The trade deadline is two days away, and New York Mets manager Terry Collins says he does not expect his team to make any moves.
GM Sandy Alderson’s plan was fairly clear. He wouldn’t make any deals for the sake of making noise. He was looking for a power bat, preferably in the outfield, under control for several years. That market never developed as he hoped, and now the Mets will likely stand pat and try again in the winter.
In June, trade chatter suggested the Mets were in contact with multiple teams, but those talks have quieted down through July. Marlon Byrd and closer Bobby Parnell are the only players on the 25-man roster gaining real interest from other teams.
Multiple sources still report that the Texas Rangers are keeping an eye on Byrd, but only consider him a back-up option if they can’t acquire Alex Rios from the White Sox. Meanwhile, the Tigers and Red Sox reportedly showed interest in Parnell, but Detroit is finalizing a trade with Houston for closer Jose Veras, ostensibly solving their bullpen problem. Boston is focusing their energy on landing Jake Peavy from the White Sox.
It’s funny how baseball keeps changing. The weeks leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline used to be frenzied and must-watch. Now, thanks to advanced analytics, long-term extensions and the second Wild Card, the balance of power seems askew. Everyone thinks they have a chance.
According to ESPN, only ten teams have at least a 40% chance to make the playoffs, compared to 16 teams with less than a 10% chance (Mets rank 12th in the NL at 1.7%). That sounds like a buyer’s market, but instead MLB is facing a dearth of impact talent on the trade block. The new Collective Bargaining Agreement no longer awards draft pick compensation for trading away top players, and teams are just more reluctant to deal away their Major League talent.
ESPN Insider Mike Petriello argues that teams are also more reluctant to be deadline buyers than in the past. He writes, “By definition, deadline moves are somewhat limited in the value they can offer a team simply because the players have spent most of the season playing elsewhere.”
Last year, the Angles gave up shortstop Jean Segura at the deadline for Zack Greinke who pitched to 1.4 bWAR (baseball-reference’s Wins Above Replacement) after the trade. Greinke bolted in the offseason, and Segura is an All-Star under team control for another five years. Ouch.
But don’t cry for Los Angeles. San Francisco coughed up phenom Zack Wheeler for 44 games and one Win Above Replacement from Carlos Beltran. Double ouch.
There is a growing sentiment in baseball that the deadline should be moved back a few weeks into August. the added games would give teams a more accurate idea of their futures, presumably leading to more sellers and heightened drama. Maybe MLB should consider it.