On Saturday, the Mets traded their closer Jeurys Familia to the Oakland A’s for two prospects and $1 million in international bonus pool money.
Wahl is having a strong year pitching in the Pacific Coast League, and Toffey was drafted in the fourth round of last year’s draft, but the return was vastly underwhelming.
Why did the Mets trade their closer and perhaps best trade chip 10 days in advance of the deadline, with several other teams tied to Familia, just for a package that the rival execs deemed downright awful?
Well, what I failed to mention was that the Mets saved $3 million in the deal.
For a New York team, that should be chump change, but we have seen time and time again that ownership likes to pinch pennies whenever necessary.
Sure, co-general manager John Ricco said this wouldn’t be the case for New York this year, who would be willing to eat salary in order to get a better return.
We sure didn’t see that with Familia.
co-general manager J.P. Ricciardi was the one who pulled the trigger on this deal, and it reeked of nothing more than salary relief.
To say that this was the best return they were going to get as their reasoning behind the trade a week and a half before the deadline is garbage.
Now you might say, “The headline is about Jacob deGrom, why is Rob talking about Jeurys Familia?”
It’s because deGrom, 30, is the best player on the Mets and arguably the best pitcher in the MLB. If you’re reading this, chances are you’re a Mets fan and you already know this.
DeGrom’s name has been thrown around in many trade rumors this season, and while New York says they have no intentions of trading him right now, they’re in a tough spot, and so are the fans.
I’d like to break this down into two parts: The idea of trading deGrom, versus keeping him. Let’s start with the former.
Trading Jacob deGrom
If the Familia trade was any inkling of the Mets thought process and attack strategy for making trades, we are in big trouble.
This should have been apparent last year when then-general manager Sandy Alderson traded off all of his trade assets for minor league relievers.
I had hoped that with a triumvirate of general managers, perhaps that would be different this deadline, but it has so far proven not to be.
At the end of the day, it goes back to ownership, and their inability to be a fluid machine and make mature trades that will help this team in the long term.
That segues into my next point. Can we really trust this team to make a responsible deal for deGrom?
Sure, they’ve said that they are asking for the world in a trade for the right-hander right now, but what happens next year if they are right back where they are this season?
The pressure will be on to deal their best trade asset for a package of prospects for the future. However, with the Mets’ recent trade track record, that’s a scary thought.
No one in the front office, or anyone handling trades, has any grasp on what the market is like and are constantly getting fleeced.
I’ll go back to Familia again, and this time I’m going to compare him to Kelvin Herrera, another back end reliever on an expiring contract.
Herrera was traded even earlier this year from the Kansas City Royals to the Washington Nationals, and they got a better deal!
Familia and Herrera are both having solid years, and their bWAR is only 0.1 apart. Herrera got Kansas City two top-30 prospects plus a promising 17-year old pitcher.
It keeps me up at night thinking about the Mets getting fleeced for deGrom and then having him go on to a team and lead them to the World Series.
Now let’s talk about keeping him.
Keeping Jacob deGrom
Me, like most of you, want New York to keep their ace.
The idea of trading him is reminiscent of the Midnight Massacre where Tom Seaver was sent off to Cincinnati for practically nothing. That trade still haunts Mets fans to this day.
However, just like trading him, can we really rely on the Mets front office to do the responsible thing and do everything in their power to build a team around deGrom in order to compete?
The short answer is likely no.
This offseason, the Mets did spend $88 million in free agency, but they largely did it irresponsibly, and it’s backfired. Not a single player they signed has made any impact.
In fact, the best signing they’ve made was Jose Bautista, who has miraculously performed after signing midseason.
You would think that an organization who wants to hold on to their prized pitcher would then follow up and make smart moves in order to give him the best team to play with.
I just don’t see that being the case this winter.
Co-general manager John Ricco has said that he wants the Mets to have a short rebuild and get back into contention next year, and with as potent of a free agent class as we have ever seen, this should be no problem.
But we’ve seen this happen before, most recently as this past winter. The Mets balked at signing ace Jake Arrieta, All-Star outfielder J.D. Martinez or any top tier relievers in a market where there was tremendous inactivity.
Imagine this winter where front offices around the league are actually going to be spending and trying to get their teams the best players available?
With all this being said, we are in a tough spot.
If we trade Jacob deGrom, is the package even going to suffice? And if we don’t, can we really trust competence in building a winning team?
They are stuck, and the best pitcher the Mets have had in decades is rotting away.