DENVER -- Entering this week's series at Coors Field seven games out of a National League Wild Card spot, and 10 1/2 out of their division, the Mets are beginning to come to grips with the possibility that they will not be serious playoff contenders this summer.
But they're not there quite yet. While a team official said the Mets are open to listening on offers for all their players, including starters Jacob deGromNoah Syndergaard
Only if they don't will the Mets start to entertain more serious offers for their veteran players. Most of the buzz surrounds deGrom and Syndergaard, a pair of stud pitchers under team control for multiple seasons beyond this one. But much as they demonstrated a reticence to talk trade for those two last summer, the Mets are unlikely to deal them this year -- barring an offer that bowls them over.
More likely, the Mets will sell off pending free agents, as they did last year in trading Lucas DudaAddison ReedJay BruceNeil WalkerCurtis GrandersonJeurys FamiliaAsdrubal Cabrera
Familia, who returned from the disabled list last week, entered Monday's play with a 2.70 ERA in 29 appearances, converting 14 of his 18 save chances. Cabrera was the Mets' best hitter for most of April and May, but has since faded into a 7-for-61 (.115) funk.
Bruce was a late scratch from the Mets' lineup Monday against the Rockies due to continued hip soreness, which could land him on the disabled list.
Bruce, who sat out three of the Mets' last four games due to lower back and hip soreness, said he felt the issue resurface Monday. The Mets plan to re-evaluate him Tuesday to make a DL determination.
"For me, it's just hard to be OK with," Bruce said of potentially going on the DL. "Obviously, sometimes it's out of your hands. … I don't want it to be a situation where I miss a ton of time when we could have just nipped it in the bud. But we'll just have to see."
Mets manager Mickey Callaway indicated more strongly that Bruce could land on the DL, saying, "We need to get Jay Bruce right so he can be the Jay Bruce that his team wants him to be, and that he wants to be."
Through 62 games, Bruce has not been that player, hitting .212 with three home runs and a .613 OPS. Also dealing with plantar fasciitis in his feet, Bruce has not homered since May 7, a span of 113 plate appearances, and has just three RBIs over that stretch.
"He's such a team guy that it's sometimes hard to understand that he might need a rest," Callaway said. "It's tough to know what players are really feeling -- especially a player that wants to go out there and play every single day, so they don't complain about what's going on. But I think this has definitely affected him."
Part of the issue is that the Mets have few outfield options behind Bruce. Yoenis CespedesJuan LagaresJose Bautista
Syndergaard (strained right index finger) restarted a throwing program Monday, playing catch on flat ground at distances up to 60 feet. Syndergaard will extend to 75 feet on Tuesday, and could progress quickly to mound work from there.
"I would venture to say that it's not going to be this long, drawn-out process," Callaway said, indicating Syndergaard will need at least one Minor League rehab start.
Cespedes (strained right hip flexor) "checked out really well" in physical therapy Monday, according to Callaway, and might advance to more weight-bearing exercises on Tuesday. He has yet to begin baseball activities.