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Mets look like sellers, but will they net any positive returns?

New York Mets relief pitcher Addison Reed follows

New York Mets relief pitcher Addison Reed follows through on his delivery during the ninth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies in an MLB game at Citi Field on Saturday, July 1, 2017. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

That guy, A. Prospect, is a real dynamo. He hasn’t ruined a game all season and he is much, much better than whomever the team is thinking about trading to get him. That is the way it always seems, anyway.

Consider this a cautionary tale for the Mets, who moved a step closer to a sell-off with their 6-3 loss to the Cardinals on Monday night at Citi Field. By all means, go ahead and sell. See what you can gather for veterans on the roster. Just do not expect much from whatever prospects you get.

Sure, it always sounds like a great idea: Get rid of the unproductive guys and acquire young, promising talent. The problem is, other clubs are not clamoring to give up their best minor-leaguers for unproductive guys. And it is a long, long way from being a “Prospect” to really making a name for yourself in the major leagues.

Take this little quiz, which I posed to a few Mets historians Monday night: In the past decade, who is the best prospect the Mets obtained in a midseason deadline deal? Chances are, you’ll find that the answer was right there on the mound: Zack Wheeler.

Six years after he was acquired from the Giants for Carlos Beltran, Wheeler has yet to fully pan out, mostly because of injuries. And no matter whom the Mets trade this year, chances are they will not get anybody as good as Wheeler.

Even Jay Bruce is not likely to bring that high a yield despite the fact that he is four years younger than Beltran was then and has nine more homers than Beltran had in late July 2011. Power hitters are not such a hot commodity in the homer-happy 2017 season.

Wheeler made a few early strides Monday night in his continuing struggle to establish himself, looking sharp against the Cardinals in five scoreless innings. Then he allowed four hits in the sixth — including a home run by Paul DeJong and an RBI double by pitcher Adam Wainwright — and was gone. In the process, he helped hasten the sales rush.

Maybe the Mets can get a future reliever for Addison Reed. Who doesn’t want veteran bullpen help? A deal involving Asdrubal Cabrera could open the way for Amed Rosario to come up and play shortstop.

I would not be in a hurry to deal Bruce. Why not take a flier on trying to re-sign him? Why push him out for some latter-day Royce Ring (the pitching prospect the Mets acquired for Roberto Alomar)? With 24 homers, Bruce could add a little spice to this half-season in that he has a shot to become the first Met to hit 42 in a season (Beltran and Todd Hundley each had 41).

Four hours before the game, Bruce was taking early BP. “It’s a chance for you to really focus and work on some things in a controlled environment,” he said, adding he does not do it every day. “At this time of year, you have to kind of balance how you go about things.”

The calendar says it is time for Bruce’s name to pop up in rumors, as it did before he was sent to the Mets last year. “It’s the same exact situation for me. The likelihood of me being traded, I think, is fairly high. But that’s not for me to decide,” he said. “I have to focus on right here, right now, the games we’re playing now. This is the team I’m on, the team I’m part of.”

The Mets’ outlook is not likely to become significantly better by whatever happens before the July 31 deadline. Major improvement will have to wait for the offseason and will depend on a healthier pitching staff.

As for trades, I can only think of the player on a weak NBA team who once said, “Who would want any of us?”

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