The Yankees enter the second half with a disheartening record, at least by their standards. The Mets begin with a disastrous record by any standard, and especially by a team with a payroll that is easily the highest ever.
The Yankees are the Yankees, a perennial playoff team, which gives them the benefit of our doubt. Plus, they did something positive by adding the game’s most positive man, Sean Casey, as hitting coach. Though it’s a big switch going away from an analytics-heavy guy, with the Yankees the second-worst offense since Aaron Judge went down (behind only the Royals), boldness was prescribed here.
But if the Yankees (a game out of the wild-card spot) needed to adjust, shouldn’t the Mets do something, too — and I mean more than acquiring veteran reliever Trevor Gott.
Since it’s hard to dive headfirst into the trade market when you’re sitting six games under .500, seven games out of the wild card and 10 games behind the small-revenue Marlins, here are the moves we’d recommend:
- Give emerging prospect Ronny Mauricio a chance.
- Give emerging prospect Mark Vientos a real chance. Both kids need to play, so the complication would be whether to trade a hot Tommy Pham, a cold batting-champion Jeff McNeil (whose $50 million contract makes that difficult) or perhaps bench Starling Marte.
- Find a taker for Daniel Vogelbach, a one-dimensional player who’s hamstringing manager Buck Showalter.
- Add another veteran reliever to beef up the overworked bullpen, preferably a left-handed one.
Those are mostly incremental suggestions, and they probably need to play .667 ball to grab a wild-card spot (better than anyone but the Braves played in the first half), but it’s worth a try.
Though superstar Nolan Arenado suggested he’d be surprised but not shocked if he were traded (and yes, he’s not likely going anywhere), the Cardinals more likely to be dealt include Jordan Montgomery, Jack Flaherty, Jordan Hicks and Tyler O’Neill. The Cardinals tried to extend Montgomery in spring but the gap was big.
Luis Arraez on whether he can hit .400: “It’s hard. I don’t know. If I stay healthy, I think I can do it.”
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