Is that the best you can do? David Robertson was traded last night by the New York Mets to the Miami Marlins. Yes, they’re doing him a courtesy of sending him closer to home in Alabama, to a nice weather state, and giving Robertson his October completely free from baseball.
Robertson was neck-and-neck with Tommy Pham as the most obvious Mets trade candidate on the roster. There was a perceived even bigger market for Robertson because of how bullpen-needy every single contender is. So why do many of us feel like the Mets should have done things differently?
The NY Mets blinked too early on the David Robertson trade
Infielder Marco Vargas and catcher Ronald Hernandez come over from the Marlins previously ranked 18th and 21st in their system. For a rental reliever, it’s not so horrific. It might have ended up as the best the Mets could’ve ever gotten. We will never know. It’s the timing and the positions of these two players which feels wasteful. They couldn’t have gotten one pitcher back? Swap Hernandez for an arm and it's much more palatable.
After days of wearing blue paint on his face and yelling “hold” as if he was William Wallace, Billy Eppler caved in quickly to strike a deal involving Robertson. It was with a division rival no less. The immediate thought before we saw the return was that the Marlins must be overpaying for Robertson. This wasn’t the case. Two teenage prospects nowhere near MLB-ready is what the Mets received as their gift. They're a saving bond we'll have to wait on and hope develop into something special.
Vargas and Hernandez could become something. With how many misses the Mets have had in recent seasons even before Eppler when it comes to evaluating minor league talent, fans are right to feel doubtful.
This team traded away top 100 prospects Endy Rodriguez and Pete Crow-Armstrong in a pair of completely different deals. They traded away current Boston Red Sox reliever Josh Winckowski for Khalil Lee while holding onto Sean Reid-Foley and Yennsy Diaz after landing the three in a deal with the Toronto Blue Jays for Steven Matz. Ghosts from the 2017 trade deadline are still there, too. Other than Drew Smith, the Mets haven't acquired a single major impactful minor leaguer since they acquired Noah Syndergaard and Travis d'Arnaud for the reigning NL Cy Young winner, R.A. Dickey.
This latest Mets trade seems way too familiar to other deals involving the team acquiring minor leaguers. It has been a weakness of the franchise. Outside of a short run in the early 1980s, the Mets haven’t been exceptional at identifying young talent they’ve added in trades.
There is a lot of second-guessing of Eppler this morning with some optimism that there are two kids we can watch turn into notable prospects. The price of other relievers over the next few days will either confirm or deny our feelings right now; good or bad.