As New York Mets fans may remember, last year's trade deadline was a nightmare. The result was some distrust in Steve Cohen and Sandy Alderson, who now lead the Mets franchise.
We have entered the 2020-21 free agency season, which may be cut short due to the impending work stoppage. The Mets have officially arrived, signing Oakland's Mark Canha and Starling Marté, along with Minnesota's Eduardo Escobar last Friday. This week, the Mets signed ex-National Max Scherzer.
The deal: three years, $130 million. The average annual value is $43.33 million per year. That's more than the Yankees paid for Gerrit Cole at $36 million per year.
Scherzer was a potential trade option for New York. It's unknown as to what one would've given up for Scherzer, if only for a few months. At the time, the Mets were still at divisional first-place with one of the best odds to make the playoffs. Names added were Javier Báez from the Chicago Cubs and Rich Hill from Tampa Bay.
Fortunately for the Mets, Scherzer ended up with New York anyway.
It seemed obvious for Washington general manager Mike Rizzo: move Scherzer to your NL East rival and take the farm system. How much would the Mets want to give up? That's not known. It wouldn't be far-fetched to say that either Ronny Mauricio or Mark Vientos could've been gone with a Scherzer trade.
The end-result for the Mets couldn't be better. For the Nationals to simply suggest Scherzer was off the table for the sole purpose of giving your rival fire-power, that seems insane. Rizzo could've weakened the Mets' 22nd-ranked system, hopefully hurting the Mets for years to come. Now Washington will face him for the next three seasons.
This is a great result for the Mets. Pairing Scherzer with Jacob deGrom will give New York the arsenal of an elite rotation. A rotation like this one is rare, but could there be additions? More pitching is a big need: someone like Robbie Ray or Kevin Gausman would've been nice, but even re-signing Marcus Stroman sounds more obvious.
What's next for the Mets?
First, re-sign Stroman. We know he's loud on Twitter, but he's a solid arm and would be the No. 2 starter on at least nine major league teams. Next, re-sign Javier Báez. This feels up the Mets' alley, which it has been discussed that he may be re-signed as early as this week.
Moving for Stroman would give the Mets far more depth flexibility in the rotation, which is still in doubt after David Peterson, deGrom, and Joey Luchessi ended the season with injuries. The Mets' Opening Day rotation is still in doubt, but having Scherzer and deGrom as dual aces would be historic.
The only question now is, who starts Opening Day?
One final step: make good on draft picks. An issue that has plagued the Mets for half-a-decade is the farm system. Only two first-round picks are still with the team since 2017, which is unacceptable. Having a rich owner allows the Mets to be careless to an extent, but here's where the Mets would be after keeping Jarred Kelenic: Kelenic would replace Michael Conforto in right field as baseball's next big star. Unfortunately, he's making big headlines for Seattle.
The Detroit Tigers are the perfect example: failing on draft picks has forced Detroit to pay big for an MLB shortstop, such as Corey Seager, Carlos Correa, or Javier Báez. The Tigers still don't have a plan to chase any, and Seager has already ended up in Texas.
Billy Eppler has certainly exceeded expectations among Mets fans as he makes his first impression. Cohen, Eppler, and the Mets are the going to have the most expensive payroll in the league. Cohen is serious about winning and it's time to notice.