If you see a New York Mets fan on the street, give him a hug. He’s had a tough week.
Less than 24-hours after his presser in which he announced that Matt Harvey suffered a torn Ulnar Collateral Ligament in his pitching elbow, Sandy Alderson agreed to a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates. The move will send veterans Marlon Byrd and John Buck, along with cash considerations to the ‘Bucs for IF prospect Dilson Herrera and one Player To Be Named Later.
Alderson shot down any notion that the trade was an overreaction to Harvey’s injury, telling reporters today that both players were claimed off waivers by the Pirates on Sunday, and the trade was in motion long before the Harvey news.
Herrera brings an intriguing power/speed combo to the Mets. The 19-year-old kid from Colombia has drawn favorable reviews from scouting guys around the league. Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com ranked Herrera the 11th best prospect in the Pirates system and the ninth best 2B prospect in the minors. He also recently claimed that Herrera could be in the majors by 2016.
Herrera will switch teams, but remain in the South Atlantic League. The Mets announced he will join Brandon Nimmo and the Savannah Sand Gnats for the remainder of the season. He’s hitting .265/.330/.421 with 11 homers and 11 stolen bases in his first taste of full-season ball. He, like Nimmo, is among the youngest players in the SAL.
Most scouting reports agree that Herrera has a chance to be an above-average hitter, with speed in the field and around the bases. He also has surprising pop for a guy his size – he’s listed at 5 feet 10 inches, 150 pounds.
The PTBNL may not be resolved until the offseason, but Pirates GM Neal Huntington reportedly stated in his presser today, “New York is going to get a pretty good second piece.”
Byrd was having a terrific year for the Mets, and hit his career-high 21st homer last week. His resurgence came after years of declining numbers and a 50-game suspension for a PED violation. Alderson signed Byrd early in Spring Training to a minor league deal.
Buck was essentially a throw-in piece in the R.A. Dickey deal, but endeared himself to Mets fans and pitchers. After a scorching start to the season in which Buck hit .263/.294/.611 with 10 home runs, Buck struggled badly the rest of the season, and eventually ceded his starting job to top prospect Travis d’Arnaud.
Fan reaction was divided on Twitter, including a lot of disappointment and anger, but this trade should go down as another positive move for the Mets’ GM. There’s nothing harder than admitting defeat, but this Mets team is going nowhere in 2013. Both the manager and GM argued that winning games this year was a deterrent to trading away veterans at the deadline. It’s good they’ve reconsidered.
What’s the difference between a 78- and a 72-win season? Nothing. If the playoffs won’t happen this year, it is more prudent to get the young guys up and find out who’s ready to help in 2014. Any extra, young talent you can add to the system is a trade you have to make.
Byrd and Buck were great Mets during their abbreviated time in Flushing, but ultimately, just like Carlos Beltran and Dickey, their greatest contributions to this team may be when they landed the team a key piece to their next playoff team.