The MLB trade deadline is Friday afternoon, but some teams have been striking big deals in the past few days, including the Mets.
GM Sandy Alderson made it clear that the Mets are trying to win now as they added Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson from the Braves in exchange for two marginal pitching prospects last Friday. Uribe and Johnson have already made their mark; Johnson blasted a homer in a 15-2 rout of the Dodgers last Saturday, then Uribe hit the towering walkoff single that won the game for the Mets on Sunday.
Then Alderson doubled down by acquiring Tyler Clippard, who the Mets saw plenty of in the late innings in Washington the past few years, from Oakland for another A-ball pitching prospect on Monday. Even if the Mets refuse to deal any of the “big four” starting pitchers, they still have ammunition to go after a solid outfield bat like Justin Upton, Jay Bruce or Carlos Gomez.
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The Mets have not been the only active team in the trade market the past few days. Late Monday night the Blue Jays and Rockies confounded everyone when Colorado agreed to ship out SS Troy Tulowitzki and reliever LaTroy Hawkins to Toronto for former Met Jose Reyes and some decent pitching prospects. The Blue Jays lead the majors in runs scored by a comfortable margin but are only flirting with .500 as their pitching has been dreadful. Meanwhile it appears the asking price on Tulowitzki plummeted as the Rockies didn’t get a future Noah Syndergaard or Matt Harvey (who the Rockies allegedly targeted in exchange for Tulowitzki over the winter) in return.
The Royals, owners of one of the best records in baseball, made a splash on Sunday when they got Johnny Cueto from the Reds for three solid pitching prospects, some of whom could be MLB-ready by next year. The Royals filled a need as Jason Vargas was ruled out for the year with a bum elbow while Yordano Ventura has struggled all season and was even demoted just before Vargas got hurt. Cueto will make his first start for Kansas City on Friday.
The Astros struck first when they traded with the A’s for Scott Kazmir last Thursday. Oakland received a pitching and catching prospect in return. The Astros have mired through some difficult seasons but are in prime position for a playoff spot this year as they duke it out with the Angels for the AL West crown. Kazmir made his Astros debut on Friday and tossed a scoreless seven innings against the Royals while allowing just three hits.
The Yankees have not done anything as of Tuesday, but with such a commanding lead in the AL East they may not have to. The Bombers have done their due diligence on utility man Ben Zobrist (as nearly every playoff contender has) and recent no-hit hurler Cole Hamels.
Some of the remaining big names on the trade market not already mentioned include starting pitchers Jeff Samardzija, David Price, and James Shields.