The MLB lockout is going to affect far more than how much players get paid. There’s a bigger issue behind the labor talks. It’s personal. There’s animosity going back years. March was supposed to be the time when we watch the New York Mets put some finishing touches to their roster. Maybe they make a low-key minor league signing or an unexpected name shines in St. Lucie and becomes an Opening Day candidate.
March will be different this year. The beginning of the MLB season has been delayed for at least a week. For the Mets and their quest to win a championship, it makes the task of getting better through trades a little more difficult.
There will be time between the end of the lockout and the start of the season to execute these moves. However, with some teams inevitably missing on free agent targets, they’re going to have to search for alternative routes to build their clubs. So even if the Mets do have a few potential trades lined up, plans could change quickly and without enough time to get it done before the season begins.
Just because the top Mets trade candidates make it to Opening Day doesn’t mean they won’t be moved soon after
You know them, you loved them, and you’ve been wondering all winter why their jerseys are on discount. J.D. Davis, Jeff McNeil, and Dominic Smith are the three guys discussed most as possible Mets trade candidates. Each was displaced from their original position at the end of last season. McNeil moved to left field in place of Javier Baez while displacing Smith. Davis had trouble seeing any action at third base while Jonathan Villar took over.
All signs were pointing toward a change. And if you thought McNeil could become the club’s starting left fielder, they added Mark Canha and Starling Marte this offseason to fill in the gap.
Someone is getting dealt. It’s implausible. It’s impractical. After all of the trade rumors and speculation, they can’t all possibly make it onto the Opening Day roster, can they?
Steve Cohen may have unlimited money. What he can’t buy is time. The Mets may find themselves unable to make the right deal in the weeks leading up to the opening of the 2022 season. Because there is no actual pressure to move any of those three trade candidates, all three could remain with the club into game number one.
Unlike so many other early season trades, it may not take an injury for someone to step up and make the phone call. Other clubs will be in a bit of a scramble, too. Plus, with so many other owners holding back from spending money, they could view the Mets trio of trade pieces more favorably than an actual free agent signing.
It’s not the worst thing in the world to begin the 2022 season with Davis, McNeil, and Smith on the Mets roster. Even if they all take a seat on the bench, it loads the reserves up pretty well. I do believe the team is hopeful they can move all three of them in time. It’ll probably take another year or two to complete the task. In the meantime, the one(s) who remain could always perform well enough to make the front office reconsider.