It’s the week of the trade deadline in Major League Baseball, and some of the biggest names on the block are already moving. Getting ahead of the Wednesday at 4 pm ET cutoff point, the New York Mets made a big splash by trading for Toronto starter Marcus Stroman on Sunday.
For many around the league, this was a head-scratching move, with the Mets sitting in fourth in the NL East at 50-55. Most experts projected Stroman to go to a ready-to-win-now contender, like the Yankees.
In exchange for Stroman, who owns a 6-11 record and an ERA of 2.96 (fifth-best in the AL), and cash considerations, the Blue Jays received the Mets’ fifth- and sixth-ranked prospects in pitchers Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods Richardson.
How Does Stroman Fit With the Mets?
While New York may have a grand plan for bringing in Stroman before offloading Zack Wheeler, who is unlikely to sign an extension, or Noah Syndergaard, who they may be able to get more for than they gave up for Stroman, it doesn’t appear to be a great fit.
Sure, Stroman is an All-Star pitcher who any team would like to have in their rotation, but the right-hander’s strengths don’t match up well with the Mets’ strengths.
For example, Stroman has been able to achieve the third-lowest home run percentage in the American League this season, due in large part to the fact that he’s a proven ground ball pitcher. Yet the Mets are the worst ground ball team in the majors, converting just 71 percent of ground balls so far this year.
Stroman to the Mets is an interesting move, to say the least, and it gets even more puzzling when looking at the odds.
What the Odds Say About Stroman to the Mets
As one of the best players tagged to be dealt before the trade deadline, Stroman appeared to be destined for a playoff team. Instead, he went to the Mets in a move that doesn’t make sense on its face when looking at the odds.
According to baseball tradition, the trade deadline is supposed to split the league into two camps:
1. The teams with the greatest chance to win now become buyers.
2. The teams without much chance to win now become sellers.
The Mets broke this ideology by turning into buyers at the deadline despite having little to no chance of winning this year, at least according to the odds.
Before the trade, the struggling New York team had the 21st-best odds to win the World Series at +15000. That puts them behind the likes of Cincinnati at +10000 and Arizona at +7500.
So, while the Mets have certainly acquired a good starting pitcher, the odds are telling us the move doesn’t make much sense right now.
Are the Mets Planning for Next Year?
Vegas is saying the move doesn’t add up at the moment and the fit doesn’t appear to be a good one, but New York may have a trick up its sleeve.
If the club is able to move either Syndergaard or Wheeler and get more in return than they gave up for Stroman, most experts would consider the Mets winners at the deadline. And if they are able to upgrade their infield defensively with a deal, they’d be giving their new man a great chance for success next season.
Although there’s little expectation for Stroman to turn things around for the Mets this year, the accomplished starter isn’t eligible for free agency until after the 2020 campaign, meaning New York has the potential to make a big push for the playoffs next season.
While the Mets still wouldn’t be a favorite to win the 2020 World Series at this point in time, Stroman could be the first piece of the puzzle. We’ll have to wait and see what the club does before Wednesday’s deadline and in the offseason.