A few subtle, less splashy trades by the New York Mets could help them become a more competitive team in 2020.
But what’s next for the Amazins after this major shakeup in the clubhouse?
Clearly last year’s third-place finish in the National League standings as well as falling three games short of a wild card berth can’t sit well with the team’s management nor us the fans. While we may still have to wait a week or so before the rest of the team’s coaching vacancies get filled and sorted out, it is never too early to try to and brainstorm what this team can do via the trade route to right the ship in 2020.
But before we get started, let’s take a look at what the pressing needs are at the moment.
Clearly, the pink elephant in the room and the most glaring need for the Mets will be competent relief pitching. Mets finished with the 9th worst save conversion percentage in the majors last year, converting only 58% of all save opportunities successfully. They also had the fourth least amount of holds in all of baseball in 2019, with 59. Off the top of my head, there were at least eight games where we had a comfortable lead of three or more runs going into the eighth inning and lost the game outright due to relief pitching.
While there may be some decent relief pitching options on the free agent market this offseason, perhaps making a trade for one or two that are cost-controlled might be another plausible option for the Mets.
A Deal with the Blue Jays
Along these lines, the first trade I can see the Mets pursuing is sending minor league infield prospect Mark Vientos and relief pitcher Robert Gsellman to the Toronto Blue Jays for reliever Ken Giles.
We all know the Mets have big issues closing out ball games when they have the lead and Giles could easily be a remedy for that. If you pair Giles up with one or two decent free agent relief pitching pickups, all of a sudden that Mets bullpen isn’t quite as inept anymore.
Now the downside to this trade is that Giles has only one more year left on his contract, so essentially trading a long term asset with very good defensive skills and decent Major League potential in Vientos for a one year rental may not be the best situation for the Mets.
But costing only $8.5 million in salary for 2020 and posting a very respectable FIP of 2.57 and 1.87 ERA for the Blue Jays last year in 53 appearances, Giles has shown that he still has the goods to deliver. And at only 29 years old, he isn’t past his prime yet.