MLB Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz on Mets, Matthew Allan

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New York Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen watches during spring training baseball practice Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020, in Port St. Lucie, Fla. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

Things have not gone as planned for the New York Mets this year, but they aren’t bailing on top prospects to try to climb back into the thick of the playoff chase.

Tim Britton of The Athletic reported Saturday they added catcher Francisco Alvarez and right-handed pitcher Matthew Allan to their 60-man player pool, which makes them eligible for trades. But Britton also clarified the move is for “developmental reasons” and said the team is not trying to move either player. 

This would make sense, given the Mets have the 20th-ranked farm system in baseball, according to MLB.com. General manager Brodie Van Wagenen sent a potential star in Jarred Kelenic to the Seattle Mariners last year in order to acquire Edwin Diaz and the aging Robinson Cano’s massive contract, and it seems unlikely he will ship off more premium assets simply to try to get New York back into the mix.

New York opened the season with playoff expectations after posting a 46-26 record after the All-Star break last year. It was armed with young stars such as Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil, and a rotation anchored by Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Marcus Stroman.

However, things began looking a little dourer in the offseason. Syndergaard underwent Tommy John surgery in March, and there were question marks about the availability of guys like Yoenis Cespedes and Jed Lowrie.

Noah Syndergaard

Noah SyndergaardKathy Willens/Associated Press

It has only gotten worse for New York since. Cespedes’ decision to opt out became something of a sideshow when he abandoned his hotel without informing the team. Stroman announced he was also opting out just one week later. He didn’t throw a single pitch in 2020 and will be a free agent this offseason.

Injuries and strange circumstances aside, the Mets have struggled to perform on the field.

The rotation has been a mess outside of deGrom and young left-hander David Peterson. Veteran lefty Steven Matz is 0-4 with a 9.00 ERA in five starts. Rick Porcello has a 5.76 ERA in five starts, and Michael Wacha had a rough stretch before being placed on the injured list.

Meanwhile, there is uncertainty with respect to the bullpen. Edwin Diaz has actually settled in nicely after yet another rough start, and Seth Lugo looks comfortable in the closer role.

But Dellin Betances’ velocity is down, and his whiff rate ranks in just the 25th percentile, per Baseball Savant. Additionally, left-hander Justin Wilson has not been very dependable in the later innings. There is a real shortage of quality depth, as the Mets ranked 18th in bullpen ERA prior to the start of play on Tuesday, per FanGraphs.

The result of all this is an 11-14 record after the Mets defeated the Miami Marlins on Tuesday. New York is still very much alive in the playoff race, but things are more heated given the hot start of teams like the Marlins and Colorado Rockies.

While Alvarez and Allan are at the alternate site for now, they might be needed in the bigs before long.

As previously mentioned, New York’s rotation is in shambles. Allan just turned 19 in April and has not appeared above Low-A, but he has excellent stuff, and the team is banking on his upside. If he dazzles at the alternate site, the Mets might see what he can give them at the big league level given the state of the rotation.

Like Allan, Alvarez has hardly dipped his feet in when it comes to professional experience. But the 18-year-old was prolific in rookie ball last year, and the Mets could use some depth. Wilson Ramos is really struggling, and while Tomas Nido has been a pleasant surprise as a backup, Rene Rivera’s absence might lead to Alvarez being called upon as a third catcher.

Perhaps the Mets look to give Allan and Alvarez some experience. Or, as Britton stated, perhaps they really are trying to advance the development process in the absence of a minor league season.

Regardless, it does not seem the Mets are keen on trading two of their top prospects, which might suggest they intend to stand pat at the deadline and bank on an internal turnaround. 

All stats obtained via Baseball Reference, unless otherwise noted.

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