We all know at this point that Giancarlo Stanton was traded to the Yankees today, forming the omnipotent baseball-mutilating duo of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. However, this move left me pondering how the Mets can handle free agency in such a cheap manner compared to the Yankees, despite the fact that both teams play in the largest market in the country. I understand Stanton ruled out any chance of agreeing to a trade for the Mets, but this move, along with the several actions taken by the Mets front office before, shows the disparity of the front office ideologies between the Mets and the Yankees.
For the entirety of the Mets 50-year history, the front office has pinched pennies during free agency. There were so many names in free agency that the Mets were considered front-runners to pick up early on, but ultimately backed out of signing them because they would have to pay anything more than cut-rate. It’s only once in a blue moon will the Mets actually trade for a big-name player or make a blockbuster signing. It’s even rarer when that player actually performs well. For every Carlos Beltran signing, there is a Jason Bay or Luis Castillo move. It is unreasonable that a large-market team should spend less than some small market teams.
After seasons where they have found postseason success, the Mets have done little to attempt to sustain that success, which is telling in the fact that the Mets have never reached the postseason for three straight seasons.
Looking back at their most recent pennant-winning season in 2015, the Mets did not make a big move to sustain their success going into 2016. Trading for Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera upgraded our infield for sure, but getting Walker and Cabrera would not be enough to push the Mets over the top. After losing in the Wild Card game in 2016, the Mets made zero moves in the offseason afterwards. If you want any more evidence on the Mets’ proclivity of cheap spending, the Mets’ top free agent target this offseason is Bryan Shaw. With a relief pitching free agent class that features Wade Davis, Greg Holland, Brandon Morrow, and Tony Watson, the best reliever they are targeting is Bryan Shaw.
This complacency has killed any semblance of sustained success time and time again. In no way, shape, or form am I saying the Mets should burn truckloads of money for an aging veteran out of pure necessity. It’s the fact that the front office has treated this team like a middling small-market team from a flyover state, and has throttled the success of the team on dozens of occasions. Meanwhile, the Yankees strive to build on their current roster, despite already holding a formidable, World Series-contending squad. This Stanton trade may be a good time for the Wilpons and co. to take an introspection on their habits of cheap spending.
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