The New York Mets bought at the 2020 trade deadline in what was a half-hearted attempt to compete.
There was little doubt the New York Mets did too little at this year’s trade deadline. Nobody really held it against the front office. There are two reasons for this.
For one, the anticipation of Steve Cohen has blinded us all to any of the bad. It was right around the 2020 trade deadline that we found out Cohen had entered exclusive bidding to buy the Mets. So, while Brodie Van Wagenen was trying to improve the 2020 club, we were envisioning what 2021 would look like.
Secondly, we gave the Mets a pass at this year’s deadline because they didn’t make the team much worse. Although any of the three trades they made could come back and bite them, there’s no immediate decline for the Mets or rise for the two clubs they made deals with.
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In case you forgot, the trade deadline included a trade with the Baltimore Orioles for relief pitcher Miguel Castro and two separate deals with the Texas Rangers. From Texas, the Mets reunited with Todd Frazier and also added Robinson Chirinos to their franchise’s almanac.
None of the three were impact players to the degree you might hope in a trade deadline deal. Frazier and Chirinos were supposedly brought to Citi Field as locker room veterans.
While it may have boosted morale somewhat, it wasn’t nearly enough to have a positive impact on the standings.
Then there’s Castro. Still young, he has a chance to become an important piece in the team’s bullpen. His career numbers aren’t spectacular, but he has also only ever pitched for teams playing in notoriously hitter-friendly parks.
Frankly, there’s not much more Van Wagenen could have done at this year’s trade deadline. In retrospect, he might have looked better not doing anything at all.
The good—or not so good news depending on what you think of these players—is that each might come back in 2021. It wasn’t talked about much at the time. All have potential team control for another season or more.
This was probably intentional by Van Wagenen. At the 2019 trade deadline, we saw him make an even bigger move when he acquired Marcus Stroman from the Toronto Blue Jays. The thought with this move was to give them a starting pitcher for the 2020 season. Unfortunately, Stroman didn’t throw a pitch in the regular season at all for the Mets.
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The three acquired at this year’s trade deadline could have a bigger impact on next year’s club. However, for what they gave the 2020 team, it was far too little.