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SportsBaseballMets

Five issues facing the Mets in the second half

Jeurys Familia of the Mets walks to the

Jeurys Familia of the Mets walks to the dugout after the eighth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Citi Field on June 6. Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

Trade deadline looms

The non-waiver trade deadline, which is 4 p.m. on July 31, is less than two weeks away. How many moves will the Mets make? Jeurys Familia is the safest bet to be traded, followed by Asdrubal Cabrera, though there has been more interest in the high-leverage reliever than the beat-up second baseman. Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard are long shots to go, but it’s possible the Mets will capitalize on recent successes from Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz by dealing one or both of those starting pitchers — though that would also mean giving up on them just as they start to reach their potential. Other pending free agents — Jose Bautista, Jerry Blevins, Devin Mesoraco — .are logical trade choices if the Mets can get anything for them.

DeGrom’s Cy Young chase and future

Jacob deGrom leads the majors with a 1.68 ERA (not to mention his 0.97 WHIP, .202 opponents’ average and five strikeouts for every walk). Whether he can maintain that pace and make a real run at the NL Cy Young Award could be the central on-field storyline for the Mets the rest of the way. But there’s also the matter of deGrom’s future. His agent, Brodie van Wagenen, in effect said this week the Mets should trade deGrom or offer him a contract extension. The Mets are under no pressure to make such a decision right now — deGrom is under team control through the 2020 season — but locking deGrom up to, say, a five-year, nine-figure deal would offer the pitcher and team (and other players, including prospective ones) a degree of certainty at an uncertain time.

Building blocks

The Mets will use the rest of the season in part to figure out what potential building blocks they have. Although the Mets are considering demoting Dominic Smith, they should play him on an everyday or near-everyday basis, even if it means not — as manager Mickey Callaway often likes to say — giving the Mets the best chance to win. Is Wilmer Flores a better option than Smith? Maybe. But it’s hard to blame Smith entirely for his .183/.216/.324 slash line given his inconsistent playing time as a part-time player and purported outfielder. Amed Rosario showed another flash of what the Mets think he can be — a dynamic shortstop who impacts the game on both sides of the ball — in the last week before the All-Star break, slashing .346/.370/.692. More of that would make the Mets a lot more comfortable moving forward with him at shortstop.

Finding the next GM

The answer of who the next general manager will be probably won’t come by season’s end, but the Mets reportedly plan to begin interviewing candidates for the head of baseball operations — be it a GM or president — in September. Assistant GM John Ricco, who is one of three people currently running the front office in place of Sandy Alderson, is the best bet as an internal choice. If the Wilpons choose to go outside, there are easily a dozen rival executives that deserve looks.

The Tebow factor

Let’s be honest: Tim Tebow making it to the major leagues would be the most memorable thing the Mets do in the 2018 season. And it would certainly help sell tickets. Tebow’s steady improvement, including a recent hot streak with Double-A Binghamton and an appearance in the Eastern League All-Star Game last week, makes it look more and more likely.

New York Sports