Here’s how the Mets can avoid blowing another trade deadline

Other than the annual amateur draft, Major League Baseball teams have two big opportunities to shape a roster – the off-season and the summer trade deadline.b The Mets blew both in the last calendar year and hence we’re battling for last place instead of a playoff spot.

Short-sighted thinking is the wrong approach. Short-sighted thinking had us plugging holes with second-tier veteran free agents rather than working creative trades or spending a little more money on top tier talent. Every single off-season signing – Jay Bruce, Todd Frazier, Anthony Swarzak, Jason Vargas and Jose Reyes – has been a train wreck. Those five have all either been injured, severely under-performing or both. And with the back loaded deals we signed them to, Bruce, Frazier, Swarzak and Vargas will go from costing $30.5 million to almost $40 million. For that amount of money we could have signed two top tier free agents and filled the other holes just as well with internal pieces that would cost less and not be in the disabled list all year.

Short-sighted thinking had us trade away all pending free agents last year after we fell out of contention. True it made sense to part with Bruce, Addison Reed, Curtis Granderson, Lucas Duda and Neil Walker. But as we weren’t willing to pick up any portion of their contracts, we settled for marginal prospects in return and really accomplished nothing other than saving the owners a few bucks on payroll.

Granted it didn’t pan out in the end, but the one move the Mets made that made sense was the trade for AJ Ramos. At least it was made with an eye on the next season. If we’re going to hang on to, and hopefully commit long-term to, our top starting pitchers, as well as our emerging young players like Brandon Nimmo, Amed Rosario, and Michael Conforto, then we have to think about how we can build around them now.

Most of our other veteran players are not tradeable. Jeurys Familia and Asdrubal Cabrera will likely get traded but will not bring much back in return unless we either package them or pay part of their remaining salary. Injuries and off-years have assured us of bringing back Bruce and Yoenis Cespedes and one of them is going to have to get a first baseman’s glove to make sure Nimmo, Conforto and Juan Lagares can stay in the lineup. If that’s the case, why can’t we think creatively about including diminishing asset Dominic Smith or future DH Peter Alonso in a deal? Maybe packaging one of them with Zack Wheeler could land us a reliable closer or athletic second baseman under contract for next season.

If the thinking is that Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard are untouchable building blocks, what about Steven Matz? Where do we draw the line? Are Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman off-limits too? Surely those guys have value. If we’re stuck with Cespedes and Bruce and we’ve fallen in love with Nimmo, what about dangling Conforto and/or Lagares? Fan favorite Wilmer Flores has value as a bench player on a playoff team. The lineup, defense and bullpen are all going to have a lot of question marks heading into the off-season, especially once we trade away a few more players. Why not try to address a foreseeable need now? The law-firm sounding trio of Ricco, Ricciardi and Minaya better put their thinking caps on.

15 comments for “Here’s how the Mets can avoid blowing another trade deadline

  1. b
    July 20, 2018 at 9:15 am

    trash

  2. Chris F
    July 20, 2018 at 10:22 am

    The situation is quite complicated. I am growing more confident that the new GM will not be one of the three headed hydra. The new GM deserves to have the power to make big moves. I think this will be a minimal activity deadline all things considered.

    Sure, we will say goodbye to Droobs and whoever, but Im not expecting much in return. The biggest decision the hydra can make IMO is this: it is time to get the young guys who are ready to see the Show in there and forsake dreams of “winning” or “playing spoiler” any such folly things and see if anyone has talent. So DFA Reyes, get as much time behind the plate as possible for KP, put Smith at 1B and leave him there etc.

  3. Caco de muneca
    July 20, 2018 at 10:28 am

    So if we trade the Conforto, Flores, Wheeler, Cabrera, Familia etc, in order to get decent prospects, you have to ask yourself, what is the point of making those trades when you will end up with a worse team?

    The 2 players who will get you a boat load of prospects are deGrom and Syndergaard. If you are not willing to trade those, why trade Wheeler and Matz who are still under control? Wouldn’t you have to replace them too at a higher price? Where are the internal replacements for them?

    Here is a different idea, keep the rotation, upgrade the BP, get rid of the dead weight and sign the contact players with speed that the team needs.

    Find out this year, not next what you have in Flores by playing him the rest of the year. McNeil and others.

    • TexasGusCC
      July 20, 2018 at 2:49 pm

      Caco, that makes too much sense. Stop confusing the process.

  4. July 20, 2018 at 10:38 am

    Trading Conforto would be as bad as a move as you can make, geez.

  5. Mike Walczak
    July 20, 2018 at 11:23 am

    Here is reality. deGrom’s value is at the highest it will ever be. He will regress and probably significantly. So, why not trade him now.

  6. Eraff
    July 20, 2018 at 11:44 am

    Do we believe they have a concept for “Next”— because they need to have an idea of who and what to move, and it needs to match their measure of the Core of this team and the budget ahead.

    Obviously, the Expiring Contracts will most likely be moved…..beyond that, so much depends on what they want to do, and feels they’re capable of doing financially.

    This is a Blind Box

  7. Chris F
    July 20, 2018 at 12:29 pm

    Right. I hesitate to make serious move with long term consequences, unless the return is so clearly awesome, that even my cat could sign off on it.

    Mr Cashman: Im looking at you.

  8. Name
    July 20, 2018 at 1:21 pm

    ” For that amount of money we could have signed two top tier free agents and filled the other holes just as well with internal pieces that would cost less and not be in the disabled list all year.”

    Let’s not pretend “top tier” guys produce better results.

    The $144 million Hosmer whose .714 OPS is just 40 points above the DFAed Gonzalez?
    Yu Darvish who has made just 8 starts?
    Alex Cobb and his 6.41 ERA
    Carlos Santana and his .747 OPS playing in a bandbox?

    Those are 4 of the top 7 offseason deals.

    • MattyMets
      July 20, 2018 at 1:35 pm

      Name, those are not the guys in particular. This team wouldn’t be battling for last place if we instead signed two of Moustakas, Cain or Arrieta and filled in by waiting out the market for cheaper, more effective players like Tony Watson Jon Jay, and Francisco Liriano

      • TJ
        July 20, 2018 at 3:58 pm

        Matt,
        I get your point but I still agree with Name. Yes, the Met signings were all a train wreck, as each guy is having a career worst year. That is frankly difficult to do. But, while 2018 is shot, mostly due to losing the combination of Cespedes, Syndergaard and Ramos(the decent one, not the Met version) for an extended period for the 2nd straight season, the biggest problem with those signings is years 2 and 3 for Bruce, and year 2 guaranteed for Vargas. These two hamper flexibility going forward.

        No way I want any part of the contracts that Name mentioned above. Add to that Shaw and McGee, two guys the Mets were looking at. As bad as this offseason was, it could have been worse monetarily beyond 2018.

        I still lean towards holding all of the controllable pitching, but the flaw in the previous model is that the young positional players in their prime have to be the heavy lifters, complimented by some vets, and for the Mets it turned out to be the reverse. Hopefully, Rosario-Conforto-Plawecki grow into more dependable players, Nimmo shows he can hit lefties and sustain his success, and the Mets can acquire one or two quality athletic two way positional players and redo the pen by making wiser investment choices this offseason.

        • TJ
          July 20, 2018 at 4:13 pm

          Wow, the list is more brutal that I thought. The Met damage beyond 2018 may not be so bad after all. I believe every guy here is playing below replacement level, and some way below –
          Greg Holland $15 mil
          Jaime Garcia $10 mil
          Luke Gregerson $11 mil
          Chris Ianetta $8.5 mil
          Tyler Chatwood $39 mil
          Zack Cosart $38 mil, major injury
          Jarrod Dyson $7.5 mil
          Miguel Gonzalez $4.75 mil, 12.41 ERA, major injury
          Pat Neshek $15.5 mil, 5 innings pitched
          Lance Lynn $12 mil
          Addison Reed $15.25 mil
          Drew Smiley $10 mil, hurt
          Michael Pinieda $10 mil, rehabbing TJS

          Ouch!

      • Name
        July 20, 2018 at 4:00 pm

        Hindsight is always 20/20…. too bad in the real world no one has a crystal ball.

        “waiting out the market for cheaper, more effective players”

        But that’s exactly what they did with Frazier and Vargas, and contradicts 100% what you said about not signing bargains and going after big money guys.

  9. Chris F
    July 20, 2018 at 6:05 pm

    And this is exactly why the Mets suck so bad. Honestly, I need an AL team I can cheer for. Maybe Seattle.

    John Ricco said Dom Smith didn’t get everyday playing time because focus was on competing at MLB level. Jose Reyes, meanwhile, has played very consistently.

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