With Brodie Van Wagenen, you never rule out an active trade deadline. This is a GM who came within an inch of sending Zack Wheeler to the Yankees last July, and who also nearly moved Wheeler and Noah Syndergaard to Houston – before he ended up a deadline buyer, acquiring Marcus Stroman.
In other words, we’d be foolish to say with absolute certainly that he’ll sit this year out, even after he publicly downplayed the possibility of trades.
But with less than a week to go before Monday’s deadline, a survey of sources both inside and outside the Mets organization reveals little activity so far beyond the typical due diligence calls.
Because the team saved unexpected money when Yoenis Cespedes and Stroman opted out of the season, Van Wagenen does have more payroll to play with than it seemed he would. But money is not the only factor at play.
Consider these reasons why the team has been quiet so far:
– Trading long-term assets for rental players is often a questionable strategy, but especially this year. There will be less than one month remaining in the regular season following this trade deadline, half as much as in a typical year.
– The playoffs that follow – if MLB gets there – will be less predictable even than the typical October crapshoot. We already know there will be an extra round, and there might end up being a bubble at a neutral site.
– No one in the industry wants to say this aloud, or at least publicly, but what happens if you trade for a player to help for month and the team experiences an outbreak during that time?
– Van Wagenen might want to show that he not only possesses the ability to act aggressively, but with restraint when the situation calls for it. Like everyone else in the organization, he knows he will soon be answering to a new owner who might or might not invite him to stay.
There is also the matter of the Mets’ quality of play. The team is talented, and hardly out of the race. But do we really feel like we’re looking at a team that’s a piece away from making a deep October run?
With Stroman and Syndergaard out and Steven Matz ineffective, the rotation might not be ready for prime time. With Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil and Amed Rosario struggling, the offense isn’t igniting as expected either.
With five days to go, these are the reasons why it has been mostly quiet in Queens.