The New York Mets' 2023 season has been underwhelming to say the least. New York spent a lot of money in free agency but have yet to receive the return on investment they believed they would. The Mets' pitching has struggled mightily, while the offense has been inconsistent. New York's lineup was recently dealt a harsh blow with Pete Alonso heading to the injured list as well.
The Mets have plenty of roster needs at the moment. Their rotation and bullpen could certainly use help, while adding another hitter or two would also benefit the situation.
Without further ado, let's take a look at four early Mets' 2023 MLB trade deadline targets.
Lance Lynn, Chicago White Sox
The Mets are 26th in team ERA and 24th in WHIP. They already rely on veteran starting pitchers like Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer, so why would trading for Lance Lynn improve the rotation? Especially given Lynn's 2023 struggles in Chicago?
It's clear that Lynn needs a fresh start. There are people around the MLB world who firmly believe he will rebound if traded. Lynn currently owns a disastrous 6.72 ERA. His struggles, though, could lead to the Mets acquiring him for a cheaper cost.
If New York acquires him and he continues to struggle, they can simply decline his club option (per Spotrac) for 2024. Perhaps he can find his footing with a change of scenery though.
Lynn isn't a pitcher who will ever back down. He's fiery when on the mound and likely wouldn't be fazed by the big market that the Mets play in.
The Mets should take a chance on Lynn.
Brent Rooker, Oakland Athletics
The Oakland Athletics' 2023 frustrations have been well-documented. With MLB expanding the playoffs, there are many teams that will face difficult decisions in regards to whether or not they will be buyers or sellers ahead of the trade deadline. Oakland, however, is guaranteed to be a seller.
The A's don't have much talent to give away at this point, but Brent Rooker will draw interest from around the league. The 28-year old journeyman has performed well during the '23 campaign, enjoying a breakout year of sorts. His current .868 OPS would help a number of teams, including the Mets.
New York has plenty of outfield options. Reliable players, though, have been difficult to come by for the Mets. Brandon Nimmo has been the only consistent outfielder in the team's lineup.
Trading for Rooker wouldn't be too expensive. At the very least, he'd be a capable fourth outfielder. If he were to continue swinging the bat well in New York, perhaps the Mets would give him an everyday role.
Aroldis Chapman, Kansas City Royals
It would be shocking if Aroldis Chapman wasn't traded ahead of the deadline. The rebuilding Royals signed him prior to the 2023 season, likely hoping he'd perform well and emerge as a trade candidate. That is exactly what has occurred, and now Chapman is expected to be one of the most coveted relievers in July.
The Mets' bullpen concerns have been discussed, especially given their lowly performance in recent action. Chapman previously pitched with the New York Yankees, so pitching in New York wouldn't prove to be too much for him. So far in 2023, Chapman owns a sharp 2.82 ERA.
The Mets could utilize him in a number of different roles. Chapman may be a 7th or 8th inning option, or possibly even a left-handed specialist. Additionally, Chapman could receive some save opportunities with the Mets. Regardless of his exact role, the Mets should at least inquire about him.
The Royals would obviously want a decent return for him, but the price likely wouldn't prove to be too steep. After all, the Mets would only be receiving a half-season of production from him, barring a contract extension.
Scott Barlow, Kansas City Royals
Sticking with the Royals, closer Scott Barlow would be a tremendous fit for any team. Given the Mets' bullpen issues, trading for him would be extremely productive.
Barlow has quietly been one of baseball's best relievers over the past couple of seasons. He posted a 2.42 ERA in 2021, 2.18 ERA in 2022, and has a 3.52 ERA so far in 2023. Barlow has been a reliable closer as well, recording 24 saves last year and seven so far this season.
The Mets wouldn't need to make him their full-time closer, although it could certainly be a possibility. In similar fashion to Chapman, simply acquiring him would benefit the bullpen regardless of a specific role.
The Mets could try and ask for a package deal of Chapman and Barlow. If not, trading for at least one of them should be the team's goal.