The Mets acquired Todd Frazier, Robinson Chirinos, and Miguel Castro at the trade deadline to try to make a late-season postseason push.
The Mets reacquired Frazier and added Chirinos from the Texas Rangers in a deal for two players to be named later, while left-handed pitcher Kevin Smith went to Baltimore in exchange for the reliever Castro. A player to be named later or cash will also be sent to the Orioles.
1. Van Wagenen wanted help with the roster now, and feels these additions can propel the Mets to a postseason push in September.
« We made the deals and we wanted to give our team some additional help. We’re not playing great baseball right now, and we need to boost ourselves. So we think these three players can give us that opportunity, » said Van Wagenen. « And particularly with Frazier and Chirinos, we’re bringing in two right-handed bats, guys that have had success with right-handers in the past which I think is something that we wanted to balance our club out with right now. And then with Miguel Castro, he gives us a late-inning relief pitcher that’s young, he’s got controllable years going forward, and so we think he’s a pitcher that can help us not only in 2020 but also as we look towards the roster in 2021.
« What my balance was, I think at this point…we wanted to make sure that we were looking in a way to keep our business model in place, which is contend right now and also not lose sight of what the short term and long term future is for the organization. We weren’t motivated to move from the top of our prospect system, but we also wanted to show this team and show this market that we are far from quitting on this season. This is a year that hasn’t gone as smoothly as we would have liked, and we have a lot of bunching up from teams in the National League, particularly in our division. We gotta play better baseball, but we think these three pieces can help us do that. »
2. The bullpen needed help. While Van Wagenen has not shied away from trading away starting pitchers in the minor leagues, he felt acquiring a controllable big league reliever was necessary.
« We think Castro has a high ceiling and aa young pitcher that came into the big leagues at 22, he’s still only 25, and he’s already pitching in meaningful games, late in games, and has some years of experience under his belt, » said the general manager. « We think Kevin has potential, and I think that whenever you have a guy that has potential to be a fifth starter, those guys are valuable, but at the end of the day, we felt like getting the upside for here, now, a bullpen arm that can help us not only now but also going forward was something that we needed to do.
« We thought [Smith] was a good talent. Whenever you bring somebody in and develop him, and I think what Jared Banner and his team did over the course of the last year really showed a lot of progress in elevating Kevin Smith to the prospect status that he became, but he’s a good pitcher. I think he’ll have success, and hopefully he’ll have near-term opportunity in Baltimore. But for us, we valued to here-now late-inning reliever as being something we were willing to sacrifice. »
« Small sample size, his batting average on balls in play was very low this year, and so I think there’s some correction that can happen, and he’s had a history of it. When you look at the 2020 season, there are so many variables that factor into what we’re seeing, and our hope is that in a new environment and with this team, he can find some of the old offensive power and offensive strength that he’s shown previously in his career, » Van Wagenen said.
« Ultimately Luis will have the decision in terms of how he wants to deploy anybody on the roster, » said Van Wagenen. « With Todd, he can come in, he can get a big hit, he can face a tough left-handed pitcher, he can hit a home run, he can start a game at third base, he can start a game at first base, and he can DH, as we have different options…You look at the lineup today, when J.D. was not able to play, having Todd be able to step in would have been a nice thing for Luis to have. If J.D. were in the lineup, then that’s another right-handed bat that Luis could have found a spot for. »
5. These are not just 2020 moves. Castro is under control through 2022, while both Frazier and Chirinos have options for next season.
« Any time you have additional control…additional options in flexibility for next year, it gives us more windows of time to be able to assess what our roster looks like next year, » said Van Wagenen. « Obviously we’re gonna get the chance to see these guys back and see what kind of run they can go on over the next 30 days, and be able to assess how they fit in to what our offseason roster construction is. But for Miguel, for Todd, and for Robbie, all three guys have options and/or opportunities for us to come back next year. That’s something that is not insignificant as we look at what the potential is, depending on how it goes. »
6. This was a difficult deadline to judge and maneuver. 2020 is already odd enough, so of course, there were plenty of risks at this year’s deadline.
« It’s an assessment of risk and assessment of trying to look at what 2020 is gonna be over the course of the next four weeks, » Van Wagenen said. « We’ve had a lot of changes and a lot of challenges across baseball, and I think we’ve felt that here as well. Whether it’s COVID, or whether it’s injuries, or whether it’s just the uncertain social environment that we find ourselves in, there have been a lot of challenges here. »
« We’ve faced a lot of left-handed pitching lately, and because we have so much length to our lineup on the left side, people can stack lefties against us and be effective with it. The goal here is to give Luis and additional right-handed bat, » said Van Wagenen.
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