Mets trade David Robertson to the Marlins for two prospects
The Mets began their summer sell off by trading their closer to the Marlins for two prospects
It’s (finally) official - the Mets are sellers at the trade deadline in 2023.
Late Thursday night, the Mets opted to deal RHP David Robertson to the Marlins for minor league catcher Ronald Hernandez and minor league infielder Marco Vargas.
Vargas, 18, was ranked as Miami’s 18th best prospect in 2023, according to MLB.com. Signed as a non-drafted free agent as a 16-year-old in 2022, Vargas hit .305/.436/.450 with 24 doubles, four triples, four home runs, 57 RBI and 62 runs scored in 86 career games spanning two minor league seasons with the DSL Marlins (2022) and FCL Marlins (2023).
Hernandez, 19, was ranked Miami’s 21st best prospect in 2023, according to MLB.com. Signed with the Marlins as a non-drafted free agent on January 15, 2021, Hernandez hit .243/.382/.370 with 14 doubles, five triples, eight home runs, 73 RBI and 71 runs scored across 115 career appearances.
Vargas becomes the Mets sixth-best prospect, while Hernandez their 18th-best prospect, per MLB.com.
The Mets were hard pressed to get a stronger return which was closer to the big leagues for Robertson, who is 38 and a pending free agent and really profiles more as a setup reliever rather than an established closer. The Mets clearly opted for perhaps a more toolsy return instead, although Hernandez and Vargas figure to be years away from the Mets at best.
For a team that lacks any sort of significant help at the top of the minor league level at any position, the Mets have to figure out how to to develop a stronger pipeline to the big leagues so to be less dependent on paying via free agency.
The long game with Hernandez and Vargas will require patience and a strong effort on internal player development, but at least begins to address that gap in the Mets process.
As for Robertson, he was the Mets best relief pitcher by far in 2023 before the Mets dealt him, pitching to a 2.05 ERA with 14 saves in 40 appearances.
The Mets signed the 38-year-old pending free agent to a one-year deal this past winter, meaning he could become a free agent at the end of the 2023 season. With the move and the Mets clearly unable to position themselves as a contender after the All-Star break, the Mets have correctly begun to dismantle their roster and move perhaps their most valuable asset ahead of the August 1 trade deadline.
The Mets could opt to re-sign Robertson again as a free agent this winter, although he will presumably command a multi-year deal if he finishes the season as strong as he started it.
Still, the move marks a permanent stain of disappointment on the game’s most expensive team. At $375 million before tax, the Mets entered the 2023 season with the highest payroll in the history of the sport. With that came equally high, if not higher expectations. But almost right from the jump, the Mets demonstrated their flaws and incompatibility with the new rules and game speed, turning a 14-7 start into a 34-47 rut since. For now, the Mets will have to figure out how to mitigate a bullpen which is down another elite reliever over the season’s final 60 games, then retool it entirely after the World Series.