Mets: Fernando Tatis Jr. is the reason to shop all upcoming free agents
By Tim Boyle
What does Fernando Tatis Jr. have to do with the New York Mets? His trade history shows why it’s important for the Mets to make every upcoming free agent available at this year’s trade deadline.
Should the New York Mets buy, sell, or stick with what they have at this year’s trade deadline? Whatever they end up doing, the important thing is that they make every one of their pending free agents available for discussion.
Dellin Betances, Justin Wilson, Rick Porcello, and everyone else on an expiring contract should be fair game for Brodie Van Wagenen to shop. Without getting into too much of the logistics in this article, I just want to give you one reason: Fernando Tatis Jr.
You may have heard of the San Diego Padres sensation. When he’s not clobbering grand slams on 3-0 pitches, he’s lighting the league on fire in other ways. The young star is in full bloom this year after an already awesome rookie campaign in 2019.
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So, what does Tatis Jr. have to do with the Mets and their trade deadline approach? It’s quite simple. We need to only look at how he ended up in San Diego.
On June 4, 2016, the Padres made a trade with the Chicago White Sox. Tatis Jr. and Erik Johnson went to San Diego in exchange for starting pitcher James Shields and some cash.
The deal was ChiTown blunder almost immediately. Shields had a horrific two and a half seasons with the White Sox, going 16-35 with a 5.31 ERA.
Had the White Sox known what Tatis Jr. would have become I don’t think they would have come close to letting him slip away. Crystal balls don’t grow on trees and only four years later Tatis Jr. looks like one of the league’s best players.
Let’s bring this back around to the Mets again, shall we?
The point I’m trying to get across is how sometimes you need to just make a trade for a youngster. The Padres were going nowhere with Shields. They unloaded him and landed a franchise-altering player in the process.
The Mets are in a similar position with some of their upcoming free agents. Porcello comes to mind most although we can make the same argument for any of the other players on expiring deals.
There isn’t a single pending free agent under the Mets’ control that looks guaranteed to return in 2021. Because of this, I would like to see BVW at least shop some of those guys.
It’s no secret the Mets’ farm system could use a boost. So many of their best farmhands have been dealt away in an attempt to speed up the process. To have any shot at acquiring a talent like Tatis Jr. could completely redefine the way we think about this organization’s future.
This all falls under the “easier said than done” category. If just any veteran could get traded for a future star, every team would do it.
The Mets need to decide how important it is to win this year. My guess is they want to go for it even if that means trucking through the trade deadline without making any moves at all. This is a safer approach than giving up too much of the future to attempt and make it happen.
More than ever, this trade deadline is a game of chess. Overvaluing the team’s odds in 2020 can lead to some poor decisions that hurt them going forward.
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However, if a team is willing to seemingly overpay for anyone on an expiring deal, it’s essential the scouts check every outhouse, henhouse, and dog house to see if there’s Tatis Jr. potential in the prospects they could get back.