The Mets officially waived the white flag on Thursday, as they traded the long-tenured Lucas Duda to the Tampa Bay Rays for right-handed pitching prospect Drew Smith. As the team finds themselves with the fifth worst record in the National League, this was just the first of what is expected to be a bevy of moves by the Mets, who find themselves as sellers for the first time in three seasons.
After moving Duda, the club is still trying to trade veterans Addison Reed, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jay Bruce, Curtis Granderson, and Neil Walker—all of whom can be free agents after this season—by the July 31 trade deadline.
When the Mets announced on Friday night that they had acquired Miami Marlins closer AJ Ramos in exchange for prospects Merandy Gonzalez and Ricardo Cespedes, it came as a surprise; at least, at first.
Why would a team that’s in the middle of selling, make a move to “buy” a closer from another team? Simple: This is a reload, not a rebuild.
Despite their difficult season, the Mets expect to contend in 2018 and Ramos, unlike Reed, is under team control next year. With the acquisitions of Ramos and Smith—who has a 1.60 ERA in the minor leagues—New York is already working on shoring up their bullpen for next year’s expected run.
While Ramos is having a down year by his standards—his 3.63 ERA is his highest in five years—he should still be an excellent addition to this Mets bullpen over the next year and a half. Since his debut in 2012, Ramos has a 2.78 ERA, 92 saves, and is striking out 10.4 batters per 9 innings.
Sandy Alderson has made a lot of moves in his time as Mets general manager, both buying and selling, but this may very well be his savviest transaction yet.
Not only does the acquisition of Ramos help the bullpen over the next year and a half, but this move also means the Mets won’t have to spend big money on a set-up man this offseason and it takes a top bullpen arm off of the trade market, which can only increase Addison Reed’s trade value.
Since being acquired by the Mets in 2015, Reed has been one of the best relievers in all of baseball as the right-hander has a 2.09 ERA, 1.014 WHIP and 21 saves in 145 appearances with the club. He was already expected to warrant a solid return in a trade, and with the Mets removing Ramos as an option for other teams, it’s increasingly possible that they may be able to get an even better return.
While this has been a lost season for this organization, the Mets have already begun their reload for a run in 2018. With the team in sell mode, this was unexpected and a bit out-of-the-box… but that’s what makes it such a smart and creative move by Sandy Alderson. We’ll find out soon enough what else he has up his sleeve.
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