While the New York Mets continue to play at just about a .500 level, they are still 12 games out in the National League East and 7.5 out of the Wild Card spot, making them sellers by the July 31 trade deadline.
One of the reasons they've been relatively competative this season has been the play of All-Star right fielder Carlos Beltran. Who would've thought that coming off of arthriscopic knee surgery and some ominous signs from spring training that the 34-year-old would have played in 92 games this season? He's batting .293/.389/.528 with 15 home runs and 61 RBI. He also leads the league with 30 doubles.
Philadelphia has suggested publicly that it doesn't want to add payroll, but it has the prospects to get a deal done. The Mets have signaled a willingness to pay some or all of the $7 million or so remaining on Beltran's salary, and Philly isn't averse to the surprise move (see Lee, Cliff).
Heyman says the biggest key is that the Mets are "open-minded" about a deal and see it as a way to get a top prospect in a deal -- so much so that they have no problems moving him within the division.
Heyman says that the Mets will aim high in a trade, as they know he's the most lethal bat on the block, and will first ask for Phillies' 24-year-old right fielder Domonic Brown.
While most of Philly's better prospects are pitchers, two people with knowledge of the talks said the Mets' first target with Philly would be top outfield prospect Domonic Brown. That may seem at first blush like a big asking price, but the Phillies are probably the World Series favorite and are clearly going for it this year, they need to get more righthanded (Beltran is a switch hitter while Brown is a lefty), Beltran is the best hitter on the market and they can fit him onto their team without paying a cent.
There is no harm in the Mets asking for a team's top prospect, especially with the leverage they appear to have in trade talks right now because of how well Beltran has played and what he'd add to a contender's lineup. Brown may be hard to pry away but I'm convinced Alderson will hold out for a very good prospect ... and whoever budges first on his request will be the one he pulls the trigger with. The front office/scouts are definitely doing their due diligence right now with regards to which prospects to target when teams come knocking.