People ain’t no good nor is this New York Mets trade proposal provided by Jim Duquette, a man who once was the actual general manager for the team. If Duquette was still in his role high above the Mets fans in New York, we might have a problem.
Thinking differently from the current regime, Duquette would apparently be willing to make a blockbuster trade with the Chicago White Sox centering on pitcher Craig Kimbrel.
In another situation, like a decade ago, maybe this is something to do. In 2022, it flies in the face of everything the Mets are doing.
Why this Mets trade idea is no good
Craig Kimbrel is coming off a strange year. He was elite with the Chicago Cubs for 36.2 innings, saving 23 games and posting a 0.49 ERA. Once traded to the White Sox, things changed.
Kimbrel’s time with the White Sox included 23 innings and a horrific 5.09 ERA. This might not have been an outlier. Kimbrel was pretty awful in his first two years with the Cubs, posting ERAs of 6.53 and 5.28 in his 36 innings with the team.
Approaching his age 34 season, it’s reasonable to expect Kimbrel to go face-first into a decline. The once fearless closer with 372 successful saves and a still fantastic 2.18 ERA is a $16 million payroll hit. To the deep pockets of Steve Cohen, this may barely create a lump. However, in the team’s quest to improve the bullpen this offseason, it’s important to not waste any resources to land a guy who might not be so necessary.
The Mets already have Edwin Diaz as their closer for the 2022 season but having someone in a backup role isn’t so ridiculous. Diaz has been far from perfect during his time with the Mets. I understand why Duquette views Kimbrel as a potential match for the Mets to fall into a setup role and provide them with some security.
The money, the risk, and the role are okay with me. It’s the cost that has me scratching my head.
The Mets would be giving up two of their top ten prospects to acquire Kimbrel for one year of service and for a role he doesn’t have much experience in—pitching as a setup man. For as worried as we get when closers are in non-save situations, we should feel similarly about transitioning a guy into this lesser role full-time. See Jeurys Familia over the past three years as an example of this.
J.T. Ginn and Khalil Lee may not be top-level prospects in the game. However, Ginn is the club’s second-best pitching prospect behind only Matt Allan, a guy coming off of Tommy John Surgery. Lee is a possibility to make it onto the Opening Day roster and a future option for one of the outfield spots.
What makes this trade idea a little crazier, the Mets have free agents they can acquire instead. There’s also the matter of trading more ill-fitting major league players for some relief help as well. Whether it’s Jeff McNeil, J.D. Davis, or Dominic Smith the team ends up trading away, it’s a bit more palatable than to throw away a bit of the future.
The Mets need at least one bullpen arm. Ideally, it’s a lefty. Personally, I would like it to be a free agent. Definitely, it shouldn’t be in a trade that gives up two of your top ten prospects.