpar home run count does not reflect his actual performance.

Mancini has also posted an average of .277 and an OPS of .769, two of the best marks of his career. While it would be a stretch to say that he’s setting the world on fire with these numbers, he is far from struggling like the average fan may suggest. 

Moving Forward

The Mets set high expectations for themselves in the offseason. They have taken these expectations and surpassed them thus far. They are enjoying success in the first half that has not been witnessed in nearly four decades. Although they could just try to coast the rest of the season, this is not the way that owner Steve Cohen operates. The Mets do not seek to glide into a playoff spot and simply do as they’re expected. Rather, they are looking to win now. As Steve Cohen said when he first bought the team, “If we don’t win a World Series in 3-5 years, that would be disappointing.” 

The clock is ticking for Cohen and the Mets to fulfill that promise. It is impossible to be certain what moves the Mets will make this month as the deadline approaches. Keep an eye out for Chafin and Mancini to be moved to New York. To me, these are two easy moves the Mets can make to immediately better their team. In addition, they are players that should succeed in New York and will cause the Mets’ chances of making a run at a title to quickly tick upwards. 

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