Friday, July 28, 2023

Mets Trade Robertson To Marlins To Commence Fire Sale


David Robertson pitching to Wilmer Flores of San Francisco on July 1. Photo by Jason Schott.

"Obviously, we came in with higher hopes than making the last Wild Card, or whatever, but that's where we are, so the season's not over. I'm preparing my management team for all possibilities. You know, if we don't get better, we have decisions to make at the trade deadline, and that's not my preferred end result, but I'm preparing all contingencies."

Mets Owner Steve Cohen said this on June 28 in his press conference, in which he gave a vote of confidence to General Manager Billy Eppler and Manager Buck Showalter, and elected not to fire him or any members of the coaching staff, but said he'll be prepared if things don't improve.

The Mets were 36-43 when Cohen spoke, and then lost the next three games close out June with a record of 7-19 and fall 10 games over .500.

Once the calendar turned to July, the Mets won six in a row. That turned out to be the last glimmer of hope for them, as they followed that up with lost four straight losses and uneven play in the past couple weeks. 

After Thursday's 2-1 win over Washington, their record since Cohen's speech is 12-11 to leave them with a record of 48-54, seven games out of a Wild Card spot. 

One hour after the rain-delayed game ended, at 12:26 AM on July 28, a month since Cohen's vote of confidence, the Mets made a statement about their intentions until Tuesday's trade deadline.

The Mets traded their closer, David Robertson, to the Miami Marlins for minor league infielder Marco Vargas and minor league catcher Ronald Hernandez.

The fact that the Mets sent Robertson to another team in the National League East speaks volumes, and shows that anything is on the table. For example, could the Yankees finally realize their dream of having Justin Verlander pitch in The Bronx? There have been rumblings of the Phillies being interested in outfielders Tommy Pham and Mark Canha.

The Marlins have been one of baseball's best stories, as they came in with low expectations considering few thought they would be able to break through the triumvirate of the division's three 2022 playoff teams, the Mets, Atlanta Braves, and Philadelphia Phillies. They are 55-48, just a half-game out of a Wild Card spot, and though they have wavered lately, their win over Tampa Bay on Wednesday, in which Sandy Alcantara threw a complete game in a 4-1 victory over the Rays, showed they should go for it. Alcantara, last year's National League Cy Young winner, is just 4-9 with a 4.46 ERA (earned run average) this season, but that start shows he certainly could be a force down the stretch.

Robertson was brought in by the Mets as a free agent last offseason to give them bullpen depth, likely handling the eighth inning. That all changed when Mets' closer Edwin Diaz hurt himself celebrating his Puerto Rico team's victory in the World Baseball Classic. Robertson became the closer from the start of the season, edging out the only other possibility, Adam Ottavino, who's had a tough year, for the full-time job, and he did an admirable job. 

In 40 games, Robertson had 14 saves, with a record of 4-2 and a 2.05 ERA. He threw 44 innings, in which he allowed 13 runs (10 earned) on 31 hits and 13 walks, with 48 strikeouts. He had a WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) of exactly 1.0, up slightly from the 0.8 he had last season with the Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia. His strikeout rate (K's per 9 innings), which was 11.5 last season, dipped to 9.8.


Marco Vargas - The 18-year-old minor league infielder was ranked as the No. 9 prospect in the Marlins organization, according to Fangraphs. A Mexico native, he has hit .305 with a .436 on-base percentage, and hit four home runs, 57 RBI, 62 runs scored, 24 doubles, and four triples, in 86 career games with the DSL Marlins in 2022 and the FCL Marlins this season. Vargas was signed by Miami as a non-drafted free agent on May 25, 2022.

Ronald Hernandez - A 19-year-old minor league catcher, Fangraphs ranked him as the No. 24 prospect in Miami's organization. He signed with Miami as a non-drafted free agent on January 15, 2021. In three minor league seasons, he has hit .243 with a .382 on-base percentage, and had eight home runs, 73 RBI,71 runs scored, 14 doubles, and five triples in 115 career games.

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