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NY Mets Monday Morning GM: Having your cake, eating it too

MIAMI, FLORIDA - AUGUST 02: A detailed view of the MLB Logo tattoo on Javier Báez #23 of the New York Mets during batting practice at loanDepot park on August 02, 2021 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - AUGUST 02: A detailed view of the MLB Logo tattoo on Javier Báez #23 of the New York Mets during batting practice at loanDepot park on August 02, 2021 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
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I don’t really follow the NBA but I do know one thing: the worst place to be is in the middle. That’s where the New York Mets might be this season. Far from an elite squad yet well above the bottom feeders, the team’s identity seems to be close to .500 give or take a few lucky or unlucky breaks.

At the trade deadline, the Mets refrained from emptying the farm system in order to build what many would feel is a guaranteed playoff roster. I understand it. Uncertainty about Jacob deGrom plus some other factors had the Mets buying but not putting anything on credit.

It’s a strategy that can work. However, it feels a little bit like the Mets want to have their prospect cake and eat a playoff berth, too.

The Mets decided to compete but not go all in

Do the Mets have a good enough team to win it all in 2021? Maybe not. It’s the conclusion I think a lot of people came to even before their 2-11 streak against the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants. There has been a sparkle of hope in recent days with the team performing much better and other teams in the National League East reminding us how non-elite they are.

The team was doggy-paddling in first place for a good chunk of the year. Unable to swim away from the rest of the division, falling out of first place always felt inevitable.

There’s no reason to think the Mets should have sold at the trade deadline or even simply kept what they had. They were hemorrhaging with a need for starting pitching and offense. Each was addressed but maybe not to the extent many desired.

Realizing what they truly are and understanding this might not be their year, the Mets opted to cross their fingers then hope for the best.

The Mets front office loves their farm system

The Mets have been higher on their farm system than I can remember this year. Maybe it’s because of the new front office or some kind of mandate at SNY to post something after every loss about how great the future looks. Possibly, the Mets actually do have some fine young prospect in the system.

You never can tell with minor league players who will and who will not develop into major league saviors. This year, we’ve seen Brett Baty take huge leaps forward while Francisco Alvarez continues to provide us with plenty of hype. There are a lot of good things to say about the current farm system. The difficult thing they are attempting to do is win in the majors while still maintaining a good crop of prospects.

It’s not easy to do both.

Trading prospects is one of the easiest ways to accelerate your timeline. Most are future failed investments anyway. Convincing another organization that they could be landing a future star can easily get you a proven commodity.

I can’t blame the Mets for wanting to have their prospect cake and eat a trip to the playoffs this year. As the team fades into obscurity in 2021, I feel this club is caught in the crosshairs of wanting to do it all.

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Fortunately, by not subtracting too much, they set themselves up better in the future. Eventually, a day will come when the Mets do need to trade minor leaguers viewed favorably. Trying to win any other way will not work.

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