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Mets trade deadline primer: Potential offseason trade chips

Noah Syndergaard needs a better second half to increase his offseason trade value. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Yahoo Sports will be examining the New York Mets’ options at the trade deadline. Here’s the third piece on the players who aren’t likely to be traded before July 31, but could be moved in the offseason.

RHP Noah Syndergaard (7-4, 4.55 ERA, 8.8 K/9)

REMAINING: Arbitration eligible 2020-21, Free agent in 2022

Even in a down year, Syndergaard has tremendous trade value.

The problems facing pitchers around the game have certainly caught hold of the 26-year-old.

He’s getting less hard contact in 2019 (29.4 percent) than in his All-Star campaign in 2016 (31.8 percent). But he’s already given up three more homers (14) in 71 fewer innings compared to that season. At his current pace, he’ll also finish the year with more walks than he’s ever had in a full season.

In what’s statistically been his worst season in the majors, Syndergaard suffered an unlucky injury, and the team has now attempted to best accommodate him with a personal catcher.

He showed signs of how good he can be Saturday night in Miami, where he struck out nine batters over seven innings and retired the final 11 batters.

Which is why waiting until the offseason might be the Mets’ best bet for a potential trade.

A scout recently said that the Mets could get “a haul” from a team on the verge of the playoffs in need a of a difference maker. But what goes into that “haul” could be determined in the second half.

Teams like the Padres, who are 3.5 games out of wild card contention with one of the deepest farm systems in baseball, have reportedly already inquired about Syndergaard. But the Mets don’t seem motivated to deal him before the deadline.

C Wilson Ramos (9 HR, 43 RBI, .754 OPS)

REMAINING: $9.25 million in 2020 ($10 million club option for 2021 with $1.5 million buyout)

Ramos’ season has largely been underlined by his defensive shortcomings, most notably leading to Syndergaard seemingly abandoning him for backup Tomas Nido.

The 31-year-old is second to Oakland’s Josh Phegley (12) with nine passed balls, and he’s far from an analytical darling.

According to FanGraphs, he’s near the bottom of qualified catchers in stolen base runs saved (-2 rSB), defensive runs saved (-8 DRS), pitch framing (-5.7 FRM) and defensive runs above average (-2.7).

But Ramos plays a premium position with a more than serviceable bat, which could pique the interests of a contender.

Ramos’ power hasn’t really diminished even as he’s hitting the ball on the ground more than usual (62.7 percent, which is up from around 55 percent in his career).

He topped out at 22 homers in 2016 and will likely approach 20 by the end of the season should he stay healthy, which is a career trend that he’s been able to turnaround this year, going this far into the season without a stint on the injured list.

SS Amed Rosario (.265 AVG, 9 HR, .723 OPS)

REMAINING: Team control in 2020, Free agent in 2024

This one is probably unlikely given the four remaining years of team control on the 23-year-old shortstop. But he’s on this list for that very reason.

A Rosario trade would probably signal a larger, less patient teardown of the entire roster. But he’s moveable, should provide a good return and hasn’t yet proven he’s a star.

Rosario is also a bit of a cautionary tale for a rebuilding team, like the Mets, that would look to build around prospects. He was once a top-5 overall prospect but hasn’t caught on to super stardom like Yoan Moncada or Gleyber Torres.

Scouts mentioned that he’s taken steps backward defensively, but they also said he’s still much more athletic, though lately less sure-handed, than Andres Gimenez, the 20-year-old shortstop who is widely considered the Mets’ top prospect.

Rosario ranks 21st among qualified shortstops with -14 DRS and is tied for second with 12 errors.

The Mets signaled that he might not be the shortstop of the future while teasing a move to centerfield. Mickey Callaway said the Mets, “have a plan in place," as far as figuring out if Rosario might be a good center field option.

He’s steadily improving with the bat and has already matched his season-long home run output from last year. There’s a lot there for a team to mold should the Mets decide to put him on the market.

1B/OF Dominic Smith (.287 AVG, .884 OPS, 8 HR)

REMAINING: Team control in 2020, Free agent in 2024

Smith is an everyday first baseman stuck behind Rookie of the Year candidate Pete Alonso. Among the Mets’ problems, this is one of the few good ones.

The 2013 first-rounder excelled as a pinch-hitter early in the season and has been a serviceable left fielder since Brandon Nimmo went down with a neck injury. He’s not on our list of deadline candidates because the team has hinted that they want to see what they can get out of him as an outfielder.

But if he does get moved at the deadline it would likely be to a contender like the Rays. However, waiting until the offseason opens the market to rebuilding teams -- that are in situations similar to the Mets’ -- considering he’s also 23 years old and four years from free agency.

That being considered, if not for Alonso, the Mets would be a great fit for Smith, which is why, if he can play the outfield, he might just stay put.

LHP Steven Matz (5-6, 4.87 ERA, 8.5 K/9)

REMAINING: Arbitration eligible 2020-21, Free agent in 2022

Moving Steven Matz would be preferable to moving Syndergaard if the Mets don’t go for the total rebuild.

Matz and Syndergaard are both set to hit the market at the same time, but Syndergaard is likely to cost more in the next two years of arbitration than Matz.

Unfortunately, also like Syndergaard, he’s not at premium value due to his struggles this season. His ERA is up nearly a full run from last season, and he’s continued to deal with elbow issues that have plagued him for much of his career.

Matz was skipped in the rotation and relegated to the bullpen when the Mets had an extra day off before the All-Star break. Which isn’t out of the ordinary, but Matz was the odd man out for a reason.

If he can have a strong second half and boost some of his value, he’d be an interesting trade candidate in the offseason.

Should the Mets lose 80 percent of their current rotation (see, Jason Vargas: deadline candidate) before next spring, scouts say their in-house candidates don’t live up to the current talent.

A scout that has seen the Mets’ system for close to a decade said that top pitching prospect Anthony Kay, who went to the same high school as Matz in Stony Brook, New York, doesn’t measure up to what Matz ever showed.