Pathetic Mets pay $23 million in desperate attempt to copy Braves

Luisangel Acuña, New York Mets (Photo by Ben Ludeman/Texas Rangers/Getty Images)
Luisangel Acuña, New York Mets (Photo by Ben Ludeman/Texas Rangers/Getty Images) /

The New York Mets are in pursuit of Atlanta Braves vibes with the Max Scherzer trade. 

The New York Mets‘ season has not gone to plan. After a busy and expensive summer, the Mets are six games below .500 and 18 games out of first place in the NL East. Unsurprisingly, Billy Eppler and the front office are hitting the reset button ahead of the Aug. 1 trade deadline.

New York swung the first major trade of deadline week, shipping top ace Max Scherzer to the Texas Rangers in exchange for Luisangel Acuña, the No. 59 prospect in the MLB according to Baseball Prospectus.

The parallels between New York and Atlanta are built into the equation: two NL East rivals who planned to compete for the World Series title coming into the season. Only one team has delivered on the hype, however, and now the Mets are playing catch-up with a bit of unsubtle Braves mimicry.

New York Mets copy Atlanta Braves with blockbuster Max Scherzer trade

Luisangel Acuña is the younger brother of Braves MVP candidate Ronald Acuña Jr. And that isn’t the only connection.

The 21-year-old can competently defend either side of second base, and he’s expected to carve out a long career in the infield as a result. Acuña also has plenty of pop off the bat: .315/.377/.453 with seven home runs and 51 RBIs in 84 games for Double-A Frisco. The favorite point of comparison for one league official? Ozzie Albies.

The Mets would certainly love for Acuña to even remotely approach Albies’ current level of production. A three-time All-Star at second base, Albies is on track to smash his career-best home run and RBI totals, plus he’s a staple of Atlanta’s infield defense.

Acuña will presumably spend at least a couple more seasons in the minors before latching on with the Mets’ big-league team. He could move to the Mets’ Double-A franchise in Binghamton or get a promotion to Triple-A Syracuse. Either way, MLB fans will have to wait a while for the annual Acuña vs. Acuña rivalry in the majors.

Overall, it’s hard to knock this trade for the Mets. Scherzer was signed to a lucrative three-year, $130 million contract before last season. The Rangers take a great financial burden off of New York’s front office with this trade. Also of note is Scherzer’s age: he’s 38 years old, very much in the twilight of his career. The Mets are looking to get younger, perhaps with the goal of copying Atlanta’s sustainable model of contention.

The Braves will be content with the elder Acuña on their roster, but the Mets are ultimately better off here. Dumping Scherzer’s contract with 1.5 years left and getting a top-shelf prospect is no small feat. That said, New York fans should temper expectations. The odds of Luisangel Acuña leading a Braves-esque evolution are slim to none.

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