A trade for Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell would not be easy to swing, but the New York Mets still need to try.
According to MLB Network Insider, Mark Feinsand, the Tampa Bay Rays are willing to listen to trade offers for their ace. Although the New York Mets are not listed among the top teams said to be in the mix for the 2018 American League Cy Young Award winner, that doesn’t mean a potential trade wouldn’t make sense for this ballclub.
The Mets finished at the bottom of the NL East this past season with a 26-34 record, and it was their inconsistent and injury-riddled pitching staff that largely contributed to the team’s 2020 struggles. And considering that the Atlanta Braves signed SP Charlie Morton to a one-year, $15 contract (bringing a quality pitcher to an already stacked baseball team), the Amazins’ should feel pressure to submit a trade package for Snell and fortify their pitching rotation.
However, aside from competing against the arguable favorites to finish first in next year’s division race, the Mets need to focus on rebuilding through pitching in order to ensure that their ballclub can compete in the playoff race each season.
Rookie LHP David Peterson’s emergence last season was a positive development for the Mets due to their critical need for left-handed starting pitching. But with Steven Matz’s persisting struggle to find his form, acquiring Blake Snell would allow the new front office to close the chapter on the Matz saga and write a new story with this talented southpaw instead.
Two impactful lefties in their rotation to pitch alongside Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman, and Noah Syndergaard (when he returns from injury) is a formidable starting-five that would truly put their rotation over the top. In fact, Snell would also be a safeguard in the event Syndergaard’s rehab program takes longer than anticipated.
It’s a competitive offer for a player bound to garner many trade proposals from interested teams. It’s also a package that would fit the Rays current needs. They recently declined to pick up their Catcher Mike Zunino’s $4.5 club option and they also don’t have a catching prospect listed in their top 10 prospects list according to MLB.com.
While the Mets are also far from having a surplus of talent at the catcher position at any level of their organization, they – unlike the Rays – have the funds to go out and sign a starting catcher in free agency, like J.T. Realmuto or James McCann.
Overall, I think this is a question of where the Mets want to put their trade chips – pitching or hitting? Even though recent reports coming out of Flushing seem to indicate the new regime’s intention to make multiple impactful moves this offseason, a trade for Francisco Lindor would almost certainly take the Mets out of the running for any other blockbuster trade deals.
This is a team on the cusp of postseason contention, and they need the current players on their roster to win baseball games. They shouldn’t be trading players here and there for returns that would leave them with more holes to fill than they currently have itemized on their offseason to-do list.
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That being said, Blake Snell and his remaining 3-year $39 million balance on his current 5-year deal would be a smart trade for the Mets to make in their journey to a title in 2021.