3. 2022 Trade Deadline deals
As per waiting too long to promote the prospects, the transactions the Mets did make at the deadline were even worse. While there were internal options to fill voids in the lineup, Eppler would first send Colin Holderman to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Daniel Vogelbach. He then would send J.D. Davis, Carson Seymour, Thomas Szapucki, and Nick Swack to the San Francisco Giants for Darin Ruf. In retrospect, Eppler was essentially flipping the Davis-Dominic Smith DH tandem for Ruf and Vogelbach.
This trade is not only terrible for the lack of production from Ruf and Vogelbach following the trade deadline, but the pieces they gave up turned out to perform well. Since joining the Giants, Davis has hit .251 with 26 home runs and 120 RBI. In 2023 for the Pirates, Holderman pitched to a 3.86 ERA in 56 innings with 58 strikeouts. While these statistics are not all-star caliber, compare this production to Ruf and Vogelbach, who have now both been released from their contracts. At the time, these trades made little sense given the team was not getting a substantially better return. 18 months later, our concerns have been proven correct.
2. Not extending the homegrown talent earlier
This topic has been of note with Pete Alonso set to become a free agent at the end of 2024. The Mets have a history of extending their homegrown talent before reaching free agency. Minaya did this with Jose Reyes and David Wright in 2007. Alderson did this with Juan Lagares and Jonathon Niese in 2015. Brodie Van Wagenen signed deGrom to 5 years $137.5 million in 2019. During Cohen’s tenure, the Mets have only extended one of their homegrown players before free agency with Jeff McNeil. Otherwise, the only other rumblings of an extension were with Michael Conforto during Spring Training of 2021.
The situation surrounding Alonso highlights the mistake on Cohen’s part not to recognize the price tag he would have to pay once 2024 rolled around. With Scott Boras now representing Alonso, his contract will be an overpay as compared to negotiating in 2021 or 2022. Take Nimmo’s contract as the best example: as much as we love Nimmo, he is not worth an 8-year $162 million contract at age 31. He as well hired Boras when reaching free agency last offseason, and bidding for Nimmo’s services became expensive. Cohen would be wise not to make the same mistake with Alvarez.