The landscape of the 2021 season looked a lot different for the New York Mets just a few short weeks ago.
On deadline day, the team had a 3.5-game lead in the National League East.
Things were looking up, and the Mets were bonafide buyers.
So, as expected, they made a splash.
They traded for Chicago Cubs superstar Javier Baez in one of the bigger deals of the season.
At the time, some Mets fans like the deal; others did not.
But today, it’s probably safe to assume that very few folks would call this deal a success for New York.
Baez Hasn’t Moved The Needle For The Mets
When the Mets traded for Baez, the hope was that he was going to provide a major boost for a lineup that has struggled all season long.
That has not been the case.
He struggled to a .171/.216/.343 slash line over his first 10 games with New York, then he hit the injured list with a back issue.
He missed almost two weeks with the injury, and during that time, the Mets’ playoff hopes essentially died.
Francisco Lindor and Javier Báez returning from the injured list pic.twitter.com/GaWCjAykU5
— D.J. Short (@djshort) August 22, 2021
He’s back with the team now, but it’s probably too late for him to make a meaningful impact.
New York certainly had other ideas in mind for how Baez’s time with the club was going to pan out.
The Mets Paid A Hefty Price For Baez
We mentioned that some folks didn’t like the Mets’ deal for Baez as soon as it went down.
That’s because New York gave up a highly-touted prospect in Pete Crow-Armstrong in the trade.
The Mets are a forever dumpster fire. They had to know deGrom was unlikely to return when they sent Pete Crow-Armstrong for Javy Baez. What a pointless move.
Well wishes to deGrom. Very sad we didn't get to see the final outcome of maybe the best pitching half-season ever.
— Colby Olson (@colby_olson3) August 19, 2021
Crow-Armstrong was the Mets’ No. 6 prospect before he was traded.
The 19-year-old passed up a chance to attend Vanderbilt University and instead signed with New York after he was picked in the first round of the 2020 draft.
He has dealt with injuries this season, but over limited games at the Single-A level, he has posted an absurd slash line of .417/.563/.500.
His ceiling is exceptionally high.
But hey, at least the Mets have Baez under club control for a few years, right?
Not so fast.
Baez Is Set To Become A Free Agent
When the Mets traded for Baez, they knew he was a rental.
The infielder is only under contract through the 2021 season, so he’s expected to hit free agency when the year ends.
The hope was that Baez was going to help lead the team to the promised land this season.
That’s obviously not going to happen.
New York rolled the dice at the deadline (as most contending teams do when trading for rentals), and it didn’t pay off this time.
As a result, the Mets are going to have to live with the fact that they gave up several years of Crow-Armstrong in exchange for three months of Baez—and they’re going to have nothing to show for it.
There’s always a chance that New York could sign Baez to a new deal this offseason, but there’s no reason to believe that’s in the cards.
All things considered, the deal is a disaster.