The trade deadline is one of the most important times in MLB of the year. Since there is no hard cap on how much a team can spend, teams can choose to be big buyers and try to bolster their rosters at the trade deadline. The New York Mets made a couple of moves, but they were expected to do much more. Did they do enough?
For the first time in a couple of years, the Mets had the best record in the NL East at the end of July. It seemed as though this team would be able to run away with the division after the Braves lost Ronald Acuna Jr. and the Phillies bullpen really struggling. Days leading up to the deadline the thought was that the Mets were going to buy with intention of increasing their chances of winning the division as well as improving the roster to have a better chance at beating teams like the Dodgers and Padres in the playoffs.
In interviews prior to the deadline, acting GM Zack Scott indicated that starting pitching was the main focus for the Mets, and at the time that is what this team desperately needed. Rich Hill was acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays in which not any top assets were given up. I am personally a fan of the acquisition of Hill. He is able to go 4 or 5 innings every start, and while he is not a guy that often overpowers hitters, he is able to get outs. Come playoff time he would be able to serve as a long man coming out of the bullpen.
It is also known that Zack Scott and team president Sandy Alderson had the intention of adding more to the starting rotation after trading for Hill. Max Scherzer was probably the top target but with him being able to choose where he wanted to go, it took the Mets out of the running. There is nothing the Mets front office could have done if he simply did not want to play for a New York organization. Additionally, the Dodgers did give the Nats a haul for Scherzer in addition to Trea Turner. The Mets would have had to part with a lot to match if not top Los Angeles’s offer.
The major move the Mets did make was with the Chicago Cubs, in which Javier Baez and Trevor Williams were traded for 2020 first-round pick Pete Crow-Armstrong. With Francisco Lindor sidelined with an oblique injury, there was a hole to fill. Baez gives this team atop of the line-up guy who has some serious power. The addition of Trevor Williams gives some extra insurance for the starting rotation. If the Mets are able to make a run in the postseason this trade will likely be a reason why.
Another name linked to the Mets was former Twins starting pitcher Jose Berrios. After the acquisition of Baez was made it was announced by Mets president Sandy Alderson that New York viewed him as an ace-type pitcher and that the team really had their eyes on him. Berrios was traded to Toronto for two top-five prospects in the Blue Jays system. Similar to the Scherzer situation, it would have taken a lot to get Berrios. Alderson also mentioned that there are two sides that have to agree to a deal. This is very true, as the Mets likely made multiple offers to the Twins. If Minnesota did not think that they would be getting the best return possible from the Mets, then it wouldn’t have been smart to do a deal.
Leading up to the July 30th trade deadline, the Mets found out that current ace Jacob deGrom experienced a setback in his recovery. This could have had very big implications on what the team would do for the remainder of the day. If there was a feeling around the organization that without deGrom this team would not go anywhere, then not making a lot of moves is definitely the route that should’ve been taken. Adding Baez would show the team that there is at least some belief that a run is still very much possible without the best pitcher in the game for a while. If this team does not go very far, then they would still have a lot of future assets. If this is not the year for this team to win it all, then why go out and spend on a lot of rentals and lose most of your top prospects?
The Mets did not make as many moves as expected at the deadline. If this team is able to turn it around the next two months and play more than 162 games great then there is a chance at a championship in late October. But if the front office doesn’t think this team has the talent to do that, then choosing not to spend a vast amount of money was the right thing to do.
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