As the second half of the season gets underway, the New York Mets are on the verge of becoming buyers on the trade market after winning seven of their last eight games. If Sandy Alderson is indeed looking to make a trade to improve the Mets for a possible playoff push, there are several positions he could look to upgrade. But more than anything, the Mets could use a bona fide leadoff hitter for the stretch run.
The Mets have a prototypical leadoff man on their roster in Eric Young Jr., but he’s proven himself to be a part-time player, and for the sake of lineup stability, when he’s been in the lineup in recent weeks it’s been in the ninth spot, behind the pitcher. Curtis Granderson has become the Mets’ regular leadoff man, doing so with considerable success, but if the Mets could, it’d be great to move Granderson down in the order, either fourth or fifth, depending on whether or not Terry Collins wants to move Lucas Duda out of the cleanup spot, where he’s become comfortable.
Moving Granderson down in the lineup would give the Mets more depth in their lineup, and put one of their better hitters in a position to drive in runs. However, that only works if the Mets have a leadoff hitter who plays everyday, and since it’s obvious that Young Jr. isn’t that guy, the Mets have to keep Granderson in the leadoff spot until they bring in someone from outside the organization to bat leadoff.
There are two positions where Alderson can look for a leadoff hitter on the trade market: left field and shortstop. Left field has become a revolving door of the Mets’ excess outfielders, including Young Jr., Chris Young, Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Bobby Abreu. Any player that could play left field every day would be a welcome addition for the Mets, especially if it’s a player that can hit leadoff and move Granderson down in the order.
At shortstop, Ruben Tejada has started to turn the corner, but he’s far from a standout player, and if the Mets become serious about making a run in the second half, shortstop is a position they may have to upgrade. If Alderson can find a shortstop with speed that can hit leadoff, it would be a perfect fit for the Mets and give their second half hopes a boost.
Of course, with so many teams on the edge of contention, much like the Mets, the trade market is thin, making it hard for buyers to find trade partners. But the Mets have enough quality pitchers in their farm system to pull off a trade if they can find the right player to acquire. That’s why Alderson and the Mets must scour the trade market for a leadoff hitter, because if the Mets can upgrade that spot in their lineup, it’ll make a big difference during the second half of the season.