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New York Mets: A tale of getting caught on both sides of the trade deadline

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 20: New York Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen answers questions during a press conference before the game between the New York Mets and the Washington Nationals at Citi Field on May 20, 2019 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 20: New York Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen answers questions during a press conference before the game between the New York Mets and the Washington Nationals at Citi Field on May 20, 2019 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Adding Marcus Stroman turned out to be a savvy move with the New York Mets holding on to their rotation, but not addressing the bullpen has most skeptical of team’s plan

On the one hand, the New York Mets pulled a surprise move that made their rotation better. Brodie Van Wagenen acquired Marcus Stroman to make a substantial upgrade in the starting rotation. The Mets then apparently decided they weren’t wowed with any offer for Noah Syndergaard or Zack Wheeler. That’s all fine and dandy.

Yet, the Mets caught themselves in between buy and sell mode by remaining dead silent at the deadline while other teams in the NL East worked to improve their pen: a spot where there were options that (according to reports) weren’t too pricey.

How much better off are they now?

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Sure, Stroman is a guy who can give more length in the rotation but he’s going to have to do it every fifth day just like every other starter has with a bullpen that’s been shaky for the large majority of 2019.

Meanwhile, teams within the division made an effort to bolster their respective pens. The biggest headline grabber was Atlanta trading for Shane Greene within an hour of the deadline. Washington also efforted to add depth to their bullpen with the additions of Daniel Hudson, Roenis Elias, and Hunter Strickland.

It’s a bittersweet deadline for the team in Flushing. Sure, they controlled the market and took one of the bigger names available out of play. Sure, they hold the cards to a degree now and can extend a qualifying offer for Wheeler in the off-season. In the short term of the rest of this season though, are they much better positioned to go on a tear?

A team that’s tied for the league lead in blown saves and tied for third in the league in losses by relievers would suggest otherwise.

Another case for being a buyer is the schedule. The Mets went 5-1 in a homestand against the Padres and Pirates. Now they’re in the midst of a stretch against three straight non-playoff contenders in the White Sox, Pirates, and Marlins.

Capitalizing on this recent stretch could give them some more momentum into their next series against a team ahead of them in the standings (Washington, August 9-11).

The starting rotation being a strength has certainly been nothing new. It has been in place for the last few years. The bullpen has always been a puzzle that’s not been close to being solved. If the Mets were truly dedicated to making a late-season push, they would have rectified that.

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Acquiring Stroman is fine in a vacuum, but the Mets still are plagued by the same issues and Brodie wound up doing this team a disservice by not being even more aggressive at the deadline since that’s the route the Mets wound up leaning toward.

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