Zach Muckenhirn for Trevor Gott and Chris Flexen. It isn’t exactly the biggest trade in Major League Baseball history. It might not even go down as one of the all-time greats the New York Mets have ever executed. On July 3, 2023, the surprisingly effective trade finalized between the Mets and Seattle Mariners showed that Steve Cohen has an advantage over everyone else.
As part of the trade, the Mets will pay $3.9 million of Flexen’s salary. They’ve already DFA’d him so essentially they swapped Muckenhirn, a pitcher they had already DFA’d as well, for Gott at a higher price.
It’s not quite salary cap manipulation like we’d see in the NFL. MLB has no salary cap, only a luxury tax, and it’s one Cohen continues to exceed in order to help improve this ball club.
Why we should love the latest NY Mets trade with the Mariners
Gott comes to the Mets with a 4.03 ERA in 29 innings of work this year. He’s nothing exceptional but with a year and a half of control left, the Mets have accomplished two objectives with the trade. The first is to make themselves better right now. The second is to load up with a reliever for next season.
This trade is getting a head start on next year’s roster. The lack of bullpen weapons on this year’s club has been apparent from almost the start. Gott may not be the most trustworthy of arms. He has been hammered for a few too many hits but good control on the mound and an average of more than a strikeout per inning does show promise. He does, after all, own a 3.02 FIP which suggests he has been a whole run unlucky this season.
It’s actually just in his last three outings where Gott’s season came apart. He had a 1.75 ERA heading into June. It’s in those three June appearances where he surrendered 8 of the 13 earned runs he has given up all year.
By eating a part of Flexen’s salary, the Mets were able to add a reliever they can use now and in the future. The “all it costs is money” mantra is as true as can be with Cohen. This trade won’t make him go broke but it does manage to show two things.
One is he’s willing to spend even more money to improve the club, sometimes in more creative ways. Equally as important, he’s doing other ball clubs some favors. Playing nice has its benefits.