The New York Mets traded a pair of prospects to the Miami Marlins Friday night in exchange for reliever AJ Ramos. Some fans aren’t happy about the deal. They should be. Here’s why.
We have acquired RHP A.J. Ramos from the Miami Marlins in exchange for minor league OF Ricardo Cespedes & minor league RHP Merandy Gonzalez.
— New York Mets (@Mets) July 29, 2017
Addison Reed’s Trade Value Just Went Up
With the Mets trading for AJ Ramos, they’ve taken one of the better available relievers off of the trade market. That gives contenders looking for bullpen help one less option to choose from—and it increases the value of the top relievers still available.
That includes current Mets closer Addison Reed.
Nobody is suggesting that Ramos is on the same level as Reed. He’s not. Reed is the better pitcher, the bigger talent. He’s also two years younger (28) than Ramos (30). Sure, he can become a free agent after the season, while Ramos is signed through 2018. But with one less controllable option available, that becomes a mute point in negotiations.
If contenders want to bolster their bullpens with Reed, they’re going to have to pony up some quality prospects to pry him loose.
Speaking of prospects…
The Mets Now Have More Roster Space
One thing that often gets overlooked in analyzing trades is the long-term impact they have on a team’s 40-man roster. As Baseball America‘s Matt Eddy noted, trading away Ricardo Cespedes and Merandy Gonzalez essentially opened two roster spots this winter.
Both prospects traded by #Mets for A.J. Ramos—RHP Merandy Gonzalez and OF Ricardo Cespedes—will be Rule 5 draft eligible this winter.
— Matt Eddy (@MattEddyBA) July 29, 2017
While talented, neither Cespedes nor Gonzalez was going to contribute to the big club in 2018. The pair is still a few years away from reaching the majors. Now, the Mets have an opportunity to protect two more youngsters, perhaps a pair that is closer to contributing.
The Back of the Bullpen Is Signed For 2018
Had the Mets not added Ramos, they’d have headed into the offseason with only two late-inning locks under contract for next season: Jerry Blevins and Jeruys Familia. Now, they’ve got a lockdown trio to lean on next season, something that wasn’t lost on MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo.
Mets now have their closer (Jeurys Familia), right-handed setup (A.J. Ramos) and left-handed setup (Jerry Blevins) under contract for 2018.
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) July 29, 2017
Both Familia and Ramos are entering their last year of arbitration, while the Mets hold a $7 million team option on Blevins. For argument’s sake, let’s say that trio will cost the Mets somewhere between $20 million and $22 million next season.
That’s probably less than it’d cost to re-sign Reed or a comparable free agent, players that are going to command multi-year deals. Rather than having to spend lavishly on more bullpen help, the Mets can focus on bolstering other areas of the roster.
For a team that’s looking to get back into contention next season, that’s about as ideal a scenario as you can get.