Slumping Mets have little to sell

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Stephen Strasburg made easy work of the Mets lineup on Wednesday, racking up 11 strikeouts while throwing just 94 pitches in seven innings, and the Nationals won 5-2 to complete a three-game sweep in New York.

It was the second straight series in which the Mets have been swept. They’re 1-11 since the All-Star break and now 47-51 for the season.

The brutal stretch leaves little doubt the Mets will sell, rather than buy, at the trade deadline. But the most likely scenario is that they won’t make much noise at all. David Wright, who is under control for 2013, is staying put, and the Mets figure to work hard to sign him to an extension in the offseason. R.A. Dickey is likewise off limits, and with Johan Santana and Dillon Gee on the DL, the Mets no longer have any real pitching depth to use in trades.

So, if the Mets do shed pieces, they figure to be small. If some team wants to give up a prospect for injury-prone starter Chris Young, let them. If anyone is interested in taking on the salaries of disappointing relievers Jon Rauch and Ramon Ramirez, they can go. Tim Byrdak can retire lefties. Outfielders Scott Hairston and Andres Torres make for decent role players. That’s really about it.

The Orioles seem pretty serious about moving Manny Machado

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Orioles third baseman Manny Machado will become a free agent after the 2018 season and there has been no suggestion that the O’s and their young star have worked on a contract extension, strongly suggesting that Machado will test the open market next offseason.

While the Orioles have not said much about keeping him or trading him, yesterday considerable chatter filtered out here at the Winter Meetings suggests that they are serious about trading him now in order to get more than a draft pick in return when he eventually leaves Baltimore.

Jon Heyman reported yesterday that the Cardinals were a possible landing spot, and others have speculated that, at the moment, they’re the frontrunners for his services. Buster Olney, in a development that would make people go insane, I suspect, that the Yankees have expressed interest. It seems highly unlikely, though, that the Orioles would trade Machado within the division. Even if they did, they’d likely expect a premium from the Yankees that they would be unwilling to pay, especially given that they could easily wait Machado out until he was a free agent next year and give up nothing but cash for him. A couple of days ago we noted that the Phillies had expressed interest and the Orioles were doing their due diligence with respect to their farm system.

As far as the possible parameters of a deal, Ken Rosenthal reported that the O’s hope to acquire at least two controllable young starters in return. That’s a high price for a one-year Machado rental, but it makes sense for the Orioles to ask it. For Machado’s part, he reportedly wants to return to his original position, shortstop. He does not have no-trade protection, of course, so that may be a wish that is not fulfilled.

Machado had a down 2017, hitting .259/.310/.471, but still hit 33 homers and drove in 95 runs. In the two years prior, however, he posted OPSs of .876 and .861, and he’s still just 25. All of which is to say that the price for a team to acquire him will be high, even if he’s entering his walk year.