The Mets need another starting pitcher and at least one addition to their bullpen.
According to the Athletic's Ken Rosenthal, the Giants are open to dealing relievers Tony Watson, Mark Melancon, Sam Dyson, Trevor Gott and Nick Vincent.
In the wake of hiring Farhan Zaidi this past winter to be their new GM, it was believed the Giants would trade veteran players to help rebuild their farm system. Despite the rumors, Zaidi held on to his top talent and preached contending for an NL West title in 2019.
However, at a disappointing 9-14 and already five losses behind the first-place Dodgers, it appears Zaidi and his staff are at the very least revisiting the trade market.
As expected, according to Rosenthal, the Giants are most interested in dealing the 34-year-old Melancon, who has an exorbitant $28 million and two years left on his current contract.
Melancon is enjoying a terrific April, during which he hasn't allowed a run in 10.0 innings pitched. He's a risk, though, not just because he's earning a significant salary, but also because he is again getting fewer and fewer swings and misses, while opposing hitters continue to make more and more hard contact.
Teams will no doubt ask for promising, 26-year-old reliever Reyes Moronta, but he's set to earn the league minimum this and next season, meaning he'll likely stay put through at least next winter.
Zaidi's true crown jewel chip will be left-handed ace Madison Bumgarner, who is earning $12 million this season, after which he is set to be a free agent for the first time in his career.
Bumgarner, 29, has a 3.66 ERA (3.91 FIP) and 0.97 WHIP while striking out 30 batters in 32 innings (five starts). He battled multiple on-and-off injuries in 2017 and 2018, during which he made a combined 38 starts.
Like the Mets, the entire NL East, as well as the Padres, Cubs and most NL postseason contenders, are all reportedly on the lookout for help in the rotation and bullpen, especially since starting pitchers across the league are on pace to throw the least amount of innings this season since the modern era of baseball began.
In regards to Bumgarner, sources with some of the above teams that have reached out to Zaidi's staff all say the Giants aren't discussing their ace much, but continue to signal a desire to move him.
The same can be said for left-handed reliever Will Smith, who in July will almost certainly be among the most coveted relievers on the trade market.
To get Bumgarner, insiders expect Zaidi will want at least one cost-controlled player that can contribute to the big-league team today. He'll obviously want added prospects, as well.
It's too early to know the ask on Smith, but demand will no doubt be high.
On the other hand, teams willing to take Melancon will not need to give up much to get him.
San Francisco is hoping to capitalize on Melancon's hot start in hopes a team will take a risk and pay the bulk of his salary in return for giving up only one or two recently-drafted low-level prospects.
The best bang for the buck is probably 33-year-old, left-handed reliever Watson, who has a 1.29 ERA (2.67 FIP) and 1.14 WHIP in eight appearances this season.
He has been giving up harder hit balls, but also giving up fewer home runs, which, as long as people are fielding to expectations, can be an acceptable combination for Citi Field. He isn't flashy, but he is mostly stable. He's been losing velocity the past year or two, but his slider and change up are still strong enough that he'd be a much better option than current options such as Drew Gagnon and Jacob Rhame.
Watson will earn an affordable base salary of just $3.5 million in 2019 and $2.5 million in 2020, but each season includes significant incentives that could bring the combined total to $13 million.
It's worth noting Watson has appeared in at least 70 games each of the past five seasons. He's on pace to throw 56 this season. He's also pitched in 13 postseason games throughout his career, during which he's allowed just three runs in 12 innings. This could all be viewed as experience and reliability just as it could be viewed as a ticking time bomb in the form of mileage on his arm.
The cost for Watson has been difficult to gauge at this stage of the season, which can more or less be said about most of the above names. My hunch, based on past seasons, is that, while it would probably cost one or two of a team's top 20 prospects to get Watson in July, it would need to cost more today because it's so early in the season.
In the end, this is why it's so uncommon to see teams swing trades during April, which is when most rumors are just organizations laying groundwork for deals that happen in May or June. Van Wagenen is likely doing the same.
Instead of trading for a pitcher, I suspect Van Wagenen will sit tight, keep cycling through his farm system and hope his starting pitchers and defense get it together. Because, short of Kimbrel or Keuchel, no reasonably available pitcher walking through the clubhouse doors will have as much of an impact on the staff as a healthy and peak performing Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard.
Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) is lead writer of MetsBlog.com, which he created in 2003. He also hosts the MetsBlog Podcast, which you can subscribe to here. His new book, The New York Mets Fans' Bucket List, details 44 things every Mets fan should experience during their lifetime. To check it out, click here!