Now that we’ve taken a day to exhale, let’s digest the Mets actions at Monday’s trade deadline.
First of all, kudos to Sandy Alderson for making another bold move. You might have mixed feelings about Jay Bruce, but the Mets offense needed help, and Alderson went out and got one of the best sluggers available.
But was the price too steep? Most scouts agree that Dilson Herrera will be a solid major leaguer, if not an All-Star (I am in the latter camp). It was apparently the reason the Mets let Daniel Murphy walk. Now that plan is scuttled. The Mets do have other second base options if they decide not to re-sign Neil Walker — Wilmer Flores, Gavin Cecchini, possibly even Jose Reyes — so perhaps losing Herrera will not sting as much.
The trade was reportedly supposed to be centered around Brandon Nimmo, but one of the prospects in the deal reportedly had a medical issue (the Cincinnati Enquirer reports “multiple players who would have come over in return didn’t pass the Reds’ medical scrutiny”). No one is saying who the player or players were, but they must have been reasonably substantial pieces in order to have to part with Herrera instead in Nimmo, a left-handed corner outfielder, a variety of which the Mets now have in abundance.
Aside from the fact that the Mets lean heavily left and still have no real center fielder, if Bruce can do what Cespedes did last season, it will not matter what Herrera does in the future. Is anyone kicking themselves over Michael Fulmer’s sudden ascendance in Detroit?
The other trade deadline deal the Mets made was one that left fans shaking their heads, if not outright laughing — Antonio Bastardo for Jonathon Niese, the one-time Mets starter who badmouthed the team on his way out. I am actually fine with this trade. Bastardo was not pitching well and was signed for another year. Now the Mets are free from that commitment. Niese showed he can pitch out of the bullpen last off-season, so he can either assume that role or take Logan Verrett’s place in the rotation until Zack Wheeler hopefully returns.
What about the trades the Mets did not make? They could not swing a deal for Jonathan Lucroy. The Brewers reportedly demanded Travis d’Arnaud and Herrera. Maybe Alderson was holding onto Herrera, knowing he might possibly be part of the Bruce trade, and he preferred Bruce over Lucroy. Alderson will probably never say, but consider for a moment a lineup with both of those hitters.
And what about Yasiel Puig? Alderson said earlier in the week that Puig was not an option. Speaking of options, Puig is expected to receive one to the minors on Tuesday. So it appears it would not have taken much to get Puig; less than Herrera, for sure. Puig has struggled since he burst onto the scene in 2013, but he is only 25 years old and has tremendous upside. It would have been a gamble, perhaps a smart one not to take when you are trying to win a championship. Still, Puig playing in New York would be something to see.
In any case, the Mets are a stronger team today than they were before the trade deadline. And that’s what it’s all about. For today, anyway.