NEW YORK, NY - JULY 24: Scott Hairston #12 of the New York Mets breaks his bat during the game against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field on July 24, 2012 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Yesterday's frenzied Major League Baseball trade deadline came and went without the Mets making a single deal, but that's okay. Three weeks ago, the Mets' playoff odds were considerably higher than they are today, which means that buying at the deadline would have been a shortsighted move at best. And while the team is virtually out of the race for the wild card, the Mets didn't exactly have a plethora of desirable parts to offer to the teams in the thick of the hunt.
If the Mets had traded away any player, it probably would have been Scott Hairston. The 32-year-old outfielder has an excellent .361 wOBA this year — a number that has been dragged down since nearly half of his plate appearances have come against right-handed pitchers. Hairston has been death to lefties and owns a .396 wOBA against them.
The fact that the Mets decided to keep Hairston sent Adam Rubin of ESPN New York on a long-winded Twitter rant. But according to Sandy Alderson, the Mets didn't receive any offers that would have made it worth their while to trade Hairston:
"If you look historically at what bench players, platoon players can bring to a team that moves that kind of player at the deadline, it’s not always a great return. So in our case, we set a threshold. And we had lots of conversations, as I indicated earlier. But we weren’t going to move Scott just to move Scott."
Assuming Alderson's telling the truth, and there's not much reason to believe that he isn't, it's fair that the Mets didn't send Hairston packing for a player they did not want. Alderson suggested that the Mets would have received a Low-A player who ranked below the top 30 prospects in another team's organization. If none of the players offered seemed to Alderson, Paul DePodesta, and J.P. Ricciardi like a diamond in the rough, perhaps they really weren't very good.
As for the Mets' other potential trade chips, well, there weren't too many. Tim Byrdak might have had some value to another team's bullpen, but he hasn't been quite as good as he was last year — overall and against left-handed hitters. Most of the team's other players have either had a disappointing season this year or figure to be a part of the club's long-term plans. Neither type of player was very likely to be traded.
On the buying side of things, the Mets obviously played themselves out of the wild card race rather quickly in the month of July. Entering play last night, the Mets were 8.5 games back of the second wild card spot in the National League. While the team may have fared better if it made any additions over the past few weeks, a couple of better bullpen arms would not have outweighed the team's loss of Dillon Gee and Johan Santana to injury.
Of the players to whom the Mets were linked over the past several weeks in trade rumors, some were traded to other teams. Jonathan Broxton went to the Reds, but his ERA this year is deceptively low, and he is not the dominant pitcher he once was with the Dodgers. The Cubs sent Geovany Soto to the Rangers, but he's been a comparable hitter to Rob Johnson, the Mets' current backup catcher. Most of the other players the Mets supposedly sought — Kelly Shoppach, Ramon Hernandez, Carlos Quentin, and Huston Street, to name a few — were not moved.
If the Mets had kept pace with the wild card leaders through the end of July, it would be fair to criticize the front office for not making any additions. But since that didn't happen, it's hard to get too worked up about Alderson's decision to keep Hairston around for the rest of the year. It would have been nice if the Mets had another Carlos Beltran with which to acquire another Zack Wheeler this year, but they unfortunately did not.
For now, we'll get to watch Scott Hairston continue his incredible year against left-handed pitching while we monitor the development of minor leaguers like Wheeler and watch Matt Harvey's career unfold. The Phillies and Marlins have waved the white flag on the season, and the Mets could very well finish in third place in the division.
It could certainly be worse.