Last year at the trade deadline the Mets were neither buyers nor sellers, and sat on their hands. With the team hopelessly out of contention by July 31, Sandy Alderson was asked why he was so inactive, as he had a player in Scott Hairston who should have had some interest from other clubs. Sandy mentioned that he felt the offers for Hairston, an impending free agent, were not worth pursuing as it would be more important for 2013 if the 2012 Mets finished strong. A year later, on July 31, 2013, the Mets were once again in a hopeless situation, despite all that goodwill generated by the extra two months of Scott Hairston in 2012. Just as at the 2012 deadline, the team had a player that was logical to trade in Marlon Byrd. True to form, Sandy did not pull the trigger on a deal.
The 2013 trade deadline was a strange one, with very little activity from any teams, so perhaps there was no deal to be made for Marlon. Byrd’s season has been hard to fathom, and considering his PED past he would come with serious red flags. All fair enough. But, when pressed about why no deal was executed, once again Alderson went to the strong finish defense. Since this was two years in a row that I heard this, I figured maybe it’s me, since it sounds like such complete nonsense, and he was barely challenged on the point by the press. So I looked at some numbers, and, as I did when I looked at our historically bad home/road splits, I looked at a basic metric. Wins and losses.
I started by looking at every team that was under .500 in 2012, and then looked for any team that was over .500 in 2013. One game over would do, I didn’t look for anything too dramatic. Just a clear turnaround from bad team to at least mediocre. There are four teams that had records below .500 in 2012 and were over .500 as of August 24.
- 2013: 76-52, .594
- 2012: 79-83, .488
- 2013: 75-55, .577
- 2012: 69-93, .426
- 2013: 69-59, .539
- 2012: 68-94, .420
- 2013: 64-63, .504
- 2012: 72-90, .444
Next I looked at each team’s records from August 1st, 2012, until the end of the 2012 season to see how they finished last year.
- Pittsburgh: 20-39, .338
- Boston: 16-42, .276
- Cleveland: 18-41, .305
- Kansas City: 30-30, .500
Only one of the four managed to play better than their overall record for 2012, Kansas City; they have used their .500 play in August and September to eke out a .504 mark in 2013. On the other hand, Boston, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland are all serious playoff contenders.
Now that we looked at the numbers, there is one more set to look at, payroll numbers.
- Pittsburgh: Payroll Up $14.9 million
- Boston: Payroll Down $20.7 million
- Cleveland: Payroll Up $15.2 million
- Kansas City: Payroll Up $17.9 million
Boston remember, shed a massive amount of payroll at the deadline last year, and, yes, their overall numbers go down year-over-year. Despite that, they still invested heavily in the offseason in the franchise, signing free agents such as Shane Victorino, Mike Napoli, and Ryan Dempster. The other franchises all increased their payrolls dramatically. It’s important to note how all of these teams had no problem getting free agents to sign with them, despite how they finished in 2012. This was another feeble comment made by the team, how free agents could be swayed by how many games you win in August and September. Free agents are swayed by how much you are willing to pay them, anything else is talk.
There are still games to be played in 2013, and even with yesterday’s injury to Matt Harvey, reasons to watch them. It’s a great time to get further information on Zack Wheeler, Wilmer Flores, Travis d’Arnaud, and Juan Lagares, as a start. How many wins we get the rest of the way is sadly not one of the reasons to watch. Fred Wilpon is right when he says that meaningful September games is a goal. We are not having them in 2013.
Don’t let anyone try to tell you otherwise.