The MLB trade deadline is a time for contenders to buy and the not-so-good teams to sell, look ahead toward the future, and maybe save a couple of bucks. The New York Mets have had both buying and selling trade deadlines in the recent past. Three of those times, a great need of theirs was power.
The biggest buying seasons for this organization over the last decade-plus came in 2015, 2016, and 2021. The Mets were fringe buyers in 2019, selling away lesser guys like Jason Vargas and buying into a few years of Marcus Stroman. That summer doesn’t really factor into what we’ll discuss today because it wasn’t a deadline of adding power to the lineup.
The Mets and home run hitters at the trade deadline
In 2015, the club pulled off the blockbuster deal for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. One of the most important trades the franchise ever made, it helped revitalize the organization and pull them into a chase for the championship.
Cespedes was beastly for the Mets down the stretch, hitting .287/.337/.604 with 17 home runs in only 249 trips to the plate. Re-signed after the year was through, he would remain an important force in their lineup the next season before things started to get goofy.
Despite having Cespedes for most of the 2016 campaign, the Mets were still interested in adding some pop at the deadline. Michael Conforto’s struggles at the plate helped lead them to acquiring Jay Bruce in a deal with the Cincinnati Reds. Unlike Cespedes, the Bruce era began poorly.
Those first 50 games for Bruce in 2016 were brutal. He slashed .219/.294/.391 with 8 home runs in 187 plate appearances. August was especially bad for the left-handed slugger. In those first 103 trips to the plate representing the Mets, Bruce was a .183 hitter. He did manage to turn things around in the final month of the season, wrapping up his last 84 plate appearances hitting .263/.333/.513 with 6 home runs.
Bruce would have an on-again, off-again relationship with the Mets. Traded in mid-2017, he returned in 2018 with some poor results. Then traded again by the Mets, we haven’t seen him in orange and blue since.
Finally, there’s the most recent power bat the Mets bought midseason. Javier Baez was brought in to give the offense a boost in 2021. A slow start, some injuries, and a thumb almost made this a disastrous move.
However, Baez would heat up. Following his .213/.262/.410 performance in August, the power-hitting infielder batted .347/.426/.555 in the final month of the season. His overall Mets totals would give him a .299/.371/.515 slash line and 9 home runs in 186 opportunities.
He didn’t come back to the Mets. It was the shortest tenure of any of the recent trade deadline sluggers the club has added.
Will the Mets be seeking more power at this year’s trade deadline?
I bring this up because it’s not implausible for the Mets to seek out power yet again this summer. Outside of Pete Alonso, nobody on this roster seems guaranteed to hit 20 home runs. Eduardo Escobar, coming off of a 28 home run campaign, might quietly be their second-best home run hitter.
That’s not to say the Mets are void of the four-base hit. Francisco Lindor has had powerful seasons in the past. Mark Canha isn’t a light-hitter either.
There always seems to be at least one guy who has an unexpectedly home run happy year. Even if we can pencil in one other guy to go off and swat 25 dingers, this is a Mets club that could have their eye on some power in the future.