7/6/19

Mike Freire - An Alternative Look At The Stroman Trade

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Good Morning, Mets' fans.

It has been a while since I contributed to this wonderful blog, due to a variety of "life circumstances" to include retiring from my job and relocating to a different part of the country.  Things are still a bit up in the air, but once things settle down, I would like to become a regular contributor once again.

But, enough about my personal life, right?

Like most fans of this team, there are MANY reasons to take a step back and scratch your head.  If it isn't a poor personnel decision (the infamous Robinson Cano trade), it is inexplicable bad luck (David Wright's situation, or Yoenis Cespedes in general) or "out of character" poor performances (most of our new players, to include Edwin Diaz).  It would be easy to get frustrated and simply give up, "because Mets" (I guess that is how the kids theses days make statements, provided I used the term the right way).

Which brings us to the Mets' most recent player acquisition, the "prodigal son" Marcus Stroman.

On first blush, the fans and the local media were stunned that BVW put together the best trade package for one of the best arms available on the trade market.  After all, the team seems to be spinning it's wheels this year and isn't viewed as a realistic playoff contender (despite the muddled state of the NL Wild Card race).  So in "logical" fashion, the fan base and the local media followed up with a barrage a snarky, negative responses that included previous mistakes (Victor Zambrano) from past regimes.

The team was labeled as "clueless" and even the national media (ESPN) jumped in and took a few shots at the team (which appears to be in vogue for that network), despite the fact that the rest of BVW's plan has yet to be revealed.  It shouldn't be a surprise since that is how the general media operates these days, but it is still a bit offensive in my opinion.  After all, not two days later, another team that is viewed as "out of contention" (Cincinnati) made a similar trade (Trevor Bauer) and it has been lauded as "smart" and "forward thinking".  Or, imagine if the Yankees had picked up Stroman instead!  Cashman would have been labeled as a "genius" and it would have been an example of a team that isn't afraid to "go for it", etc.

Despite the deserved criticism for his other moves, I think BVW actually got this one right and he should be complimented on this trade.

As of this morning (07/31), the team has reeled off five wins in a row, which puts them five games back of a Wild Card position, with five teams ahead of them (that's a lot of fives).  They are 51-55 with 56 games left to play this year.  Are they a serious playoff contender?  Probably not, but you can't tell me (ever the optimist) that a continued hot streak wouldn't put them in position to challenge for a playoff spot.  The Nationals, Cubs and Phillies are all clustered at the top of the Wild Card standings and they are on pace to win approximately 86 games.

The Mets would have to go 35-21 down the stretch to give themselves a legitimate chance, which equates to a .625 winning percentage (or in other words, a 100 win pace for a full season).  Not likely, but not out of the question.  Barring any trades later today, they will have a starting rotation of DeGrom, Syndergaard, Stroman, Wheeler and Matz the rest of the way, which is formidable and more then capable of a stretch like that.

Removing my head from the clouds, this trade also makes sense for next year and it is the real reason why BVW should be praised.  Remember, the team will likely lose Wheeler and it already offloaded the "fiery" Vargas.  Again, barring any additional trades, next year's rotation would have been a bit light, so adding a valuable starter like Stroman now addresses that need a few months early and it is cost effective compared to a free agent signing.  Better still, it gives the team a full year to evaluate Stroman before he is due for a new contract, so it is a "try before you buy" scenario.

Look, I am as disgusted as anyone with how BVW's signature move (Cano trade) has panned out so far, but try not to let that alter your judgement on this deal.  It is a savvy, preemptive move that addresses this year AND next year, for the cost of two minor league pitchers who may or may not turn into what Stroman already is.




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