There has been a lot of angry buzz going around #MetsTwitter today after seeing what the New York Mets got back in the Jay Bruce trade. Bruce, who has been having a monstrous season, made sense for the Cleveland Indians in a trade. The Indians lost outfielder Michael Brantley to the disabled list this week, giving them an incentive to trade for Bruce, who is batting .256 with 29 homers and 75 RBI’s on the season. Given that Cleveland is in a pennant race, the Mets should have been able to get at least a decent prospect in return for Bruce’s services. By all accounts that didn’t happen, as the Mets landed Single-A reliever Ryder Ryan, who is pitching to a 4.79 ERA.
Ryan isn’t even ranked inside Cleveland’s top 30 prospects, which caught the attention of Deadspin, who termed Ryan a “non-prospect” in their article. You can’t even blame the poor return for Bruce on a poor market for position players with reports emerging that the New York Yankees offered the Mets multiple prospects for Bruce. Newsday’s Marc Carig summarized the offers for Bruce in the following tweets:
So in essence, the Mets turned down the potential of two better prospects from what some people have termed the best farm system in baseball over four million dollars. This is infuriating, especially for a team that publicly advertised they were willing to include salary in trades to receive better prospects in return. The Mets have not done that so far, paying no money in any of the trades and receiving six relief pitching prospects in trades. Granted, three of those relievers now rank inside the Mets’ top 30 prospects and the Mets do need to develop young relievers, but the primary motivation in these deals appears to be saving the Wilpons’ money. The Mets have saved roughly 10 million dollars in the deals for Lucas Duda, Addison Reed, and Bruce. If all of that money isn’t used over the winter to improve the ballclub, these deals (especially the Bruce trade) could go down as an absolute disaster.
If the Mets were going to get a 30th round prospect from the Indians for Bruce, they were better off simply keeping him and letting him reach free agency. Even if Bruce rejected a qualifying offer and signed elsewhere, the Mets would have recouped a draft pick in the 2nd or 3rd round, a pick that would have higher value than Ryan. The other big issue is that the front office appears to have a severe hangup about dealing with the Yankees. The Mets also refused to deal Duda to the Yankees, although the Yankees believed that reliever Drew Smith is better than any player they were offering in a trade. The Yankees felt like they had the better offer on the table this time, but the Mets chose not to take it in order to put four million bucks back in the Wilpons’ pocket. This is disgraceful for a New York team to choose money over better prospects, making General Manager Sandy Alderson and ownership look like cheapskates who value the bottom line over winning. Until this mindset changes the Mets will always fall a bit short of their ultimate goal of winning a World Series title.