Over the next three weeks, you’ll wake up on your Monday morning with some reflections on what the New York Mets did at the last three trade deadlines. This week, we begin with the one that took place last year. We’ll work our way backward through the last three buying seasons the team undertook.
In 2021, the Mets find themselves at the trade deadline adding Rich Hill to the rotation, Javier Baez to the lineup, and Trevor Williams to the bullpen/sixth starter role.
The moves hardly solved the issues facing the team. And that leads to an important lesson this year’s team can take away.
The Mets didn’t do enough to solve their issues at last year’s trade deadline
Let’s flash back to where the Mets were in late July last season. Already minus Jacob deGrom, the starting rotation was a major weakness for them. Little did they know, Taijuan Walker’s recent struggles wouldn’t get any better. Carlos Carrasco wasn’t going to perform well at all for them after his late-July debut.
Even adding Baez and his hot bat into the lineup didn’t help them overcome a struggling offense. Michael Conforto never figured things out at the plate. Somehow, Jeff McNeil was hitting above 50 points lower than we figured he would.
The 2021 Mets had the kind of trade deadline a team already fully loaded would have. Hill would have been a nice fourth of fifth starter. The Mets needed him to be so much more.
Baez’s performance would have been superb if only he was the missing piece. Instead, he became one of the handful of players who actually contributed regularly to the offense.
The addition of Williams was very minor and not necessarily worth praising or criticizing. The Mets may have already had plans to possibly keep Baez around which is why they were willing to make 2020 first-round pick Pete Crow-Armstrong the sacrificial lamb in the deal. But because of the thumbs down fiasco and the Detroit Tigers offering him a bigger deal, he left.
The lesson the Mets can learn from this: go a little deeper. If you’re going to an all-you-can-eat buffet, you better waddle out of the restaurant because you truly did eat all you could. Last year’s trade deadline performance by the club left too many questions unanswered. As a result, the Mets faded quickly in August and didn’t come close to catching up in September.