MLB trade deadline Q&A: Trades that almost happened, Red Sox inactivity, Mets blow up and more

New York Mets owner Steve Cohen. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Mets owner Steve Cohen. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports) /

We’re one week removed from the trade deadline, and FanSided’s MLB Insider Robert Murray is tackling questions from around the game.

We are officially a week removed from the Major League Baseball trade deadline, and there have been some early takeaways and reactions.

Here’s FanSided’s insider Robert Murray answering a few questions on the latest topics in baseball.

MLB trade deadline insider Q&A

What were some moves that weren’t made that you thought were going to happen?

I believe the Arizona Diamondbacks came close to a couple of deals. They were in discussions to acquire a catcher — one of them being the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Austin Hedges — and then likely would have flipped catcher Carson Kelly elsewhere.

The day the Toronto Blue Jays acquired reliever Jordan Hicks from the St. Louis Cardinals, there were a couple of people I talked to who thought he was headed for Arizona. Alas, the Diamondbacks ultimately acquired Paul Sewald from the Seattle Mariners. But it was clear that Arizona was determined to add an impact reliever at the deadline.

As Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported, the Boston Red Sox were in serious discussions on a trade to send Justin Turner to the Miami Marlins. Bob Nightengale of USA Today wrote that the Chicago White Sox were in serious discussions to acquire All-Star catcher Salvador Perez from the Kansas City Royals. While a strange fit on the surface, Perez would have gone a long way toward improving a poor White Sox clubhouse culture.

Thoughts on the Red Sox’s inactivity at the deadline?

I thought Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic summed this up really well: Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom cannot continue to hedge at the trade deadline.

Especially when his star Rafael Devers publicly declared that his team needs pitching. Sure, the market was not flush with options. The asking prices for the players that were available were astronomically high. But there were realistic options available, and they could have used outfielder Alex Verdugo as a trade chip to acquire a starter.

But the Red Sox traded Enrique Hernandez to the Dodgers for reliever Nick Robertson and minor-league reliever Justin Hagenman. They also acquired infielder Luis Urias in a last-second deal with the Milwaukee Brewers.

None of those deals move the needle and certainly don’t help improve the pitching staff. Once again it was a puzzling deadline for Bloom and the Red Sox.

What were your thoughts on the Mets’ trade deadline and how the Verlander, Scherzer trades unfolded?

I respect that Mets owner Steve Cohen and general manager Billy Eppler had the guts to trade Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer. Not many teams would have admitted a mistake and traded their high-priced players, let alone eat significant cash in both trades, to ensure the maximum prospect haul.

But that’s what Cohen and Eppler did after their $350 million payroll roster underperformed and was clearly going to the postseason. And their long-term future will be better off for it.

Of course, their desire to build for 2025-2026 could complicate matters with star Pete Alonso, who is a free agent after the 2024 season. Does the team entertain trade offers for him in the offseason? What does the team do with other players on expiring contracts after the season? How do they go about free agency, where a New York team — especially one owned by Cohen — is expected to be in the postseason hunt year in and year out?

Those are just a few of the questions that Cohen and Eppler need to answer. But in trading Verlander and Scherzer, as well as Tommy Pham and Mark Canha, they improved their farm system and laid the groundwork toward being competitive in 2025 and beyond. And that work will continue in yet another pivotal offseason in New York, where the team is expected to hire a president of baseball operations, with David Stearns being a prime candidate.

Have your World Series predictions shifted at all since the trade deadline?

I still have the Atlanta Braves and Houston Astros squaring off in the World Series, with the Braves ultimately winning it all.

What did you think of Philly fans giving Trea Turner a standing ovation amid his struggles?

I thought it was one of the coolest things I’ve seen in baseball this year, and further highlighted the misconception of Phillies fans. Can they be tough? Yes. Can they be mean? Of course. They’ll let you know when you’re playing well and they’ll certainly let you know when you’re struggling. But they care a lot and want to see their teams, and their players, do well.

Turner has struggled in the first year of his 11-year, $300 million contract. But to see Philly fans give him a standing ovation, and to see him bounce back in the way that he has … yeah, that’s pretty awesome. It wouldn’t be surprising at all to see him look much more like the Trea Turner we’re all used to seeing for the remainder of this season.

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