Last night the Mets traded Jay Bruce to the Cleveland Indians for a relief prospect named Ryder Ryan. Ryan is a converted infielder and was drafted in the 30th round of the 2016 draft. He’s currently getting lit up in Single-A. The guy isn’t even a top 30 rated prospect in Cleveland’s system. It was reported after the deal was announced that the Mets may have passed on receiving two better prospects from the Yankees for Bruce solely because they refused to eat some of Bruce’s salary in a potential deal.
This trade has hammered home the reality that the Mets continue to deceive all the fans. The front office can’t even be trusted to complete a trade deadline sell-off that is in the best interests of the franchise. It’s pretty clear that the primary motivation for the Bruce/Duda/Reed deals wasn’t to acquire the best quality prospects in return. The primary goal was to maximize salary relief and take whichever young players we could get in the process.
The Mets media can try to spin this trade deadline with all the positive headlines in the world:
These headlines won’t hide the reality that the Mets front office can’t be trusted as long as they continue to be handcuffed by the Wilpons.
When Brian Cashman acquires a pitcher like Sonny Gray, you know he’s making a decision that he believes to be in the best interests of the franchise. Same thing goes for Theo Epstein. You know when Theo makes a deal he feels it fits into his grand plan.When Sandy makes a decision it is impossible to determine whether he’s making the choice because it’s part of his plan or if he’s compelled to make said choice because of the Wilpon influence.
The recent lies have exacerbated my skepticism of Sandy and the Mets front office. The Mets have lied to us about:
The Trade Deadline In General
The trade deadline came and went and in the end, the Mets failed to execute a successful full sell-off of their impending free agents. Curtis Granderson and Asdrubal Cabrera are still here. Alderson attributed the failure to deal Cabrera/Grandy to the lack of a market for position players. He’s right to say that the market for position players was limited. Teams were clearly focused on acquiring relief and starting pitching.
That being said, are we supposed to believe that the Mets had zero opportunities to trade these guys for anything? The White Sox ended up trading outfielder Melky Cabrera to the Royals for two prospects (one of the prospects was 13th ranked in their system). The White Sox agreed to pay half of Melky’s remaining salary to facilitate their deal with the Royals. In mid-July the Mets leaked that they were willing to eat salary at the deadline to secure better prospects, but then they didn’t absorb one penny when they shipped off Bruce and Duda.
I’d like to believe Sandy when he says that he explored every possible trade scenario, but we all know it’s bullplop. The Mets refused to eat salary and instead watched plenty of comparable position players change uniforms for a superior return (e.g. Howie Kendrick, Eduardo Nunez, Todd Frazier, J.D. Martinez, and Melky Cabrera)
The Returns for Duda and Bruce
The Mets traded Lucas Duda, Addison Reed, and Jay Bruce for five minor league relief prospects and so far Alderson has gave the fans/media the impression that he was very happy with the return. But was it the best possible return?
It was widely reported that the Yankees had interest in Lucas Duda. In mid-July, Sandy Alderson went as far as to say that he would consider a deal with the Yankees. Then the Mets traded Duda to the Rays for a relief prospect (Drew Smith, 30th ranked in their system). Shortly after the Duda deal it was reported that the Mets refused to trade Duda to the Yankees. As I mentioned above, last night after Bruce was traded we heard similar news that the Yankees wanted Bruce and offered a superior deal but the Mets passed. If those reports have even a shred of credibility then how can we possibly believe that Sandy made the trades with the Rays and Indians for the right reasons?
The AJ Ramos and Reed Deals
I had similar concerns with the return in the Reed trade. Addison Reed was one of the top commodities available at the deadline and the Mets traded him to the Red Sox for relief prospects Jamie Callahan (23rd ranked), Gerson Bautista (28th ranked), and Stephen Nogosek (18th ranked). On the surface the deal makes sense. The Mets lack high upside relief arms in their system and their 2017 bullpen has been bad. But it was also reported that the Mets may have passed on acquiring a better quality prospect from the Red Sox in favor of quantity. Why? Did the Mets target relief prospects for the right reasons? I don’t think so.
I think the Mets acquired AJ Ramos to create the narrative that they’re improving the bullpen for 2018 when in reality Ramos is just a replacement for Addison Reed. The Mets have no intention of making a contract offer to Reed who has been one of the top relievers in baseball over the last two seasons. They’re just going to let Reed walk, and they won’t be signing any viable relievers in free agency because they never do that. The 2018 bullpen will be Familia, Ramos, and a revolving door of relief prospects that we picked up at this year’s trade deadline. Maybe the new young arms will pan out. Maybe they’ll get lit up. But one thing is certain. There’s no way the Mets will invest any money in bullpen improvements this offseason.
Conclusion = No Hope
From David Wright’s health status (he’s not healthy), to the reason for the delay of Amed Rosario’s big league promotion (Super Two cutoff? Refusal to bench highly paid veterans?), to the real motivation for wanting to pick up Asdrubal Cabrera’s contract option (he’ll be cheaper than any other free agents at third base), the list of lies just goes on and on.
Is there any hope? Nope. Not really. Don’t expect the Mets to make the right decisions in the offseason either. Not with the Wilpons running the show. All we can do is enjoy watching the kids play for the rest of 2017 and hope that somehow the young pitchers magically heal and dominate once again in 2018.