The Mets acquired third baseman Juan Uribe and infielder-outfielder Kelly Johnson from the Braves on Friday in exchange for two minor league pitchers, but they aren’t done trying to upgrade their weak offense. The biggest name on the market is Padres outfielder Justin Upton, but CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Mets have been turned off by the team’s lofty asking price.
The Mets and Padres are currently at an impasse in talks involving star San Diego outfielder Justin Upton after the Padres asked for at least one high-end prospect back, and possibly two.
The Mets walked away after a suggestion that included a big prospect or two and no payment toward Upton’s $14.5-million salary, though it isn’t known whether they could resume talks at some point.
Upton is due to become a free agent after the season, so this would purely be a rental situation. Getting multiple premium prospects in return is probably unlikely, but the Padres should still be able to do better than the compensatory draft pick they would get if they kept him and made a qualifying offer this fall. Helping cover some of his remaining salary could sweeten a potential match with the Mets and other contenders.
Upton, 27, is batting .248/.326/.420 with 15 home runs, 49 RBI, and 17 steals over 91 games this season. He got off to a strong start in San Diego, but has struggled for the past two months.
In their search for an outfield bat, the Mets have also been linked to Upton’s teammate Will Venable, as well as Gerardo Parra and Carlos Gomez of the Brewers and Jay Bruce and Marlon Byrd of the Reds.
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson told reporters Thursday that he has no plans on trading Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, or Steven Matz. However, it appears that another one of their young guns is on the table in the right deal.
According to Andy Martino and Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News, the Mets have discussed right-hander Zack Wheeler in trade talks this month. Wheeler, of course, had Tommy John surgery in March and will likely be out until around midseason next year, but he’s just 25 years old and is under team control through 2019.
The Reds (who are known to be shopping Jay Bruce, among others) are one of the teams who inquired on Wheeler, though nothing is going on with them currently and Martino and Ackert are hearing that the Mets “remain unlikely to move him.” It’s unclear how the dynamic has changed after Friday’s deal for Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson, but the Mets could use another outfielder. Wheeler is an interesting case given that he’s not going to pitch again for a while, but he has the potential to bring back a valuable piece.
Yasiel Puig’s name has been floated in trade speculation this week, but CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Dodgers have told the outfielder that they don’t plan to trade him this season.
Puig asked the Dodgers about his status after he heard about a rumor which linked him to the Reds. According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the rumored return package included Aroldis Chapman and Johnny Cueto. That would be quite a blockbuster, but it turns out it was never actually discussed. Meanwhile, Heyman hears that the Dodgers “are not having any conversations about Puig and are not interested in moving him.”
Puig missed a large chunk of the early part of the season due to hamstring injury and has had a pretty quiet year when healthy enough to play, batting .259 with six home runs and a .759 OPS. Still, he’s just 24 years old and remains under team control through 2019. He might not be the most popular guy in the Dodgers’ clubhouse, but you don’t give up on this sort of talent unless there’s a monster deal coming down the pike. That scenario hasn’t presented itself yet.