Ex-Mets GM shares details of the big trade with the Cubs that could've been bigger

The 2021 trade deadline could have gone much differently.
San Diego Padres v New York Mets
San Diego Padres v New York Mets / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

Zack Scott wasn’t with the New York Mets for very long. Among the decisions he made, the most memorable was the 2021 trade deadline deal for Javier Baez and Trevor Williams. The Mets shipped out only outfield prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong in the deal. 

It was an unusual trade. One prospect for a star infielder and a swingman with minor league options? It could have gone either way for the Mets. Because they failed to even make the postseason and Baez was one of several Mets to alienate himself from the fans, it’s often thought of as a bad deal; maybe more so because of how great Crow-Armstrong looks like he’ll become.

As controversial as it was and remains, the Mets and Chicago Cubs almost made an even bigger blockbuster.

The Mets might have come away bigger winners in this trade

The notation of “another top Mets prospect” is a bit frightening and does make it tough to know whether or not this would’ve been a deal we’d sign off on. It does seem like Brett Baty or even Francisco Alvarez could have been the piece in addition to Crow-Armstrong. Scott didn’t reveal it and maybe that’s because no one name was the focus.

It is interesting to see that the Mets were already prepared to move on from James McCann and pay his contract back in 2021. Dominic Smith didn’t have much of a role with them any longer. Parting with him would’ve been easy for the haul the Mets get in this blockbuster that never was.

A year and a half of Willson Contreras on the Mets would have been a nice addition to the lineup. Kimbrel, as we’ve continually seen, would have been much more of a wild card. When the Cubs did finally trade him to the Chicago White Sox in 2021, he left with a 0.49 ERA. With the White Sox, he pitched to a 5.09 ERA. There’s no telling what he could have done in New York.

Scott added that Kris Bryant’s name also came up in trade discussions.

One of the big criticisms of the 2021 Mets trade deadline was how not “all in” they were. Rich Hill was added to the rotation alongside Baez to the lineup. Apparently, it wasn’t for a lack of effort as Scott was pushing to add much more from the Cubs than he actually did.

How much differently would things have gone for the team in 2021 if even more Cubs came to Queens? This could have been equally as much a huge win for the Mets as much as it could have turned into one of the biggest trade deadline failures.

Stay tuned for November 2025 when Billy Eppler reveals some insight into the kinds of trades the team wasn’t able to make at the 2022 deadline.

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