Amid the coronavirus chaos swirling around the Mets, don’t forget the trade deadline is Aug. 31, a week from Monday.
General manager Brodie Van Wagenen said Monday he expects teams won’t be as aggressive as they normally are in making mid-year additions because of the uncertainties inherent in this season. And while he never says never about his own potential bold moves, he downplayed the idea that the Mets will do anything too adventurous and framed the looming return of injured players as de facto deadline additions.
After trading significant prospect inventory — for what has amounted to minimal return — in his first 22 months with the team, Van Wagenen said he is more inclined to play it safe this time.
“We’re going to be very careful,” Van Wagenen said. “The aggressive approach that we’ve taken in the past is not something that we will eliminate from a possibility, but we recognize we’ve got a 30-game season effectively — less than that once the trade deadline comes and goes. So we have to be responsible for the future of the organization while still being opportunistic for ways to improve the club. But I wouldn’t see a rental player for us or anybody else commanding a huge return in terms of prospects.”
He later added: “If there’s something to do in the short-term that gives us some degree of upgrade over a particular position, then we’ll look to do it. But we’re not going to do it at the sacrifice of our long-term goals.”
Van Wagenen and his inner circle still have time to decide how they feel about this year’s team, including whether it merits and/or needs supplements. The Mets (12-14) are scheduled to play nine games in six days starting Tuesday, leaving them with just 25 games to go at the deadline. They don’t have a game scheduled for deadline day.
Van Wagenen has had early trade talks with other clubs but he doesn’t “have anything on the horizon at this point,” he said.
Teams around the majors are dealing with similar dynamics. The season is only four-plus weeks old, far from the usual four-month-old campaigns of normal trade deadlines. And any so-called rental acquisition — a player who will be a free agent at season’s end — will only play for his new team for less than a month, not the usual two months.
"I think teams will be more conservative overall,” Van Wagenen said.
He pointed to the likely returns of starters David Peterson (left shoulder inflammation) and Michael Wacha (right shoulder inflammation), as well as outfielder Jake Marisnick (left hamstring strain), as built-in boons to the roster.
“We’re not going to feel like we’re [under] tremendous pressure to make a move, just for the sake of making a move,” Van Wagenen said.
Worried that the trade deadline won’t include enough excitement? Fear not. Monday also is the deadline for potential new Mets owners to place their final bids.