SEATTLE — In the hallway leading to the visitor’s clubhouse at Safeco Field, the Mets’ most popular trade chip engaged in a practice run of sorts. With three days until Monday’s 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline, closer Addison Reed began hugging a few of his teammates.
“I’ve been traded,” Reed said with a wide smile, perhaps hoping to dupe a few observers as he mimicked a scene that at any moment could be real.
Indeed, within the clubhouse, a keen awareness exists of the uncertainty that comes when a team expected to contend finds itself out of the race by the trade deadline.
A day earlier, the first domino fell in what general manager Sandy Alderson hopes is a quick retooling as first baseman Lucas Duda was sent to the Rays for minor-league reliever Drew Smith. In the clubhouse on Friday, word spread quickly that Duda was batting cleanup in his first game with the Rays.
A few requested that the clubhouse television be turned to the Rays-Yankees game in hopes of catching Duda’s at-bats. Duda rewarded his former teammates’ loyalty by hitting a home run off Masahiro Tanaka in the Yankees’ 6-1 victory.
Meanwhile, another day brought the Mets more clarity about where they stand. For instance, despite a flurry of trades involving relievers, they continue to hold out for a strong return when it comes to Reed. According to a rival executive, the Mets’ demands for Reed remain “very high,” an indication of their confidence that his market is still healthy. He has been linked to the Brewers, Red Sox and Dodgers, among others.
Reed, 28, entered Friday night with 18 saves and a 2.63 ERA. He has been one of the National League’s top relievers since arriving in a trade from the Diamondbacks in 2015 and has piqued the interest of at least a half-dozen teams, a source said.
Interest in outfielder Curtis Granderson has picked up somewhat. The Brewers have emerged as a suitor for the 36-year-old, a source said Friday. The sides have maintained a dialogue, but as of Friday night, a move was not imminent.
Granderson entered Friday night hitting .225 with 13 homers and 37 RBIs, with his production bouncing back to near career norms after a brutal start to his season.
Infielder Asdrubal Cabrera also has been among those with some demand for his services. He started at third base for the fifth time this season, part of the Mets’ efforts to showcase his versatility. He also has perked up at the plate and was hitting .438 through the first four games of the Mets’ road trip.
But for others potentially on the trade block, their chances of staying put seem to be increasing by the day.
The Mets have signaled that they have little appetite for trading away players who remain under team control past this season. It’s why they haven’t wavered from a sky-high asking price for Jacob deGrom, essentially making him untouchable, according to a rival executive.
Teams also have approached the Mets about lefty specialist Jerry Blevins, only to be told that he will not be moved. To rivals, it’s a sign that the Mets likely will pick up his $7-million option for next season. Entering Friday night, Blevins, 33, had held lefthanded batters to a .173 average. If the Mets are contenders next season, he will be a valuable asset.
Rightfielder Jay Bruce and catcher Rene Rivera also could stick around past the deadline.
The Cubs have been in search of a backup catcher and had been in discussion with the Mets about Rivera, who will turn 34 on Monday. A source said those talks have stalled, leaving a potential deal unlikely.
Bruce, 30, entered Friday night with 26 homers and remains on pace for one of the best seasons of his career, but a source said interest has been mild. If Bruce isn’t traded, the Mets have considered making a qualifying offer in the offseason.