WASHINGTON - As Wednesday's non-waiver trade deadline approaches, the Mets have maintained a low profile, with Terry Collins going so far as to say he isn't expecting any moves.
"I doubt it," he said Sunday. "I have no reason to think it's going to change that much."
Collins' public stance is in line with what the Mets have been saying all along. Several industry sources concurred, calling the Mets "very quiet so far."
Rival executives, however, believe that the Mets still could swing a deal for outfielder Marlon Byrd, who at age 35 is in the middle of a career season. He's hitting .281 with 17 homers and 59 RBIs.
At issue is whether the Mets can find a partner willing to part with more talent.
Several rival executives have said contending teams likely view Byrd as a strong fourth outfielder -- worth inquiring about but unlikely to fetch the Mets a major return.
"Teams are not going to give up too much to get him," one executive said. "One solid midlevel prospect would be fair."
But another rival personnel official said Byrd's value has grown during the last few weeks and that it's possible that contenders might view him as more than a strong platoon partner. It's why Byrd remains in limbo, with the Mets holding out for a better return, especially as the market gets more defined.
"They would've moved [Byrd] for a medium prospect," the official said of the Mets' plans. "But now they can be fussy. I really think they've got some value now."
Still, it's not a foregone conclusion that Byrd will be traded. During general manager Sandy Alderson's tenure, the Mets have retained trade pieces such as Scott Hairston and Jose Reyes.
A person familiar with the Mets' thinking said the team is not inclined to move Byrd or closer Bobby Parnell, considered the team's most valuable potential trade asset.
Rival executives said the Mets have made it clear that Parnell is off-limits but that they have not taken as hard a line regarding Byrd. The Mets have been careful not to shop Byrd to avoid lowering his value, another sign that he ultimately might be moved.
With David Lennon