Updated: Aug 7, 2018
Every action creates a chain reaction, where there is a winner there must be a loser. A few teams fell into the winners category this deadline season but the majority find themselves labeled losers. Some teams decided to stand pat and ride the current wave while others flat out missed the mark.
That brings us to the what ifs and those who missed out on blockbuster deals.
The New York Mets:
Enough can't be said about how poorly the New York Mets have been run in recent years. The best young pitching staff in baseball since 2014 and only two playoff appearances to show for it. They reached the World Series in 2015 but a cursed Daniel Murphy had a different agenda rather than winning. A wild card round loss in 2016 to the Giants later and the Mets are once again the laughing stock of New York.
Face it, a retooling is necessary. I will give credit to the Mets for moving Asdrubal Cabrera before the deadline but it still is not enough. Why wasn't Zack Wheeler traded in a market thin on starting pitching? Why weren't veterans Jay Bruce and Jose Bautista flipped for younger raw talent? All valid questions and with an example on the opposite side of the subway, the Mets can turn the ship around quickly.
The Mets need to follow the blueprint of the Yankees. Not a complete rebuild but an overload on young talent rather than signing mid 30's free agents to 30 million dollar deals. It wont be easy but the first move is simple. David Wright must go.
The former all star previously known as "Captain America" has spent more time on the disabled list than Trump under investigation. Wright is owed 20 million dollars this season and another 27 million over the next two. Sounds like a waste of money for a 35 year old infielder that has not played a game since 2016.
The next few moves may hurt Met fans but the only way to retool is to sell superstars. Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard can bring back elite style prospects if on the market. Teams like the Dodgers, Brewers, Yankees, and Pirates were looking for ace type talent to top off their rotations. Only the Pirates were able to land one.
If at least one of the Mets' superstar pitchers were available teams would have overpaid, especially Los Angeles who was two Yu Darvish-less starts away from a World Series victory.
The Mets missed an opportunity to possibly land Walker Buehler or Alex Verdugo, the number one and two prospects in the Dodgers farm system according to MLB.com. Hopefully they don't make the same mistake this offseason.
The San Francisco Giants:
One of the more puzzling moves was the zero made by the San Francisco Giants. A team that has been infected by the injury bug all year but remains somehow at .500 should probably add, right? The Giants story is more complex than that.
San Francisco currently sits fourth in the National League West and five games back from the first place Dodgers. The Giants remain in striking distance but optimism fades when looking at the recent injury news.
Number two starting pitcher Johnny Cueto will be out until 2020 after undergoing Tommy John surgery on Thursday. The Giants will rely on Chris Stratton to replace Cueto in the rotation. Stratton's 5.52 ERA ranks third highest among qualified pitchers according to ESPN.com, a scary sight for a possible playoff contender like San Francisco.
The problems don't stop there. Backup infielder and former World Series MVP Pablo Sandoval has also been lost for the rest of 2018 with a hamstring injury. Sandoval had been filling in for already injured first baseman Brandon Belt before heading to the disabled list himself.
With Sandoval and Belt out, the Giants will start rookie Austin Slater at first base and be forced to play a 35 year old Hunter Pence. Pences' .222/.258/.297 slash line won't cut it on a any team let alone one with playoff hopes.
All this to say, the Giants should have sold. Expiring contracts like Pence would have been tough to move but Andrew McCutchen had been involved in trade talks until right before the deadline but San Francisco seemed hesitant to move the outfielder. The Giants front office gave a reason for their complacency.
“We had a strategy of being strategic buyers and if so inclined and compelling enough, strategic sellers,” vice president of baseball operations Brian Sabean said. “But in that context, we wanted to stay clear of free agents-to-be and preferred people that were controllable.”
Basically, Sabean and the Giants did not want to sell because they gambled in the offseason and cannot turn back. The Giants traded their number one and number four prospects, Christian Arroyo and Bryan Reynolds, in separate deals for Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen.
San Francisco decided to bet the farm on this season and the outcome has been mediocre at best. We all know the Giants historic run from 2010-2014. This is not that team. It's time the Giants admit, there is no more "even year magic".
McCutchen's name will likely resurface in trade talks as the waiver deadline approaches but the previous apprehension should worry Giants fans for the future.
San Francisco will need to re-sign Madison Bumgarner after the 2019 season and have shown interest in signing Nationals' superstar Bryce Harper in the offseason. An estimated 140 million dollars is owed to aging stars Johnny Cueto, Mark Melancon, and Jeff Samardzija in the next three seasons making both moves nearly impossible without exceeding the luxury tax, something the Giants will never do.