The title pretty much speaks for it all. With the Marcus Stroman steal, the Mets were one of the biggest winners of the deadline. Combine this with the team winning seven games in a row and eight of nine coming into Friday night. With this in mind, is it possible that the Mets are becoming a competently run organization again?
The team has been a disaster over the past multiple handfuls of years, but it appears that they may be getting their act together with a new, yet inexperienced regime, though it has still been a roller coaster. In looking at the deals made since they have hired Brodie Van Wagenen appear to be trending in building the big league club into a contender.
The long-term deal that will show Van Wagenen’s report card so far is the Mariners deal. The Mets took on Robinson Cano’s contract and received Edwin Diaz, which looked strong last season. Diaz has come back down to Earth in 2019. What ultimately will make the difference is how top prospects Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn pan out. What is missed in this deal is that the Mets gave up what is the asking price now for a high leverage reliever with as much team control as Diaz had, with two top 100 prospects. While Cano is likely to continue to regress at his elevated age, he has seen some resurrection of power during the recent run, with five homers in July.
The main issue is the free agents that Van Wagenen pursued during the offseason. The Jeurys Familia signing appears to be a mistake, as he will still have two years and $23.3 million after this disaster 2019. Wilson Ramos has regressed also, but only has one year guaranteed left on his deal. Letting go of Travis D’Arnaud leaves a bad taste as well, but he has leveled off after a torrid start. Walker Lockett has not been good at all and Jed Lowrie has yet to even play a game for the Mets yet.
Before the deadline, Van Wagenen’s best deal was the trade for J.D. Davis, who has posted an .841 OPS in 91 games this season. Justin Wilson has been solid in his 22 games, but spent some time out with an injured foot.
But, back to the Stroman deal. In the acquisition, along with the Reds picking up Trevor Bauer, there is added value with the thin starting pitcher market coming this offseason. After Gerrit Cole and Madison Bumgarner, there is a Grand Canyon-sized drop off. Bauer and Stroman have control for next season as well.
While they gave up two of the top pitching prospects in the Stroman deal, they are not likely elite top of the rotation arms. There is a lot of focus on how shallow the Mets farm system is even before this trade, and rightfully so. However, the argument that they should trade established Major League players with team control, i.e. Noah Syndergaard, just to replenish that system is insane. If you have players to help you win for a couple of years, you take advantage of that and hope that the new regime’s drafting pays off down the road to restock the organization. Additionally, the cupboard was left pretty bare in the system when Van Wagenen took over, so it’s not like he has completely wrecked what was there prior.
The ultimate issue is that the Mets are a big market team that has ownership that is too cash strapped to play like a big market team. However, with the pitching and young talent that they have in house, the Mets have an opportunity to keep them. If they can do that, a rotation of Jacob deGrom, Syndergaard, and Stroman has an opportunity to lead the organization back to where it should be. If not, it will be back to the same old Mets. Regardless, this deal was smart and a sign of life to trend in the right direction.