Steve Cohen’s objective was to get a centerpiece player for his signature move as Mets owner whether it’s in free agency or a trade.
He accomplished it when his first-year Mets general manager Jared Porter acquired Indians superstar shortstop Francisco Lindor and Indians starter Carlos Carrasco for Amed Rosario, Andres Gimenez, Isaiah Greene, and Josh Wolf.
Talk about hitting a home run at the first pitch of an at-bat by making a great deal in Porter’s first trade attempt as a general manager. Talk about making a first impression. Talk about a boost to awaken the slumber of Mets fans.
The Mets made a signature move that had their fans’ interest piqued. ESPN Radio 98.7’s Gordon Damer pointed out that the Lindor trade was the best since the Mets acquired Mike Piazza during the 1998 season. That trade set up the Mets making an NLCS appearance in 1999 and a World Series appearance in 2000.
The Mets can only hope Lindor can have the same effect Piazza had.
They obviously acquired him to sign him for the next six or seven years. They hope to win a championship while he is still in his prime during that time.
For Cohen, he backed up his promise about fielding a winner.
For Porter, he brought gravitas just by engineering the art of the trade by giving up fringe players and fringe prospects rather than his core players and prospects.
This trade speaks more of Porter in the sense he had to engage and find a way for the Indians to accept the offer. When the Mets hired him as the general manager, Mets president of baseball operations Sandy Alderson touted him for knowing how to work with people in the baseball industry. This trade illustrated it so much because it’s hard to believe the Indians would have accepted this type of deal.
I figured the Indians would get a core player such as Jeff McNeil or Dominic Smith. After all, they do need a player who can contribute now if they trade a star. They needed a prospect like Jared Kelenic to build for the future, but they settled for Greene and Wolf rather than get uber-prospect Ronny Mauricio, Francisco Alvarez, Brett Baty, Matthew Allan, or Pete Crow-Armstrong. Everyone knows the Indians need to develop hitters to complement their pitching-rich club, so it was surprising the Indians did not ask for either of them.
This is not to say the Indians received nothing in return.
They get a player that can develop at his own pace in Rosario with no pressure on him to produce right away like he was in New York. Plus, he gives the Indians a chance to not rush Gimenez right away by playing right now. As for Gimenez, he is a prospect that the team can build around, but no one knows if he is going to be a sure thing. Of course, anyone can say the same thing about other Mets prospects that were brandied in trade rumors, but the Indians should have settled for a highly rated prospect in return for Lindor. Greene and Wolf can be perceived as projects at best.
I thought the Dodgers would acquire Lindor since they have so many prospects to offer from their farm system. Maybe they could have still gotten him. Porter deserves credit for beating the Dodgers in getting him quickly. He found a way to make this work in getting who he targeted and not give up his uber prospects.
Even better, he added a starter in Carlos Carrasco to a rotation that has many question marks. Noah Syndergaard will make his return in the summer after undergoing Tommy John surgery. The Mets can’t rely on Steven Matz since he is always injured or he is never good. Marcus Stroman pitched mediocre when the Mets acquired him two years ago in the summer, and he opted not to pitch this season because of COVID-19. No one knows if David Peterson can duplicate his success from this past season.
Carrasco adds depth to the rotation, if nothing else. One can make a case he may be the second-best starter on the team. He is a fine No. 2 starter to complement Mets ace Jacob deGrom. Plus, Carrasco’s acquisition means Seth Lugo is going to be in the bullpen instead of being in the starting rotation. It makes more sense for Lugo to be the setup guy than be a starter once in five days since he adds more value to that role three or four times a week.
First impressions tend to be important, even if it sounds like a cliche.
People get one chance to do something right, and Porter made a signature move months into his job that gives Mets fans reason to believe in him along with extending his job honeymoon.
Porter validated Cohen’s and Alderson’s hire by making a deal that no one figured he would make.
Featured Image: Sports Illustrated