When the New York Mets acquired pitcher Marcus Stroman from the Toronto Blue Jays for a couple of the Mets’ top pitching prospects, MLB was shocked. However, the deal seemed to spark New York’s National League team. The Mets struggled most of the season, but since the trade, they’ve made a run towards one of the National League’s wild-card spots, and the Stroman trade could help them make the playoffs.
While the Mets got a good pitcher for a reasonable price, the trade itself doesn’t solve all of the Mets major problems. Even though the Mets have been on a winning streak over the last two weeks, the Stroman trade doesn’t make sense in the larger picture.
The Mets don’t have the defensive infield to support Stroman
It doesn’t make sense that the Mets traded for a pitcher who amplifies a team weakness. Marcus Stroman is a pitcher who throws a lot of pitches that lead to ground balls by batters. Because ground balls shrink the amount of space a team has to defend, it can lead to more quick outs and fewer chances of home runs.
However, for this strategy to work, a team needs a strong defensive infield. If a team has a poor defensive infield, easy outs can turn into runs that should have been stopped.
Right now, the Mets don’t have that infield. Shortstop Amed Rosario and second baseman Robinson Cano (when he’s healthy) have been struggling with their defense all year. Having to handle more ground balls will not help the Mets’ defense. Stroman had good numbers in Toronto despite playing with a similarly terrible infield. While this may mean his numbers won’t decline too much, it puts extra pressure on the infield to play better defensively.
Instead of trying to find a player that fits their team, the Mets traded for a player that could cause further problems for their defensive shortcomings.
The Mets will have trouble making the playoffs
Part of the reason for this trade is to take advantage of a run for the wild card. Since the All-Star break, the Mets have the best record in baseball. As of Aug. 13, they are two games out of the second National League wild-card spot.
However, the wins are a bit of an illusion. Eight wins during a 12-1stretch came against the Miami Marlins and Pittsburgh Pirates, two of the worst teams in baseball.
The last week of August and the month of September feature 15 games against NL East heavyweights Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Washington, and the Mets also play the Dodger three times in September. Any setbacks while facing that brutal schedule could knock them out of playoff contention.
Marcus Stroman does not fix their problems with defense and relief pitching. He might win them one or two more games than before, but is that enough? The Mets didn’t make any other moves right before the trade deadline to address these issues. They might make the playoffs, but a lot of things are going to have to go right for it to happen.
The Mets’ Marcus Stroman plan requires a lot of luck
Making the Stroman trade even more problematic is that the Mets’ playoff contention plan is mostly based on luck. Their plan appears to be: 1) scrape their way into a wild card spot; and 2) hope that everyone on their team starts playing up to their potential. Stroman fits into this plan by providing them with another pitcher who can win them a playoff game.
The chances of that plan working are slim. With the Houston Astros getting Zack Greinke at the deadline, and other tough teams like the Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers out there, the chances of surprising more talented teams are pretty low. While Marcus Stroman is a good player, he doesn’t bring enough to save a flawed Mets team.