The Mets have dealt their closer to the Brewers, which has the happy result of saving the Mets from having to pay him another $17 million. I heard a lot of analysis about this move today, and the focus was on all that money, but I think that this trade signals something more important.
The Mets brass have given up on winning in the playoffs this year, and they are planning for the future. Here’s how we know that: the Mets have played way above themselves for a long time. On paper, they are barely a .500 team, yet they are holding their own, and better, against some pennant contenders. What this “no name” team has going for them is chemistry. The players have bonded somehow, and they are a self-supporting group. If you want to win, you do not mess with the chemistry.
Trading your closer, when you are not sure how you are going to replace him, definitely messes with the chemistry. So we know that management has given up on this year. And I agree! I’ve seen too many seasons where the Mets played really well till past the trade date, then collapsed. They are not a good team this year. It’s more important to get some help for the future.
The tricky thing for management is to give away some of their players without raising the ire of their fans. So they will make the next deal after the Mets lose enough games to suggest that this years’ bubble is over. If by some miracle the Mets keep winning, I suspect management will sigh and ride the increase in rabid attendance to the end of the season.