Grading the New York Mets' Trade Deadline Performance

Sam R. Quinn@SamQuinn_Senior Analyst IIIAugust 1, 2013

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 01:  Marlon Byrd #6 of the New York Mets celebrates after  scoring on Josh Satin #13 RBI single in the ninth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citi Field on July 1, 2013 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

As many predicted, the New York Mets stood pat as the 2013 Major League Baseball trade deadline came and went.

It truly was the trade dead-line, as many teams chose not to alter their rosters, a general consensus that turned Wednesday's deadline into one of the more uneventful occasions in recent years.

Over the last few weeks, there were rumors swirling that the soon-to-be 36-year-old outfielder and leading RBI-getter of the Mets, Marlon Byrd, would be sent elsewhere for a respectable prospect. Many were high on his cheap salary and surprisingly robust production.

Who can blame those gossipers—both pundits and fans alike—for thinking that the Mets would be able to unload him? Byrd's average has improved in each month of the season. He hit .232 in April, .250 in May, .282 in June and now .330 in July.

Byrd just finished his best month of the season and helped propel the Mets to the best month of theirs, but Mets general manager Sandy Alderson apparently did not come across a deal that he could not refuse.

The New York Post's Joel Sherman reported via Twitter just under three hours before the deadline that the Pittsburgh Pirates inquired about Byrd:

#Mets suddenly are some hits on Byrd, have made counteroffers, will see if anyone budges. #Pirates believed 1 of interested teams.

— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) July 31, 2013

About 20 minutes after Sherman provided his scoop, ESPN's Adam Rubin tweeted just prior to the two-hour mark that the Cincinnati Reds were mildly interested as well:

Heard #Reds at one point were kicking the tires on Marlon Byrd, but I believe they backed off. #mets

— Adam Rubin (@AdamRubinESPN) July 31, 2013

The best case scenario for Alderson and the organization would have been to draw the two National League Central teams into a bidding war to keep Byrd from one another. 

That obviously did not happen.

Now, scores of fans are taking to Twitter and other social media platforms to voice their displeasure in the direction of Mets management. But what many of the unhappy fans do not realize is that the Mets were not going to get any prospect of significant value for Byrd.

There were not prospects to be had for Byrd because he is not an impact bat. Teams do not just trade prospects for marginal improvements. Teams trade prospects for serious upgrades.

Byrd's production over the final two months of the season are more important than adding a player who, in all likelihood, would have amounted to nothing more than an "organizational depth" guy.

Even if Byrd does not re-sign with the Mets this offseason, I am fine with this move.

Now that we have touched on the topic of unhappy fans, we'll address the opposite. There are fewer gripes from the Twitterverse in regards to Bobby Parnell staying put.

The hard-throwing closer undoubtedly would have netted the Mets better prospects than Byrd. His fastball averages about 95 mph and his knuckle curve—which he throws over 15 percent of the time, according to Fangraphs—serves as a worthy complementary pitch to throw hitters off.

He has the mental makeup to close and does not have excessive mileage on his arm at 28 years old (306.1 innings in five full seasons).

CBS New York reported on Tuesday that the Mets would need to be "blown away" to trade Parnell (as well as Byrd).

Following the deadline, the ever vigilant Rubin tweeted that the Mets hardly got any play for Parnell at all:

Alderson said most of the conversations centered on Marlon Byrd for obvious reasons. Said there was not much dialogue about Bobby Parnell.

— Adam Rubin (@AdamRubinESPN) July 31, 2013

That latter sentence of that tweet is rather shocking to me. If the Houston Astros found a partner for Jose Veras, someone should have hit Alderson up about Bobby P. 

Parnell sticking around is not something to be upset about though.

New York closers are hard to come by. Many of them are unable to handle the pressure. Some wind up needing season-ending thumb surgery because of a torn ligament sustained while fighting their father-in-law at Citi Field after a game.

Parnell has progressively improved over the last three seasons. His ERA has steadily fallen from 3.64 to 2.49 to 2.16, as well as his WHIP from 1.466 to 1.238 to 1.000. He has surrendered just one homer in 2013 and is the first legitimately promising closer the Mets have had since they traded Francisco Rodriguez to the Milwaukee Brewers at the 2011 trade deadline.

With the ninth inning job seemingly locked up for the near future, the Mets can worry about signing a crop of relievers this offseason who can bridge the gap from their budding starters to Parnell.

In other news, just in case you have not been doing your due diligence when it comes to the organizations (very minor) minor leaguers, the Mets parted ways last week with outfielder Julio Concepcion and right-handed pitcher Andres Perez, via the Mets' official Twitter:

#Mets send minor league OF Julio Concepcion & RHP Andres Perez to the #Angels in exchange for an International Signing bonus allotment slot.

— New York Mets (@Mets) July 25, 2013


Who knows? Maybe the Mets will find the next Yasiel Puig courtesy of Concepcion, Perez and the Los Angeles Angels.

New York Mets' Trade Deadline Grade: B-

Alderson failed to play the role of miracle worker, but he did not botch anything either. Byrd was not going to command anything more than a mid-level prospect (at the very best), and the team did not want to part with Parnell.

As always, the theme is patience.


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