Mets should revisit notorious Cubs trade for a way to capitalize at the trade deadline

The Mets can help themselves by being on the other side of this kind of trade.
Feb 19, 2024; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; Detail photo of Mets helmet during workouts at spring training. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 19, 2024; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; Detail photo of Mets helmet during workouts at spring training. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports / Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

Pete Crow-Armstrong hasn’t taken the MLB world by storm. If you haven’t been paying attention, he’s back in the minor leagues putting up so-so numbers with power being one of his better traits. The New York Mets couldn’t have imagined when they traded him in the summer of 2022 that he’d be a sample of what they should do a few years later when they were on the other side of the trade deadline.

One-for-two swaps at the trade deadline will typically entail a veteran getting dealt somewhere for a pair of prospects. Not in this case. The Mets gave up one of their better prospects for a star infielder on an expiring contract and a veteran pitcher with minor league options. Javier Baez and Trevor Williams were the two useful pieces the Mets added to their club temporarily. Each contributed in their own way. Remembering them can be a way for the Mets to capitalize at this year’s trade deadline.

The Mets should aim to package two players together in at least one trade deadline deal

If you haven’t quit on the 2024 Mets quite yet, avert your eyes! The team feels destined to give away spare parts from those with expiring contracts to anyone else not nailed down.

When comparing any future trades they could have in store to the big one from 2021, we can look at Pete Alonso and David Peterson as two in a very similar position as Baez and Williams were at the time. Alonso is a pending free agent. Peterson has control but is out of minor league options next season.

Baez wasn’t having an excellent year for the Chicago Cubs, but a strong resume appealed to the Mets. He’d have an exceptionally strong finish in New York. Williams, meanwhile, became starting pitching depth they were able to immediately put in Triple-A until they needed him. The next year, he became the long man out of the bullpen and spot starter.

Alonso, unfortunately, isn’t having an All-Star caliber season. In an expected trade market that’ll also feature some big-time first basemen changing uniforms, the Mets will have to do their part in upping what they can get back for Alonso. Peterson might not be the greatest player to pair him with. So, even if you want to make it Luis Severino or Sean Manaea, you’re welcome to it.

First base isn’t a great position of need for many of MLB’s contenders. Fortunately, the DH spot offers them some extra space to want Alonso. A team like the Seattle Mariners could hold onto Ty France and hope he gets better while also adding Alonso to the lineup regularly as a DH.

Conveniently enough, the Cubs could have the same desire to pull off a trade like this. First baseman Michael Busch has been good but nowhere near as powerful as Alonso. They aren’t super needy in the starting pitching department so some added depth like Peterson could make sense.

Crow-Armstrong for Alonso and Peterson? It’s an unlikely ghost for the Mets to revisit. But something similar with the Cubs or another team is probably the best way to improve the return. Lower level prospects like Jeremy Rodriguez and Marco Vargas are fun to add. In this example, the Mets should aim for a single high-level prospect. Quality takes precedence over quantity.