Somehow, the New York Mets managed to trade 2017 Jay Bruce for 2020 Todd Frazier this week. No, you haven’t entered the Twilight Zone.
The 2017 trade deadline was a major fire sale for the New York Mets. Included in their massive sell-off of all veterans about to reach free agency or making some good money was Jay Bruce.
Acquired one summer earlier in a deal with the Cincinnati Reds, the 2017 Mets sold him off to the Cleveland Indians. In exchange, the Mets picked up a minor league pitcher named Ryder Ryan.
Like a much more famous Ryan in Mets history, this one wouldn’t last with the organization for long. To complete the 2020 trade deadline deal for Todd Frazier, New York sent Ryder to the Texas Rangers.
The circle is now complete. The Mets have traded the 2017 version of Bruce for the 2020 version of Frazier.
This is an obvious L on the scoreboard for the Mets as far as trade grades go. Bruce was actually having a terrific year in 2017 before the team traded him. If he was a more well-rounded player and/or there was a greater market, I think his numbers could have justified getting more.
Instead, the Mets settled on one minor league pitcher that didn’t get a chance to make it beyond Double-A with the franchise. Ryder could still develop into a good big league arm with Texas or another club.
Meanwhile, the Amazins are left with virtually nothing positive to say about their 2017 trade deadline sale.
The lone player worth anything and still with the organization that they acquired back then is relief pitcher Drew Smith. Certainly a capable arm of pitching some big league innings, Smith may once again become a casualty to a roster crunch in 2021. I’m having a tough time finding a way for the Mets to fit all of these relievers on one roster especially if they still intend to add more arms.
There never were especially high expectations for Ryan. He wasn’t a top prospect in the system or a guy putting up some eye-popping numbers. Aside from having a pretty cool name, his path to the Mets would eventually get troubled by other more notable minor leaguers passing him along the way.
Ryder did finish the 2019 season with a 3.05 ERA in 44.1 frames with the Binghamton Rumble Ponies. Minor league numbers, though, can only hint at what a player is capable of.
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This story, while it may seem like it’s about Ryan, is more about how the Mets bungled up two trade deadlines. Bruce and Frazier played with each other for several years in Cincinnati and again for a little bit in New York. Somehow, with a proxy and a few years in the middle, they even ended up being traded for each other.