Lame duck general manager Brodie Van Wagenen trades for three players as Mets fall five games below .500

When you’re a general manager of an MLB team, you have to work with the assumption that you’re going to hold the job forever. If you operate as if you’re going to be gone tomorrow, you can’t in good faith look out for the franchise’s long-term success. That’s why I’m not thrilled with the Wilpons and Brodie Van Wagenen making moves before yesterday’s trade deadline.

An ownership change is imminent and Van Wagenen’s job is in jeopardy with his Edwin Diaz trade looking like a mistake and him being days removed from criticizing the commissioner on a hot mic. Even without those facts, I don’t think the Mets should be buying right now. I still think they will rally and make the playoffs, but the 16-team field makes the postseason even more of a crap shoot than normal. Adding a third baseman who is just going to further complicate the infield situation and a catcher who is only a little better than Tomas Nido isn’t going to do much.

In addition to Todd Frazier, the Mets also added veteran backstop Robinson Chirinos from Texas. They also acquired relief pitcher Miguel Castro from Baltimore in exchange for left-handed pitching prospect Kevin Smith and a player to be named later or cash. The Mets owe Texas two PTBNLs for Frazier and Chirinos.

Castro is the most interesting because he still has two arbitration years left and should be able to help the bullpen right away. In 73 innings last season, Castro posted a 4.66 ERA with five walks per nine innings, but so far in 2020 he has a 4.02 ERA with 24 strikeouts and five walks in 15.2 innings. He profile doesn’t scream “future closer” and his history with walks is troubling, but Castro can be an asset if this bump in strikeout rate is a sign of things to come.

Chirinos has struggled at the plate in 2020, but he has been a good hitter for his position in the past and has a club option for 2021, when Wilson Ramos will probably be elsewhere. Last season with Houston, Chirinos hit .238/.347/.443 and posted 2.3 WAR according to FanGraphs. It’s easy to envision him platooning with Nido in 2021.

Frazier also has a club option for 2021, but he shouldn’t crack the starting lineup with J.D. Davis, Jeff McNeil, and Robinson Cano already on the team. Are these moves going to destroy the Mets’ future? Probably not, but the idea of trading any future assets for a team that is currently sitting in 11th place in the National League doesn’t feel good.

The Mets could have been in 10th place on Monday night, but they lost a game to the Marlins in the afternoon. Everything was going well through the first five innings. Jacob deGrom was cruising along as usual while McNeil and Dominic Smith drove in runs to put New York ahead 2-0.

Based on the Mets’ failure to produce more runs, I figured the bullpen would allow Miami to come back and the Twitter crowd would groan about another no-decision for deGrom. Unfortunately, I was only partly right. The beloved ace blew it himself this time, allowing four runs in the sixth and sticking himself with the loss. Garrett Cooper started the rally with a home run, and a big error by Pete Alonso opened the door for more.

Lewin Diaz hit a double to score Matt Joyce, and then Miguel Rojas gave the Marlins the lead with his little bloop. Jorge Alfaro added one more with an RBI double.

Robinson Cano hit a solo home run in the bottom half to bring the Mets to within one, but Miami’s bullpen shut down New York the rest of the way to secure a 5-3 result. Not great when we were looking for deGrom to lift the team after a demoralizing Sunday.

Tonight the Mets head down to Baltimore for a two-game set with the Orioles. At 15-19, the O’s haven’t been great, but they were expected to do much worse. Then again, they’ve only won three games since going 12-8 in their first 20. Doesn’t matter. With only 25 games left, everything is must-win.

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