Mets trading their Rule 5 Draft pick for a prospect was a new David Stearns trick

David Stearns continues to surprise us with the moves he's making.
New York Mets v St. Louis Cardinals
New York Mets v St. Louis Cardinals / Joe Puetz/GettyImages

The New York Mets took Justin Slaten in Wednesday’s Rule 5 Draft only to turn around and trade him to the Boston Red Sox shortly after. In return, the Mets received cash considerations and Boston’s 10th round draft pick from last year, Ryan Ammons.

Ammons came out of Clemson University and has yet to pitch professionally. As a 22-year-old lefty reliever, it’s nice to see David Stearns find a clever way to add something minor to the farm system we can only hope turns into much more down the line.

As useful as Slaten may have become with the Mets in the coming year, the forced guarantee of a 26-man roster spot would have limited them. It was a worthwhile gamble to add a player from the Rule 5 Draft. Instead, Stearns seized his opportunity to continue looking ahead instead of trying to mastermind a more affordable championship club in 2024.

Mets President of Baseball Operations David Stearns has shown he has plenty of tricks up his sleeve

Thus far, Stearns has yet to make that big cannonball splash for the team. Is it coming? We’ll hold our breaths for Yoshinobu Yamamoto all weekend long. Until then or another shoe drops, it might be more of these smaller additions to the roster we see Stearns make.

A signing like Andre Scrubb isn’t going to make headline news. Looking at his history as a professional ball player, we can see the intrigue. Scrubb dominated for much of his minor league career. In 2020 when he got a shot with the Houston Astros, he pitched to a 1.69 ERA in 16 innings of work. Scrubb did miss all of last season. In fact, he has barely pitched at all since 2019.

When the Mets signed Luis Severino it was praised by many as a low-risk, high-reward type of deal. Not exactly. The risk the Mets run into there is choosing the wrong pitcher to take one on for a season. They’ve tip-toed through the offseason thus far making only small moves other than this Severino signing which in the grand scheme of things might fall right in line with those. He is risky at $13 million for the 2024 season; one shaping up to have much different expectations.

Stearns wears a good poker face. He has done a lot of things differently this offseason than expected. He has been aggressive at turning over the roster with smaller moves. Yet to reveal his masterplan, many of us are curious if he truly is thinking in a small market way in the nation’s biggest. Outside of the Yamamoto chase, there hasn’t been much indication of the Mets seeking the services of any other significant free agents. Remove the possibility of a major trade off the table, too.

Stearns’ M.O. with the Mets will be different from the one he had with the Milwaukee Brewers. The cash-backing of Steve Cohen assures it. Right now, however, it looks like he’s up to his old tricky ways for better or “let’s see if they can turn it around next season.”