Yesterday’s trade deadline was busier than I expected, with both the Oakland Athletics and Detroit Tigers adding ace-level pitchers to their starting rotations and a total of 37 players changing teams.
The New York Mets’ only move? Optioning catcher Taylor Teagarden to the Las Vegas 51s.
I’m ok with that, though it became apparent through conversations with friends and acquaintances that not all Mets fans feel the same way.
The Mets are not in a pennant race, no matter how much SNY wants you to believe that they are. It’s silly to even look at the standings when your team’s record is still four games under the .500 mark, but let’s recognize that the Mets are in fourth place in the National League East, seven games behind the Washington Nationals. They are 5.5 games off the pace for the second wild card spot, with three teams between them and the St. Louis Cardinals and Atlanta Braves, who open the day in a virtual tie for it.
Does this mean Mets players should give up? Of course not – keep winning games, and you never know what might happen. But the odds are against them and this front office is smart enough to recognize that.
Former Mets GM Jim Duquette is still vilified for trading Scott Kazmir for Victor Zambrano and Bartolome Fortunato (and Ty Wiggingon & Jose Bautista for Kris Benson and Jeff Keppinger) at the trade deadline in 2004. That Mets squad had a 49-54 record on July 31st and was in fourth place, eight games behind the Atlanta Braves and 8.5 games off the wild card pace with eight other teams in front of them.
The Washington Nationals and New York Yankees were the only teams that traded for second basemen yesterday. I wouldn’t have been happy with Zach Walters or Kelly Johnson in exchange for Daniel Murphy. The Boston Red Sox flooded the market for starting pitching, and the Tampa Bay Rays’ return for David Price tells me that there was no way Sandy Alderson was going to get anything for Bartolo Colon right now.
Only three players moved yesterday who I thought could have helped the Mets: Yoenis Cespedes, Allen Craig and Austin Jackson. The Mets do not have a playoff-tested ace that they could have traded for Cespedes, so I can’t be upset that they missed out on him.
Could Wilmer Flores have worked in place of Nick Franklin in the three-team trade that brought Jackson to Seattle? Maybe. Or maybe Tampa Bay really liked Franklin for some reason I’m not seeing.
Would Jonathon Niese have been enough to get Craig from St. Louis? I don’t know. He’s younger than John Lackey and under team control for a longer time, but he doesn’t have the playoff experience that Lackey offers. And I’m not sure I really would want Craig to join the Mets — do you really believe any of the Mets’ hitting coaches could fix his hitting problems this year?
So the Mets stood pat at the trade deadline, and that’s ok. They have all winter to address this team’s shortcomings and give us a legitimate contender in 2015. If they’re inactive again, then I’ll have a problem. For now, I’m willing to be patient a little longer.