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It depends on the deal: A sensible approach to the MLB trade deadline

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The Mets were quiet at the deadline, but that's not such a bad thing.

Jim McIsaac

The trade deadline just passed, and in the weeks leading up to it we heard the obligatory speculative kerfuffle surrounding which players might or might not be traded, and to which teams. For our Metsian part, discussion largely centered on the merits of 1) trading away players such as Daniel Murphy and Bartolo Colon, and 2) trading for players such as Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez. Nothing, as we have now learned, happened.

I had (and still have) nothing to add to these discussions, per se; strong cases were made by both supporters and detractors of the myriad hypothetical trade scenarios presented around these parts over the past several weeks. To venture in with my Hot Takes would have done little to further the conversation.

Instead, I took a step back.

Each year as the trade deadline approaches, I undergo a process not unlike the one I experience on Thanksgiving Day: First, there’s the excitement and anticipation; next, a crescendo of happiness abounds as I partake in the discussion of all the delicious possibilities in front of us diners; then, I feel the sublime transcendence of dinner commencing; and finally, I am overwhelmed by the sudden onset of utter (and uncomfortable) fullness—that moment, if you will, in which I am unequivocally finished with the meal. Once I reach that final stage, my only sensible recourse is to step away from the table and allow myself time to digest.

Once I had some time to digest, I worked my way back to the foundation of my view on this and all other TRAID deadlines: It depends on the deal. I’m sure that comes across as equivocation to a number of readers, but to me, it is anything but.

I, as a postmodern Mets fan, have unprecedented access to information about the team—and, indeed, all teams, which means that I am, hypothetically, capable of dreaming up realistic trade scenarios. The problem, however, is the fact that I do not have nearly the level of access to information that Mets personnel do. I can never know, or account for, most of the variables that surely come into play during trade discussions and negotiations. In light of this, it’s hard for me to justify getting too worked up about what seems to me an obvious move (or non-move), when, in fact, that move may be neither possible nor wise.

Another point that prompts me each year to step back from the TRAID Day table and digest is that the net outcome—if there is such a thing—of many or most trades will not reveal itself until time has passed. In other words, it is difficult in many cases to immediately and accurately assess whether a trade is, in fact, “good” or “bad” for our favorite team.

Except for that Kazmir-for-Zambrano trade. That was, without a doubt, immediately a dipshit move.