3 reasons why a Juan Soto trade never made sense for the New York Mets

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Baseball's offseason has gotten off to a relatively slow start. A few notable names have changed teams, such as Craig Kimbrel, Eugenio Suarez, Sonny Gray, and Eduardo Rodriguez, but the biggest dominos have yet to fall as the league awaits the decisions of Shohei Ohtani and countryman Yoshinobu Yamamoto. Wednesday night finally brought the first seismic event of the hot stove season, and it was a doozy. Juan Soto is now a New York Yankee.

Soto is one of the brightest young stars in the game, and after finding out that he was headed to the Bronx, many fans of the New York Mets were left wondering why their team stayed on the sideline rather than make a play for such an obvious talent.

Soto spent the first 4+ years of his career playing for the Washington Nationals, so it's fair for Mets fans that had a front row seat to his ascension into the ranks of baseball's elite players to wonder why the Mets didn't make a push to acquire a player with his prodigious power and superlative plate discipline.

Any team could benefit from having Juan Soto in its everyday lineup, particularly the Mets, whose only surefire outfield producer heading into the 2024 season is Brandon Nimmo. Why then, is Soto currently being fitted for pinstripes? Let's take a look.

1. The Mets' biggest need is pitching

Even an owner with the Scrooge McDuck-like bankroll of Steve Cohen isn't able to just snap his fingers and get any player he wants. The Mets splurged in the past two offseasons on splashy moves, signing Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander to lucrative deals, and it's fair to say that those moves didn't immediately pay off in the way fans hoped they would.

Cohen and new president of baseball operations David Stearns have espoused a philosophy of patience and player development since Stearns was officially brought on in September, making it unlikely that the Mets would again be the offseason's biggest mover and shaker.

After finishing in fourth place in the N.L. East with a 75-87 record, the Mets clearly need to make upgrades, even if those upgrades aren't of the blockbuster variety. The biggest need, by far, isn't the outfield, though. It's starting pitching.

Following his phenomenal rookie season, Kodai Senga is the ace of a staff that, as of now, is looking extremely thin. Scherzer and Verlander were both dealt at the deadline this past season, and though neither quite lived up to their Hall of Fame pedigrees while wearing orange and blue, they were still net positives.

Jose Quintana is the Mets nominal #2, and after that it's anyone's guess. David Peterson and Tylor Megill are Mets veterans by now, but we've seen enough from both to know that neither offers more than fifth starter upside. Many people are high on Mike Vasil, but with a 5.30 ERA in AAA last year, he's anything but a sure thing.

For the Mets to be competitive next season and beyond, they need to add at least two quality arms to their staff. The team is all-in on signing Japanese export Yoshinobu Yamamoto, and there are still many other starters potentially available either through free agency or trade that Mets fans would be excited to have, such as Jordan Montgomery, Blake Snell, Corbin Burnes, Dylan Cease, and Tyler Glasnow.

Young help is on the way for the Mets lineup in the form of Ronny Mauricio, Drew Gilbert, Luisangel Acuna, and Jett Williams. The same can't be said for the pitching staff. Soto would have been a huge addition, but the smarter play is for the Mets to get all the pitching they can.