What a difference a year makes. Last season, as the MLB non-waiver trade deadline approached, New York City's two teams were headed in vastly different directions. The Yankees were sellers for the first time in the wild card Era (1994-present), while the Mets were buyers, coming off a World Series appearance in 2015. As the Yankees sold off veteran players such as Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller, and Carlos Beltran, the Mets acquired a power-hitting outfielder from the Reds named Jay Bruce. Just like at the 2015 deadline, the Mets acquisition of a slugging outfielder would pay immediate dividends as the team made it to the postseason for the second consecutive year -- a rarity in Mets history.

This year, the tables have been turned. After a 21-9 stretch to begin the season, the Yankees have cooled off considerably, however, they still control a playoff spot and recently acquired Todd Frazier, Tommy Kahnle, and David Robertson to bolster their roster. So far, the early returns are promising. On the other hand, the Mets are a mess as they face double-digit deficits in both the NL East and NL Wild Card races. You can never truly count out a team in the middle of July, but as the late Yogi Berra said, "it's getting late early."

With that in mind, here are three moves the Mets should consider making -- assuming of course that they smartly decide to turn their focus to next year.

The free agents

With three soon-to-be free agents making more than $13 million each, the Mets should look to trade Neil Walker, Jay Bruce, and Curtis Granderson. None of these three players will fetch much of a return, especially with how much money is still owed to them this season. But, even a few mid-level prospects could be a boon to their depleted farm system.

Remember, it's not always the top draft picks that become successful Major Leaguers. Plenty of times a mid- to low-round pick develops into a nice big-league ball player. Another benefit to trading these guys is that it will allow for some of the young kids down on the farm to come up and play every day in the Majors, and that's the only way the Mets will know what exactly they have in terms of future young players.

The pitchers

Not to beat the drum of redundancy, but it wouldn't be such a bad idea if the team brass decided to trade one of their "stud" starting pitchers. Let's face it, the overly hyped dream rotation of Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Jacob DeGrom, and Zack Wheeler hasn't panned out. Now that's not to say that it can't still, but with major injuries befalling each of them since their respective call-ups, it's time to declare this group as the second coming of the once vaunted, "Generation K" starters that the Mets developed in the mid-1990's.

The problem with trading any of these five is that due to injuries and inconsistency, their respective trade values are so low that they would have to be traded for pennies on the dollar, a move the high-command surely doesn't want to make, but might have to.

Lastly, they should see what the market is for soon-to-be free agent Lucas Duda. A promising career that has been wrought with injuries has made the one-time future of the team expendable.

None of these ideas are new revelations, but with the team sinking further into the abyss as the dog days of August approach, it may finally be time to follow through and retool. There are still pieces in place that can help for next season and beyond, but in order to avoid the same pitfalls that presented themselves this season, it would be best to wave the white flag and get an early start on next year.

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