The Mets are underperforming in 2020, to say the least. They sit at 15-20 and have a number of players that are playing subpar baseball. However, they are just 2.5 games out of the last NL playoff spot. Heading into Monday’s Trade Deadline, general manager Brodie Van Wagenen indicated that the Mets weren’t looking to make big moves. However, he did mention that the team was looking to upgrade their catching and pitching. Here’s how the Mets went about their Trade Deadline moves.
Traded a player to be named later to the Rangers for catcher Robinson Chirinos and cash
While Van Wagenen said the Mets were looking for a catching upgrade, this is about as disappointing as it gets. Chirinos has a decent offensive track record but is off to a horrendous start this year. Thus far, he’s hitting a weak .119/.224/.143 over 49 plate appearances. Defensively, Chirinos is about at average as it gets this year. He ranks in the 49th percentile in framing, has a 48.9-percent framing strike percentage and has zero runs extra strikes. Additionally, Chirinos has thrown out a below-average 22-percent of attempted base stealers this year. While he’s a slight upgrade defensively over Wilson Ramos, Chirinos is a very underwhelming pick-up for the Mets. Luckily, it didn’t cost the team much, so it’s not as if Van Wagenen mortgaged the future for a mid-level catcher.
Traded a player to be named later to the Rangers for 3B Todd Frazier
In a separate trade, the Mets brought back an old friend in Todd Frazier. Over his two seasons in Queens, Frazier hit .233/.316/.418 (100 OPS+) with 39 homers in 971 plate appearances. However, he’s off to a slow start this year, with a .241/.322/.380 (93 OPS+) batting line and just two homers and seven RBI in 121 plate appearances.
This trade isn’t all bad though. Frazier has long been known as a vocal leader in the clubhouse, which may be exactly what the Mets need to get them out of their funk. Pete Alonso voiced his enthusiasm over the acquisition, saying that Frazier is “always welcome here in the clubhouse.” Additionally, he has a strong .817 OPS in career against left-handed pitching and had a .913 OPS against southpaws in 2019. Frazier would best be used a bench bat, and could occasionally start at third base.
Traded LHP Kevin Smith to the Orioles for RHP Miguel Castro
The Mets’ bullpen has been a mess all year, and they just lost Steven Matz and Dellin Betances to injuries. It was clear that the team desperately needed pitching help. However, the Mets gave up the 12th ranked prospect in their organization according to MLB.com in Kevin Smith. The southpaw was the organization’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2019, pitching to a 3.15 ERA, a 1.256 WHIP, and 130 strikeouts in 177 innings in High-A and Double-A ball last year. In return, the Mets received right-handed reliever Miguel Castro, who’s off to a decent start this year. In 15.2 innings pitched, Castro has a 4.02 ERA/3.71 FIP, a 1.404 WHIP, and a whopping 24 strikeouts (13.8 K/9). He’s a decent pick-up for a struggling and overused bullpen, but it’s unclear whether he is worth the price of Smith.
Overall, this wasn’t a terrible Trade Deadline for the Mets. They picked up some low-cost pieces from the Rangers and added a solid reliever in Castro. However, it left plenty to be desired for a playoff-hopeful team. The Mets are on the fringe of the playoffs right now and the moves they made look like they will get them a first-round exit at best. Grade: C-
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