Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Deadlines Everywhere

Would you let either of these
men near your ballclub?
Ken Rosenthal had a piece at The Athletic today that cited an unnamed rival executive predicting the Mets would be a "surprising player" at the August 31 trade deadline this year. The reasons cited were the money saved when Yoenis Céspedes and Marcus Stroman opted out, plus Brodie Van Wagenen's supposed desperation to save his job. While I suppose anything can happen, I don't put much stock in the predictions of anonymous sources. I don't think the Mets will be all that aggressive at this deadline for several reasons:

  • I don't think the team has money to burn because two fairly well-paid players opted out. The Wilpons were struggling even before the pandemic closed off some revenue streams.

  • I don't think Van Wagenen is as desperate as sometimes depicted. He's a Stamford graduate who was a very successful sports agent. If the Mets fire him, he goes back to being a rich, successful agent. Where does the desperation supposedly come from?

  • Putting aside the Cano deal for now, the Stroman deal looks bad because the Mets gave up two good pitching prospects to get a few starts out of Stroman. Does BVW give up valuable prospects now for a run at the playoffs that might not even happen if COVID shuts the game down?

  • If Van Wagenen really does want to keep his job, looking like he's making moves to keep his job would probably only work against him. If I was the rich guy purchasing the club, I wouldn't look favorably on that.
Even Van Wagenen seemed to indicate that big deals were unlikely, being quoted from a zoom call with reporters earlier in the day:
"I think the aggressive approach we've taken in the past is not something we will eliminate from a possibility, but we recognize we've got a 30-game season effectively — less than that — once the trade deadline comes and goes and so we have to be responsible for the future of the organization and still be opportunistic in ways to improve the club."
 Now I'm not sure what he means by being "opportunistic", but that shouldn't involve trading important prospects. Some people were worried that putting some of the young top prospects onto the 60-man roster tipped that Van Wagenen was looking to trade them, but he could have traded any of them anyway without putting them on the roster by using the "player to be named later" designation in a deal. So putting them on the 60-man was just assuring that they would get some supervised development this season.

Honestly, I can't see a move or two that would decisively push this club over the top. As I write this, I'm watching Rick Porcello get torched yet again. Right now the Mets have no one dependable behind deGrom. Hopefully things work out with Lugo, but by the time he gets stretched out there will only be 3 weeks left in the season. Fixing this club would be better left to the offseason, once the new owner is in place and the club has some direction for the future.

Interestingly enough, as Rosenthal points out, the trade deadline is also the day that final bids are due in on the sale of the club. How that turns out is likely to be much more important for the future of this club than any potential deal.

Well, it was a long day, and I'm going to give my full attention to the game once this rain delay ends. I have a bit of remaining optimism that I want to allow Rick Porcello and the Mets to beat out of me. I should have a bit of a less stressful day tomorrow with a little more time for writing. In the meantime, please stay safe, be well and take care. May all your deadline deals be good ones.

 Follow me on Twitter @MikeSteffanos

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