Report Suggest Mets Trying to Downplay Interest in Kris Bryant, Javier Báez

With just over a week to go before the trade deadline, we’re going to see an increasing number of rumors and reports being used to push agendas. Far be it for me to suggest anyone might be shilling for teams, but some of this stuff is more obvious than ketchup on a sanitary sock. Then you’ve got Jim Bowden of The Athletic just pulling random trade proposals out of his…out of thin air, but you didn’t come here to read about disgraced former GMs inexplicably maintaining employment with a reputable outlet.

When it comes to current GMs and other front office personnel, this is a time to drop little nuggets to members of the media in an attempt to gain leverage in potential talks. Maybe they’re trying to downplay their interest in a particular player or they’re acting as though they might not be big buyers/sellers after all. Every little advantage matters right now.

With that in mind, it certainly feels as though some of Joel Sherman’s latest piece for the New York Post is trying to help the Mets get a better deal. I’m not saying Sherman is actively working with the Mets on this, mind you, only that some of the information he’s being given has the feel of being targeted.

The title of the piece is “Mets will have hard time pulling off blockbuster trade,” which I completely agree with. They’re in first place and have placed both Francisco Lindor and Jacob deGrom on the IL recently and desperation, as they say, is a stinky cologne. Other teams can smell it a mile away, so Mets president Sandy Alderson may be trying to take a shower and find a new scent.

In addition to the idea that they’re really going for it behind the financial might of new owner Steve Cohen, the Mets also face the issue of a market that lacks impact pitching. Or rather, impact pitching at a price the Mets can swing with a top-heavy system they’re reluctant to deal from in a big way. That’s been discussed here and elsewhere when it comes to the persistent rumors involving Kris Bryant.

Though it wasn’t an actual report, ESPN’s Buster Olney called Javier Báez a “perfect match” for the Mets when Lindor went down with an oblique injury. Given how much smoke we’ve seen over the last few weeks, or even months, it’s understandable that Alderson or someone in his circle would want to play a little coy on any serious interest.

“The streaky Baez [sic] leads the majors in strikeouts and is second among shortstops in errors,” Sherman noted.

“Kris Bryant has what the Cubs are calling right hamstring fatigue. But there just might be industry fatigue with the player. The Cubs have been open to trading him since 2019 and their price has not been met, suggesting his name is bigger than his value within the game.”

That last blurb reads like someone perusing a garage sale and eyeing the price on an item they covet, then making a show of moving on to something else hoping the proprietor will be in a mood to haggle. Which is to say the Mets wanted this out there. At the same time, it remains telling that the Cubs haven’t received what they feel is a worthwhile offer for Bryant or Báez or anyone else currently on the roster.

The Yu Darvish deal was more about a salary dump at a time when the baseball budget was still suppressed. The Joc Pederson move was a no-brainer for a short-term player. When dealing guys who hoisted the Commissioner’s Piece of Metal, you’ve got to be a little more judicious. With that in mind, I still wouldn’t be surprised if the Cubs fail to make a major move at the deadline.

Even if that’s just me talking from the hope that I never have to see Bryant or Báez in a godawful Mets jersey, I’m sticking with it.

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