NY Mets: 1 trade the Mets should have made, 1 I’m glad they didn’t
By Keith Jacobs
The New York Mets were active buyers during this year’s trade deadline, with the team being linked to numerous big names. Acquiring Javier Baez was the big splash they made, and one that I think will help them not only this year but in the long term.
Among all of the players that the Mets were linked to, there’s one player I wish they would’ve acquired, and one player I’m happy they didn’t trade for. Here are those two players.
The Mets should’ve found a way to get Kenta Maeda
Kenta Maeda is a guy that the Mets almost got. Originally, the Mets and Twins were close to a deal that involved Maeda and Josh Donaldson, but the deal fell through over salary issues. I think Maeda would’ve been a perfect fit.
For one thing, he’s very versatile. He’s started and relieved over his career, including being a big bullpen piece at times during his time with the Dodgers.
Speaking of his time with the Dodgers, the playoff experience that he gained during his tenure would be huge for the clubhouse. Having a guy on the mound who knows what it’s like to perform in playoff scenarios allows a manager to rest easy.
As far as him as a player goes, he’s got good enough stuff to compete at a high level. In fact, he was not only in the top three in the Rookie of the Year voting back in 2016, but he was also the runner-up in the AL Cy Young voting in 2020.
He features a 6 pitch mix with a four-seam fastball, sinker, cutter, slider, curveball, and splitter. He doesn’t throw particularly hard, but he does manage to get a lot of swings and misses. Maeda has been above 9 K/9 in every year of his career.
Finally, he’s not expensive at all and has two more years of control on his contract. Maeda is projected to make only $3.125 million per year over the next two seasons. With his contract ending at age 35 after 2023, the Mets could’ve gotten great value for two seasons, and then not needed to resign him after that.
Thankfully the Mets didn’t trade for Jose Berrios
Jose Berrios to me is the definition of someone whose hype outweighs his actual performance. Berrios has great stuff and obviously the potential to be an ace-level pitcher, but has never fulfilled his potential to this point.
At one time, he was one of the top 50 prospects in the sport, and has shown flashes of absolute brilliance, but never has put it all together for a great full season. Throughout his time, outside of this year so far, he’s never had an ERA below 3.5.
He averages 1.1 HR/9 over the last 4 seasons and currently holds a career ERA of 4.08. Those numbers don’t match up with the stuff. I’d be able to look past it a bit, or at least understand it more, if he was playing in a hitters park. However, Minnesota’s Target Field is a pitcher’s park.
With all that being said, the hype of his stuff and potential alone is what drove the asking price for him to be as high as it was. The Blue Jays ended up trading for him, but got fleeced in the deal.
They gave up Simeon Woods-Richardson, a name Mets fans are very familiar with. They also gave up Austin Martin, the former 5th overall pick in the 2020 draft out of Vanderbilt, and the 15th best prospect in baseball according to MLB.com. In other words, they gave up way too much.
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As the asking price pertains to the Mets, the Twins wanted a package that would’ve included Dominic Smith and Ronny Mauricio. That’s not a trade that I would’ve agreed to personally.