In the aftermath of the first of likely many trade deadline deals, GM Billy Eppler met with the media late Thursday night to discuss the David Robertson move and where the organization stands on the buyer/seller spectrum.
Of course, the second-year Mets GM wouldn’t say the team are “sellers” this season but he admitted that he’s received calls and will continue to take them.
“It’s a little different than just declaring it and calling everybody and saying ‘we’re sellers’ it’s more just looking at it on a case-by-case basis,” Eppler said. “Hearing who clubs kind of covet and hearing what their price point is on the players.
“We’re just listening and I think we can gauge signals from other clubs and if the signals are strong enough we have to look for opportunities. I mean, our farm system’s got a way to go. We’ve had some drafts that I think a lot of people feel good with but we have to just continue to add if we’re going to go where we need to go. In the long term we’re gonna need an upper tiered farm system to get there.”
Coming off a 101-win season and a playoff berth — along with a record payroll entering the season — the Mets were expected to make a deep run this year.
Eppler explained that looking at where the team is at this time — a 48-54 record and seven games out of the final Wild Card spot entering Friday — he and the front office have taken inquiries on a number of players. For the Robertson deal, the players they acquired “exceeded expectations.”
In return for the veteran reliever, the Mets acquired infielder Marco Vargas and catcher Ronald Hernandez.
According to Eppler, the organization sees Vargas as a shortstop with “elite contact, elite decision-making” and above average exit velocity. As for Hernandez, the Mets GM likes that he’s a switch-hitter with above average arm strength and exit velocity.
Both prospects are young so they’ll likely be in the Mets farm system for some time but Eppler feels it was necessary even if it meant dealing their best bullpen arm with the team still mathematically alive in the playoff race.
“It’s not where we want to be, it’s not what we want to be doing,” Eppler said. “We’re trying to balance the best interests of the team, but also have to try to balance the best interests of the organization and sometimes those are more perpendicular, than they are parallel.
“It’s tough and I’ve known Robbie since Alabama and we spent a lot of time together. This was, personally, pretty, pretty tough on me. I am glad he’s moving into a situation where he’s gonna be in a race and gonna have another crack at the postseason. We didn’t have a vision for this at the start of the season.”