The Mets lead the NL East by three games, but they’ve lost two in a row and are seeing even the sub-.500 Braves buying ahead of the deadline. Expectations are that the Phillies and Nationals could look to add as well in an attempt to win a weak division. Gee, that must be nice for their fans.
It’s not nice for Mets fans who saw their team swing a big trade for Francisco Lindor and then extend him with a monster deal to back the big talk from new owner Steve Cohen. But now Lindor could be sidelined for an extended period if the sore right side that forced him out of Friday’s game is anything serious. Oblique injuries can be really tricky and you know the Mets aren’t going to risk anything with their franchise cornerstone.
That could mean turning to the trade market for a replacement, one Buster Olney of ESPN believes the Mets could find in Chicago. And no, it’s not Kris Bryant, who received a “Welcome to the Mets” text during the offseason and who’s remained connected to them in rumors since.
As Olney tweeted Saturday morning, “Javier Baez [sic] could be a perfect match” should the Mets need to replace Lindor for several weeks. Javy could play short in the interim and move to second or third once Lindor returns, whether that’s later in July or not until closer to the end of the season.
If Lindor's injury is relatively serious — those oblique injuries can take 4-to-6 weeks — then Javier Baez could be a perfect match for the Mets. He could hold down shortstop initially, and then move to second or third later, in keeping with his career-long versatility.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 17, 2021
While I don’t like the idea of trading Javy — or Anthony Rizzo or Bryant — and I hate the idea of trading him to the freaking Mets, the desperation driving such a deal would probably increase the return. Probably not enough to pry away catcher Francisco Alvarez, the Mets’ No. 1 prospect and No. 34 overall according to MLB.com, but the Mets might be pressed into parting with No. 2 prospect (and No. 50 overall) Ronny Mauricio.
That’s still a massive longshot given the uncertainty of Javy’s future beyond this season, but having an elite defensive tandem might make Mauricio, a shortstop by trade, just a wee bit more expendable. A quick perusal of the Mets system reveals 20-year-old righty Matt Allan — who’s out for at least the rest of ’21 with Tommy John surgery — at No. 58 overall and slugging third baseman Brett Baty at No. 73 on the list.
Though it’s all speculation at this point, it’s a situation to monitor.