The New York Mets finally got their man, inking David Stearns on a lucrative five-year contract to be the franchise's first President of Baseball Operations. With Stearns in place, the Mets will now head into a crucial offseason as they try and help fans forget what has been an abysmal 2023 season.
The Mets came into this season with hopes of being World Series contenders, but by late June the Mets were virtually out of it. They've had some good times, but this season has been more frustrating than fun.
Stearns should have two goals for this offseason. One, improve the team. That goes without saying. Make this team one that will at the very least compete for a playoff spot. The second goal should be to get younger. No more Scherzer's and Verlander's at the end of their careers. Get players in their prime.
Acquiring players who are still on the right side of 30 is tough to do in free agency. Sure, there's Yoshinobu Yamamoto, but outside of him, who can you really get? Shohei Ohtani might be 29 now, but he'll be 30 before you know it. The easiest way to accomplish this is via trade, and thanks to the deals the Mets made at the deadline, they now have prospects they can flip in exchange for these younger players.
1) NY Mets trade target under 30 to pursue this offseason: Corbin Burnes
It's almost too perfect, right? The Mets need an ace to pair with Kodai Senga. David Stearns, the man who drafted Corbin Burnes, is now with the Mets. Burnes has been upset about the arbitration process he's had to go through with Milwaukee, so Steve Cohen, the richest owner in baseball, can make him happy financially. What am I missing here?
Burnes is one of the best pitchers in baseball. He won the Cy Young Award in 2021, finished seventh last season, and will certainly get some consideration within the top ten this season. It's been a bit of a down year for Burnes, but he still has a 3.47 ERA in 29 starts and 179 innings of work. He's eighth in the NL in ERA, fifth in innings pitched, and tenth in strikeouts. He's done this while leading the league in WHIP. He's had a strong year.
Burnes is 28 years old and is set to enter his final year of arbitration. Considering how things have gone throughout the arbitration process between Burnes and the Brewers, and the fact that Milwaukee has never really spent much, the chances Burnes leaves the team after the 2024 season feel very strong.
Instead of risking losing Burnes for nothing more than a compensatory pick, Milwaukee can do what they did with Josh Hader and trade him away. I'm not sure if they'd love trading him to Stearns, but the Mets do have the prospect capital to make a deal like this work. If so, they'd have their one-two punch at the front of their rotation for at least four seasons assuming they can work out an extension with Burnes.