A narrative many will say around this time of year is how they don’t want the team to mortgage the future in order to attempt to win it all right now. New York Mets owner Steve Cohen appears to be driving this ship as we near the trade deadline by regularly pointing out how it ain’t easy to navigate the general manager waters.
I understand Cohen’s logic. The Mets have a much better history of losing at the trade deadline when trading away prospects for stars. But they also have as much of a history of coming up short in their pursuit of winning it all.
The 2021 World Series is right there for any team willing to go a few extra miles. There is no true powerhouse club in the National League. Every squad has its warts. If the Mets are willing, they can first capture the NL East and then take on the rest of the NL foes in the postseason.
Lucky for them, adding at the trade deadline might not cost them a whole lot in terms of prospects. Four letters and a popular Broadway play have the answer: Rent.
If the Mets are unwilling to mortgage the future, stick with finding a rental
The housing market is crazy in the United States and lots of young people are looking to buy a home. Some are looking to upgrade. Others want their first.
The competitive nature of the housing market has driven some to reconsider their immediate need for something more than a traditional house. Instead, they’ve settled to continue to rent.
There’s nothing wrong with renting. In baseball, it’s actually a great strategy to partake in at the trade deadline. You can get superior talent for far less than you would when trying to acquire a guy with a few years on his deal. The fact that the Mets landed Yoenis Cespedes for Michael Fulmer and Luis Cessa is pretty awesome. The club had a surplus of young pitchers. They could afford to sacrifice one to the trade deadline gods.
This summer’s trade block includes multiple rentals for the Mets to consider. Jon Gray might be the best fit from the pitching standpoint. From the batter’s box, I’m intrigued by the idea of possibly swinging a deal with the Miami Marlins for Starling Marte.
Bigger names once thought to be available, such as Kris Bryant, are playing for unexpected contenders. And surely there are other names out there with zero commitment needed beyond the 2021 season.
The alternative to acquiring rentals cheaply is taking on a big contract
Aside from the available rentals, the Mets can flex their wallets and look to acquire a guy on a bad contract. Someone already mentioned with ties to the Mets is Josh Donaldson. Already in his mid-30s and signed for several more seasons, he’s someone the Minnesota Twins would be wise to move. The Mets, with their richest-owner-in-baseball, have the mullah to afford it.
These salary dump deals aren’t quite as common at the trade deadline as they would be in the offseason. Generally, contracts teams are looking to move get shifted during the winter months when any team can absorb it. However, when a player is actually performing well and can contribute, a midsummer blockbuster trade is always possible.
Looking at one final scenario relating to this, why not get greedy and see if the Mets can pair a bad contract with a younger and more talented player? Taking on the money helps negate a portion of the cost of what the younger player would cost via trade. For instance, pairing Donaldson with Jose Berrios or German Marquez and Charlie Blackmon of the Colorado Rockies could come at a lesser price.
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The Mets do need to give up something good in order to get quality back. That’s something we can all agree on. The worst thing they can do is sit idle and hope the bats wake up, the arms stay healthy, and things fall into place. To quote Noah Syndergaard from a different context, that’s not what winning teams do.