The New York Mets had three teams that could supply them with more than a single starting pitcher to choose from in a trade. The Cincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers were two of them. The other, the Oakland Athletics, were always the most realistic.
Two minutes before the first tweet came out announcing the Chris Bassitt trade, I had finished a story about how the Mets may only have the Athletics to choose from compared to the other two clubs. Whether my reasoning is correct or not, it became true.
There are a few differences between these teams. The Reds and Brewers aren’t punting the 2022 season. The Athletics always have been.
Specific to the Mets, there’s the relationship between these organizations. The Reds owner was one of three to vote against Steve Cohen buying the Mets in late 2020 and also vote against one of the proposed CBTs—basically trying to stick it to Cohen and other big spenders. The Brewers have had different run-ins with the Mets, refusing them approval to speak with David Stearns and Matt Arnold when they were looking to add to their front office.
Fortunately, the Mets and Athletics have a much different relationship
The Mets can consider themselves lucky that this isn’t the case with all teams with available starting pitching. Sandy Alderson worked for the Athletics for many years and even returned to them before rejoining the Mets under Cohen. His connection with that ball club helped save the day.
Outside of those three ball clubs, there aren’t too many intriguing pitchers on the trade market. We can reach for some ideas on other teams. Given the current state of the starting pitcher market, not too many out there have both the talent and excess the Mets were looking to add.
Even better, the Athletics’ three starting pitchers everyone expected to get shopped combined to be a much better trio than the one in Cincinnati or the duo in Milwaukee. Chris Bassitt, Sean Manaea, and Frankie Montas are all coming off of successful seasons to varying degrees. We can debate forever who would have fit the Mets the best. You can probably win an argument ranking them in any combination, too. There won’t be much of an argument, though. Bassitt is our guy.
I’m curious to see how teams treat the Mets when they know they have the power to do a lot of damage in free agency. Owners of the Reds and Brewers have already made anti-Cohen decisions. Unless they feel like they’re winning a trade, it might be a while before we see certain organizations deal with the Mets.
At least we have the A's to lend a little help.