The New York Mets suffered a major blow to their World Series hopes on Thursday with the news that Edwin Diaz will be out of the season, and it could lead the team to make some moves soon to try and strengthen the team in various ways during his absence.
When All-Star closer Edwin Diaz injured his knee during a celebration with Team Puerto Rico teammates on Wednesday night, New York Mets fans certainly felt a sharp sense of dread creep down their spines. Well, their worst concerns were realized the following day when it was revealed Diaz has a torn patellar tendon.
Such an injury usually takes at least eight months to recover from and would definitely put his 2023 season on ice. The only bright side in the nightmare scenario for the organization is that the over $18 million he was set to make in year one of his record-breaking deal was fully insured, and the Mets will be able to use those new funds to improve the team.
Obviously, the strategy for general manager Billy Eppler will be to get better and hopefully acquire a star closer at the MLB trade deadline, since few teams are parting with impact players before the start of the season. This means they could pursue more arms for the bullpen, and look to upgrade the lineup so they can bludgeon opponents with their hitting and give likely closer David Robertson a little more breathing room in the ninth inning.
With that in mind, here are four players the New York Mets could target by using some of their talented prospects and extra cash on the trade market.
The Colorado Rockies seem in a perpetual rebuild and this season is no different. A player the New York Mets might be able to pull away this early in the upcoming season is first baseman, CJ Cron. The 33-year-old is in the final year of a two-year contract and the Rockies would be willing to part with him if New York were open to including prospects like Brett Baty or Mark Vientos in the deal.
Cron has smashed over 20 homers five times in his nine-year career, including 31 in 2021, and 28 during an All-Star year last season.
One interesting way to try and replace Diaz would be to trade for his brother, Cincinnati Reds prospect Alexis Diaz. The New York Mets were reportedly trying to trade for him last season and that interest likely has not changed since then.
The 26-year-old has a notable upside out of the pen and was strong in his debut season in 2022. Posting a 1.84 ERA in 59 appearances and racked up 83 strikeouts in 63.2 innings.
A smaller move that’s possible would be for the Mets to target St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Tyler O’Neil. The five-year veteran is definitely not an untradable piece for the defending National League Central champions, and New York would make the move hoping he can recapture his 34 home run and 80 runs-batted-in forms of 2021.
The trade would also not require the Mets to part with an elite prospect like Francisco Alvarez who could be saved for a big-ticket deal later in the season.
Like the Rockies, the Pittsburgh Pirates seem to be in a forever rebuild, and various players always could be up for grabs. With that in mind, the New York Mets could give the team a couple about 2022 All-Star David Bednar.
The 28-year-old who is set to become a free agent after this season had a breakthrough year last season as he posted 19 saves, a 2.61 ERA, and 69 strikeouts during 51.2 innings. Furthermore, Bednar has the potential to give New York another closer option if the well-aged Robertson fails as the replacement for Diaz in 2023.