The prospects for the Mets trade are getting cloudier with the injury of Tommy Pham

NEW YORK — Halfway to first base, Tommy Pham looked bleak Thursday as the White Sox completed a two-run double in the third inning on another one of the veteran fielder’s badly damaged balls. Pham said he would be “stupid enough” to try to play through the discomfort, adding that doing so would have made things worse. But manager Buck Showalter stepped in and pulled him before the next inning. Now, the Mets are hoping Pham can sidestep the groin problem list that first plagued him two weeks ago.

The numbers show that Pham is considered the Mets’ most productive batter.

Scouts say Pham’s profiles are arguably the Mets’ best business asset.

For the Mets, that describes life on the sidelines.

New York players need to make an unlikely run in the playoffs twice as intriguing trade candidates if the Mets decide to sell.

The Mets head to Boston this weekend needing to win more games in order to at least stand before the Aug. 1 trade deadline. Their 6-2 defeat by the White Sox on Thursday ended their three-game winning streak. At 45-51 and seven games out of the bullpen, the Mets can delay decisions—whether to buy or sell, how far to go in which direction, or pursue some kind of combination—for only a short time.

Meanwhile, some odd storylines from Thursday have added to the complex picture. The three games between the White Sox and Mets drew many scouts from a range of clubs. They tracked down the guys from Chicago, who will definitely sell out. They also evaluated the players who represent the New York-to-be. for now.

An American League scout, while calculating costs and contracts, listed the Mets’ most tradeable players as Pham, David Robertson, Brooks Raleigh, and Mark Kanha.

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In addition to admiring his racket, Pham is coveted by the Residents because he cares about winning, prepares well, works hard, and carries a competitive edge.

Pham, who is only 0.831 OPS behind Francisco Alvarez (. 832) to lead the club, initially struggled with a groin problem in San Diego before the All-Star break. He said the discomfort wasn’t as bad as it had been at the time, but noted that it felt “a little tight.” He missed the time before the break, but on Thursday he scored his third straight start in left field. Pham won’t say if he’ll be able to sidestep the injured list.

“I don’t want to give false hope,” said Pham, “you know, say something and I should take my word back.” “I would say the situation is not as bad as it was two weeks ago. So there is reason for optimism.”

Things turned out differently with Starling Marty. Right before the game, Mets put Mart on the casualty list due to a migraine. They made the move Thursday, Showalter said, in part because it marked the last day such a deal could be retroactive to July 17. (Also, Marty has a baby due at the end of the month.) Over the past two days, Showalter has mentioned how Marty’s migraine led to vomiting and that the 34-year-old was sensitive to light.

While Showalter said Mart “was pretty flaky today,” the manager added that there’s a good chance Marty will be back when his stint at IL ends in a week. The situation adds to what has been a down year for Marty, who had double hip surgery in the off-season. Marty’s decline stands out as one of the reasons for the Mets’ disappointing season.

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To replace Marte on the roster, the Mets will call up first baseman/third baseman/designated hitter Mark Vientos, a league source confirmed.

Marty’s absence means more playing time for Canha, another favorite among opposing scouts due to his professionalism, versatility (he can play some first base), and baseline skills.

Recently, Canha has been doing well in a limited role. Kanha started the season as the Mets left fielder with Pham as a part-time player. But the increased femme has resulted in fewer hits on Kanha. However, Canha did well in July, going 6-for-21 with a home run.

Early Thursday, ESPN’s Buster Olney reported that teams had asked the Mets about Canha’s availability and cited the stage as a potential matchup. The link makes sense. Footballer Jared Kilinic recently made it to the injured list after breaking his foot while kicking into a water cooler.

Trading Canha and holding on to Pham could be an example of buying and selling for the Mets, depending on the yield. From a purely speculative standpoint – read: no evaluator suggested this – a few options come to mind. The Mets could trade Canha for the struggling AJ Pollock and potentially, with New York covering the small difference in remaining salary. Also, they can trade Canha and absorb the remainder of his salary for a reliever with club control or a semi-ready prospect. Owner Steve Cohen has already shown his willingness to buy contracts, which adds to the interesting permutations of several Mets trade candidates.

José Quintana stands out as another name to consider. Like Pham, the Mets need a healthy, productive Quintana in order to hold on to any hope of a playoff chase. Coming back from rib surgery to make his start in the season, Quintana showed some encouraging signs and a few things — pitch hitting, mainly — that made him a good fit for the Mets in the offseason. Against the White Sox, he threw five home runs (77 pitched), allowing two runs, six hits, no walks, and three hits.

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Quintana improved as the game went on, Showalter said, a perspective mirrored by that of the opposing scouts present at Citi Field. The left-hander left with the Mets trailing 2-1 and having retired eight of the last nine batters. Said Showalter: “He’s shown all the things he’s good at – driving a fastball and attacking batters.”

In the eyes of the assessors, Quintana presents an interesting trade filter, albeit one that is clearly complex. To deal with it, the Mets will need to find a team that needs pitching, feels good about their health, and likes and likes Quintana enough for 2024 depending on the cost and whether New York buys that year as well. But this may have already leaped too far forward. An American League scout said, “He has to show he’s healthy after the start of the day to be a factor.”

Given how much New York has lost consistency since the start, the same can be said in the context of the Mets’ chances.

This is life on the sidelines.

the athleteTim Britton contributed to this report.

(Photo by Tommy Pham: Marie Altavier / Associated Press)

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