Why the Mets and Reds taking risks at the trade deadline is a good thing

The MLB trade deadline is typically the moment teams decide which direction their season is going — buyers or sellers, adding or moving prospects for MLB-ready talent. However, teams like the New York Mets and Cincinnati Reds did the exact opposite, each adding two of the best starters on the trade market in Marcus Stroman and Trevor Bauer.

According to Fangraphs, the Mets have a 22 percent chance of making the playoffs while the Reds have just a 5.1 percent chance of making the playoffs. Both moves these teams made at the trade deadline were made while looking towards the future and less about competing right now.

That makes sense when considering the lack of free agent pitchers set to hit the market after this season, when guys like Cole Hamels and Felix Hernandez could be the best names available. While both Marcus Stroman and Trevor Bauer are set to be free agents after the 2020 season, trading for them now allows the Mets and Reds to essentially test-drive an All-Star caliber pitcher for a season with a chance to turn them into assets at next year’s trade deadline.

Now, the Mets do feel they have a chance to make a serious run at a postseason spot, and having won nine of their last 11 games, they sit just 4.0 games out of the final NL wild card spot. Their offense has been much better during this hot stretch of games, outscoring opponents 54-28 over their last 11 games. But their rotation of Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman and Zack Wheeler puts them right with the best starting groups in the league.

Of course, the cost to acquire Stroman wasn’t cheap. The Mets had to send their top pitching prospect in Anthony Kay and their No. 6 prospect RHP Simeon Woods Richardson to land Toronto’s ace. It’s a massive risk the Mets took to make this deal, but if they do find themselves in the playoffs, Kay and Woods Richardson wouldn’t be needed because the rotation is already in place. However, that also assumes the Mets can keep their current stable of arms together long-term, which is another potential problem with deals like this. But with Stroman’s New York roots, it’s not hard to envision the righty enjoying his time in Queens and wanting to stick around past the 2020 season.

The Reds had to part with their top prospect OF Taylor Trammell, pitching prospect Scott Moss and OF Yasiel Puig to trade for Trevor Bauer, but they have reportedly been interested in Bauer for some time. This is probably the only way they’d ever be able to get a player like Bauer on their roster. Assessing the current NL Central standings, the division could be very winnable in 2020 for a Cincinnati team that already had the best rotation in the NL Central before adding Bauer.

Ultimately, it’s great to see a team just going for it — to pick a direction and commit to a plan, even if that plan does have the potential to go sideways. At least teams are trying to win and not just fielding subpar teams in hopes of maybe finding the next franchise player.

Next: Every MLB team’s Mount Rushmore

If it doesn’t work out for either team, they can still just sell off assets at next year’s deadline. It may be hard to totally recoup the value they lost to acquire these pitchers, but trading Marcus Stroman or Trevor Bauer as rentals a year from now should still get them something of value. It’s not the most conventional way to build a roster, but for teams who haven’t won a title in over 30 years like the Reds and the Mets, it could be their best option at finally winning.

It’s a bold strategy, Cotton. Let’s see if it pays off.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *