Going into the 2022 Trade Deadline, the Mets needed a left-handed relief pitcher. Joely Rodriguez had been surprisingly effective for the Mets, but for a team making a playoff push, they really needed to have a better left-handed option out of the bullpen.
Instead of trading for a lefty, the Mets acquired Mychal Givens from the Cubs at the deadline in a move that left most fans and commentators scratching their heads. Sure, Gyvens played under Buck Showalter in Baltimore. And yes, while he had a few moderately successful seasons under his belt and was having a good season, Gyvens didn’t enhance the Mets’ bullpen in the ways they needed. Our Lukas Vlahos graded the trade a C, for reasons that are entirely rational:
Mychal Givens has been around the block, playing on two teams in each of the last three seasons after spending the first five years of his career in Baltimore. His ERA has been fairly stable, but advanced metrics haven’t loved his work over the past few seasons; by DRA-, he was a below average pitch in 2020 and 2021 before bouncing back in 2022. Still, he’s more a sixth or seventh inning option than a legitimate late inning arm.
So while the move was a relatively strange one, Gyvens was having a good season, and adding an arm to the bullpen down the stretch makes a lot of sense. However, in his first appearance for the Mets, Gyvens had an all-time terrible inning, which seemed to cast the dye for his Mets’ tenure almost instantly.
In two-thirds of an inning, Gyvens gave up five hits, five earned runs, and two home runs. Thankfully, Gyvens had entered a 9-0 game in the ninth inning, so the Mets didn’t lose the game because of his inability to miss bats, but that would’ve been the case in a closer game.
Gyvens had another few rough outings in his first month as a Met, but nothing came close to the shit show of that first spot. While Gyvens, overall, was never as bad as he looked on that night in Washington, he never really lived up to the half-season that preceded his Mets tenure. His 82 ERA+ and 4.79 ERA as a Met are not disasters, but they really didn’t add value to the team. While they gave up a flyer of a prospect for Gyvens, it is hard to look at the other relievers traded at the deadline, or even the bevy that weren’t, and find better options for the Mets.
The Gyvens trade didn’t cost the Mets a longer playoff run or a bye in the first round, but the trade represented a failure at the front office-level to identify the team’s needs and do what they needed to in order to see them through. This was a top 5, all-time Mets team, and the implication was that they didn’t want to go all-in and push the team over the top at the deadline in order to protect some questionably valued prospects. And Gyvens, fairly or not, became the avatar for that failure.
Because of that, as well as his on-field performance, it isn’t surprising that the Mets declined Gyvens’s 2023 mutual option. While a reunion at the right price wouldn’t be a terrible move, due to properly calibrated expectations, it seems unlikely that Gyvens returns to the Mets.