The trade deadline has passed and the Mets were big sellers. They traded their veteran closer Francisco Rodriguez as well as All-Star center fielder Carlos Beltran. So why were the Mets one of the winners from the trade deadline?
The front office made two big moves in the month of July that could help the Mets in the up-coming off-season and beyond. Not only was the front office able to clear some salary cap space, they might have pulled the right strings in order to maintain the supportive fan base for the next few years.
Despite Carlos Beltran being the team leader in homeruns and runs batted this year, the Mets made a smart move by trading Beltran to San Francisco. The Mets were able to receive $2.5 million dollars of Beltran's remaining $6.5 million that he is owed for the rest of 2011 from San Fran.
Even though $2.5 million may not seem like much for a player of Beltran's caliber, the Mets would have most likely lost him to free agency after the end of the season anyway. Receiving any type of compensation is critical for a team that's been stricken with severe financial problems.
And despite the great season he's had, it is highly and extremely unlikely that he would have been able to ignite some type of improbable September run for the Mets. It would have been illogical for the Mets to have held Beltran until the end of the year.
Trading Beltran to the Giants will prepare the Mets for the future in one more ways than one.
The departure of Carlos Beltran will now allow Lucas Duda to really develop at the Major League Level. Duda will now be the everyday right fielder for the Mets for the rest of this season and beyond. By giving Duda regular playing time for the rest of the season, the Mets hope that he will have some consistent success against Major League Pitching.
Lucas Duda was drafted in the 7th round in the 2007 Amateur Draft by the Mets. Duda was then named the Mets Minor League Player of the Year in 2010. The organization thinks highly of Duda and his ability to perform in the Majors.
Duda has demonstrated that he has the potential to hit for power and eventually become an impact player for New York. He will inevitably face some growing pains throughout the rest of this season, but it will be beneficial for his growth and development.
Not only were the Mets able to get cash for All-Star Beltran, they were able to get the Giants top pitching prospect Zack Wheeler.
Wheeler, who was drafted sixth overall by the SF Giants in 2009, is said to be a top 50 prospect, and has the potential and the stuff to possibly become a number one starter for the Mets in the upcoming future.
Since arriving to team facilities, the Mets have been raving about his upside. Wheeler has a fastball that hits the mid-90s on the radar gun. According to New York Daily News the movement of his curve ball also impressed Mets minor-league pitching coordinator, Rick Tomlin. "He throws his first curve and it's like hell, right from out of the chute." Tomlin said after Wheeler finished his 32-pitch bullpen session.
This acquisition by the Mets could be huge in a couple of years for their pitching staff, especially if the starting rotation continues to be as inconsistent as it has been in the past few years. Also with an aging ace Johan Santana, the Mets might need to look for a possible successor, and indications say Wheeler might be that guy when he's Major League ready.
Trading Francisco Rodriguez to the Milwaukee Brewers might have been the most important move for the Mets and their immediate future. Getting rid of his contract and the pending option was crucial if the Mets wanted any chance to re-sign their superstar shortstop Jose Reyes when he tests the free agent market this off-season.
The Mets would've had to have had paid K-Rod $17.5 million if he finished 55 games by the end of the year. By the All-Star Game, he was already at 40 games completed. Had the Mets not traded him it was almost a guarantee they would have needed to pay that option, and consequently made it impossible to sign Reyes.
This move NEEDED to be done. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. As a result of this trade the Mets will be able to offer Reyes a better contract in order to compete with other potential buyers.
After numerous questionable trades and acquisitions over the past decade by past Mets' General Managers Steve Phillips and Omar Minaya, it seems as if General Manager Sandy Alderson is trying to right some of the wrongs of the past. Alderson is looking out for the Mets' best interest—both short and long term.
Mets fans should really appreciate the decisions he has made in the past few weeks. Alderson traded away two All-Star veterans who played very large roles on the team. Although it was probably very difficult, these moves needed to be done. In the past, these moves might have not been completed.
Alderson's ability to execute the Beltran trade was masterful. Despite many teams initially not taking the "Beltran Bait," the Giants had to make a move at the deadline and Alderson realized that. The Giants needed a bat in order to add an offensive threat to their anemic line-up and Sandy made sure that he would not lower his asking price. The Giants eventually budged and traded their top pitching prospect and Alderson looks like a genius.
These moves restored some Mets' fans faith in the front office. They have demonstrated that they will do whatever they can in order to sign Jose Reyes. They have listened to the fans. It is a new era, and even if the Mets don't win anything this year, Sandy has showed Mets fans that he wants to put the team in the best position to win for years to come.