I've been thinking about this topic myself lately. If Steve Cohen wants his Mets to truly contend next season, they're probably going to need more players than they are going to be able to obtain strictly through free agency. It's likely that whoever is handling the GM duties this winter is going to need to consider trades, too. The Mets aren't all that deep in quality prospects, and it really wouldn't be smart at all for the medium and long term to empty the farm system. Making some trades from the Major League roster would seem a likely option, and there is a bit of a surplus.
The Mets used to possess an overabundance of pitching, but I think we can all agree that ship sailed long ago. Candidates for a trade would come from the position players. If I was the GM, Smith and Alonso would definitely be on the trade chip list. Others would be Amed Rosario, J.D. Davis and Brandon Nimmo. I'd probably also look to gauge interest in Robinson Cano coming off a bounce-back season, even if it seems unlikely that anyone would offer much for a a guy going into his age 38 season and under contract through 2023. Still, if I could get something of value back I'd have to consider it.
Of the group above, any trade using Alonso or Rosario would decidedly be selling low. Davis has also had a disappointing season overall. You have to be careful about reading too much good or bad into anyone's stats this season, keeping in mind 60 games is a mere fraction of a normal season. Still, teams are going to look at Alonso's struggles and are unlikely to offer top dollar. For Rosario, I honestly wonder if anyone would offer any value in return.
I think the Mets are going to need a real centerfielder next season. Nimmo simply can't play that position well enough, and their outfield defense suffered. Should they be able to acquire an everyday CF, Nimmo would move to LF. If you keep Nimmo, then LF is no longer available for guys like Jeff McNeil, Smith or Davis. Davis could play 3B next year, but McNeil didn't look good there at all this season. McNeil can play 2B when Cano sits or DHs, but you're probably going to want to have LF as an option for him, also. That seems to make Nimmo odd man out, even if you traded Smith or Alonso.
I like Nimmo, and would hate to see him go, but trading him seems to make the most sense - unless you could pull off a Hail Mary and trade Cano. McNeil has made himself absolutely a core player on this team, so you have to have a spot for him. Now don't get me wrong, you can keep all these guys and mix and match your way through a season. You find a good right-handed hitting CF and let Nimmo continue to play some CF along with some LF, as they tried to do this season with Jake Marisnick. Injuries have a way of chipping away at an overabundance of players in any season. Still, if you're going to make a trade of the Major League roster, your main candidates are Nimmo and one of Smith and Alonso.
I keep coming back to Cano. Maybe his bounce back season raises his value enough to interest another team, particularly if the Mets are willing to include some salary relief in the deal. If you could move Cano, you could put McNeil back at second, leave Davis as the primary Third Baseman, move Nimmo to left and add an everyday centerfielder. The DH spot could be used in a rotation to allow better defense, such as letting Alonso DH and Smith play 1B, or letting J.D. Davis DH and put a better fielder on third base.
It might seem counterproductive to trade away an all-time great like Cano, but it would really make a lot of sense given his age and diminishing skills at 2B. It would be a tough sell for a trade, but if you had a team really looking for production from their Second Baseman and is in a win-now mode, it might be possible. You might get something of decent value in return. Assuming Cohen's Mets are active in the trade market, they can replace the offense. In my opinion, there isn't a single move they could make that would give them more roster flexibility than trading Cano. It's something that should at least be explored.
Okay, I'm out for today. Please stay safe, be well and take care.