The New York Mets made two moves at the 2021 trade deadline which netted them three players. One earlier hot stove move for Rich Hill brought them a much-needed tourniquet to stop the bleeding coming from the starting rotation. The additions of Javier Baez and Trevor Williams gave them the offensive force missing and the pitching depth they so severely lacked.
At the time, many agree these were favorable trades to make. The Mets didn’t give up all that much and several of their holes seemed solved.
If there was one thing most people were questioning it was the quantity of moves made. By himself, Baez was expected to turn the offensive fortunes around. Hill, a back-end starter at this point of his career, didn’t improve the rotation as much as he presented a better alternative to minor league options.
The Mets needed to do more. The results in 2021 have shown anyone with this belief back at the end of July and early August were correct.
The Mets needed a major trade deadline overhaul to stay alive
Baez, Hill, and Williams all made the Mets a better team to much different extents. Unfortunately, the team could have used another bat or two plus another starting pitcher or two in order to stay alive.
It’s not realistic to think the Mets would have been able to achieve such a feat. Lesser available players might have been possibilities, but their presence in home team dugout at Citi Field wouldn’t have had the major impact the Mets needed. You can only add so much without completely dismantling everything else
The difference between a successful 2021 season and a failure was far greater than anything the team could have done at the trade deadline—from a realistic standpoint. Even the most active teams typically only make a handful of moves. This club, in first place at the time, had every reason to add as much as they could to the roster. Instead, they placed confidence in guys turning their seasons around. No one ever did.
Trouble for the Mets started well before their losses to the Pittsburgh Pirates in mid-July. The 13-game stretch against the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants might have exposed them, but this issue was lingering from the start of the 2021 season.
The players from the Opening Day roster didn’t do what they needed to. Pick a Mets player at random from the 2021 team and you’re likely to find a guy who was below even the most pessimistic of expectations. The trade deadline is for upgrading three areas: injured players, underperformers, and positions you failed to improve during the winter. The Mets had far too many guys playing below their personal averages.
Those hot stove days in July don’t offer enough opportunities for a team to completely change their look. The Mets seemingly made the right moves but it is perfectly clear they didn’t make all of the right ones.