Well, what a strange place we find ourselves as the trading deadline fast approaches on Friday. By then we will know whether or not Sandy Alderson was able to pull a rabbit (or shortstop or outfielder) out of his hat, but his bag of tricks did contain some surprises.
First of all, kudos for the bench acquisitions. Both Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson are ideally in the mold of Bench Construction 101 – veteran players who take quality at-bats and know how to play the game. As predicted on Saturday, I said he would obtain a few improvements and cut ties with what wasn't working, specifically John Mayberry, though I'm a little more charitable to Danny Muno (and his biggest fan, Tom Brennan) since he never got to play.
The Tyler Clippard trade was in the rumor mill with a lot of people speculating how it may be made, but many were scratching their heads in wonder as to why Alderson was focusing on an area of competency for the Mets instead of the anemic offense. Sure, everyone knew Jenrry Mejia was ineligible for the post season, so another arm certainly wouldn't hurt in that regard.
What we didn't know at the time (but Sandy Alderson did per the league office before the trade was consummated) was that Mejia had failed a PED test for a second time. That news certainly hastened the need to close this deal and perhaps resulted in a somewhat better arm in Casey Meisner going to Oakland than perhaps he might have offered had the pressing need not just happened.
The other interesting development also predicted on Saturday was the flurry of press about David Wright all of the sudden doing baseball-related activities and Travis d'Arnaud's imminent return, perhaps as soon as this weekend.
While there's still one very big bullet in the chamber in Zack Wheeler who is apparently in play, I stand by my belief that the offense you see now is what you will get. We will hear about how Wright and d'Arnaud, plus the strengthening of the bench will propel the team into the post-season.
To be fair, the price for Troy Tulowitzki turned out to be a lot higher than what the Mets could have offered. To start with, they had no shortstop equivalent of Jose Reyes' stature since, well, Jose Reyes. The prospects they probably could have matched but they got Reyes plus top prospects and I don't think Sandy could have pulled off that one.
Ben Zobrist went for some high cost as well...a top pitching prospect and a second tier one. I can't see that they would have had interest in Jonathan Papelbon or Johnny Cueto, but it's sure been an active deadline period this year.
Still, wouldn't it be nice to see a headline appear that the Mets rolled the dice and found themselves a Gerardo Parra, Carlos Gomez, Carlos Gonzalez, Justin Upton or Yoenis Cespedes tomorrow morning? Well, just like being a game out of 1st place can make a man dream, so too can we dream of a real offense.
To reference a good line by James Preller, for Sandy Alderson to declare “Mission Accomplished” is a little too George W. Bush in its prematurity.