The Mets may be well-positioned at the deadline

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The thing I said earlier today about the Mets essentially being a .500 team refers to them in their current state.  Obviously if they make a few moves they can change the complexion of the race and remain in the thick of things no matter how high their current highs and how low their reasonably expected lows.

Indeed, as Buster Olney notes, the Mets could be particularly well-positioned as far as trades go given the nature of this year’s trade market. And they could even make a deal that would drive Phillies fans nuts:

There will be lots of starting pitching available, whether it’s Roy Oswalt or (perhaps) Cliff Lee or Ben Sheets or Jake Westbrook or Fausto Carmona or Kevin Millwood or Ted Lilly — and so it’ll be a buyers’ market as the Mets look for a pitcher.

There is a nightmare scenario is possible for the Phillies: Imagine if Cliff Lee, who was famously traded by Philadelphia over the winter, is dealt to the Mets? And if the Mets’ great week inspires fans to start filling the empty seats at Citi Field, you can bet that club ownership will want to do what it can to fan the flames of success.

The Mets offense could use patching up far more than their pitching at the moment, but if they could pick up someone like Lee (maybe) or Oswalt (a longer shot given his no-trade clause), they could make some noise.  And remember: Madoff or not, the Mets probably have the money to make moves many other
teams can’t. 

Report: Dodgers could pursue three-year deal with Rich Hill

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 18:  Rich Hill #44 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches in the first inning against the Chicago Cubs in game three of the National League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium on October 18, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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Free agent left-hander Rich Hill is rumored to be entertaining a three-year, $40+ million offer from the Dodgers, reports Peter Gammons. The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo corroborated the report, adding that Hill could receive somewhere between $46 and $48 million from his former team.

Hill, 36, pitched to a 2.12 ERA and 3.91 FIP in back-to-back stints with the Athletics and Dodgers in 2016. While a chronic case of blisters on his pitching hand limited the frequency of his starts, he still figures to be one of the most productive and noteworthy starting pitchers on the market this winter.

The Orioles, Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers and Astros have all been mentioned as potential suitors for the left-hander’s services, though Orioles’ GM Dan Duquette said the club has yet to make a play for Hill and ESPN’s Jim Bowden pointed out that the Red Sox are less involved in trade talks than other interested parties.

Yankees in, Red Sox out on Edwin Encarnacion

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 19:  Edwin Encarnacion #10 of the Toronto Blue Jays looks on against the Cleveland Indians during game five of the American League Championship Series at Rogers Centre on October 19, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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In light of the Astros’ deal for veteran designated hitter Carlos Beltran on Saturday, the Yankees are thought to be intensifying their pursuit of free agent Edwin Encarnacion, reports Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. The Yankees never made an official offer to Beltran, but remain in need of a DH/first baseman to give them a little more power outside of a Tyler AustinGreg Bird combo in 2017.

The Red Sox, on the other hand, are reportedly withdrawing their interest when it comes to the Encarnacion sweepstakes. According to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, they will look for a hitter to beef up their lineup without taking a “big plunge” on the 34-year-old.

Encarnacion enjoyed another All-Star run with the Blue Jays in 2016, hitting at a .263/.357/.529 clip with 42 homers and a league-leading 127 RBI in 702 PA. He’s expected to command a significant contract in free agency, and agent Paul Kinzer said that a potential deal is unlikely to be finalized before the Winter Meetings as Encarnacion is not close to agreeing to any offer. Interested teams include the Blue Jays and the Astros, though Beltran’s signing appears to have effectively taken Houston out of the running for the slugger.