The Mets’ Outfield Dilemma and Potential Trade Pieces

Following a sorely needed series win coming off the All Star Break, the New York Mets find themselves tied at second place in the NL East with the Miami Marlins. The sense of urgency is clear after the Mets called up Michael Conforto from Las Vegas after sixteen productive games down there while sending the overmatched Brandon Nimmo back down. This sense of urgency is a sign of desperate times and desperate times call for desperate measures, which means the Mets need to get creative. Since it appears that they are unwilling to trade their top shortstop prospect Amed Rosario for reinforcements, options appear limited.

There is the possibility of shipping off someone like Brandon Nimmo or Dominic Smith, but with Nimmo’s offensive struggles and Duda’s hampering back injury, it doesn’t appear likely. Then there is the odd man out who will be replaced in right field during the series opener against the Chicago Cubs. Curtis Granderson is currently hitting .240 with 16 home runs and 28 RBI while largely hitting lead off this season. The numbers are decent enough to continue to write his name in the lineup and his defense in right is reliable enough. His presence in the clubhouse is certainly a positive one as he’s managed to establish himself as one of the good guys in the league. Parting with Granderson could bring back a younger offensive tool or perhaps insurance pitching, but it will be risky.

Although Michael Conforto was only hitting .220 this season along with not being very familiar with right field, it seems like the Mets are willing to comply with Yoenis Cespedes’ desire to play left field for the remainder of the season. That means Conforto will be returning with a ton of pressure to produce at the plate along with getting accustomed to right field.

It would make sense to move Cespedes to right field, keeping Conforto in left field and shifting Granderson into center field, but that doesn’t appear to be an option for Terry Collins and Sandy Alderson. The recent emergence of Juan Lagares this past series is encouraging, but one has to wonder if it’s encouraging enough to warrant shipping someone like Granderson off at the trade deadline. With Lagares remaining in the lineup amidst Conforto’s return, it could be a sign of the front office giving Lagares a shot to prove he can handle playing every day. Whether or not he can prove that, it doesn’t mean he is irreplaceable via a trade for another outfielder as we’ve seen with Cespedes last season.

Granderson’s departure could spell difficulties for the Mets in the long haul as Cespedes is likely to opt out of the contract, which could end with him signing elsewhere in the off season. Another disappointing end to the year could potentially seal his fate in the big apple. Speaking of being creative, there were talks of placing Jose Reyes out in center field but with the Astros signing Yulieski Gurriel, it does not appear likely anymore.

Whatever the Mets plans are, they better move fast as the Marlins don’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. It’s clear that the Mets want to win now and with their world series appearance last year, fans came into the season with high expectations, now is the time for Sandy and company to deliver.

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