[As I’m making the six-ish hour drive to or from Chicago (I just made it home), I always wonder what storm may have stirred up while I was battling traffic. Usually, not much pops up. Sometimes there’s big news. Sometimes there’s an interesting thing or two that I’m bummed to have missed. And sometimes there are things I’m content to have missed – at least for long enough to allow time to process the information and consider how I wanted to discuss it.]
You may have rightly anticipated that, with the New York Mets in town, chatter about the Mets’ surplus young pitching and the Cubs’ surplus young infield talent – and each team’s attendant needs in the opposite area – would pick up. I don’t blame anyone for discussing it, because the fact remains that, on paper, the two teams are a plausible trade fit. That was true last Summer when these rumors reached a fever pitch, it was true this offseason when whispers remained, and it’s still true today.
The obviousness of the fit – not an actual deal, mind you, but the fit – was acknowledged by Cubs GM Jed Hoyer last night, which spurred a great deal of writing today. You can, and should, read about Hoyer’s comments here, here, here, and here, if you missed any of it. I was not present for Hoyer’s comments, and can go only on what I’ve read, but it looks like there were a range of interpretations on the remarks, from mundane to borderline surprising. Again, having not been there – there’s all kinds of nuance and context that you can’t quite pick up without being physically present, or at least seeing video – I won’t embrace or reject anyone else’s take. I’ll simply suggest that you check out those articles, and then offer my own thoughts.
To my eye, the takeaway is that Hoyer was confirming that, yes, the Cubs and Mets have at least a superficial fit in their needs/assets, and there “have been matches that made sense.” Obviously no deal has been consummated, but the sides will likely speak again.
That’s certainly notable and worth discussing, but I think we should be careful about taking Hoyer’s comments to mean too much more. A sitting GM isn’t going to tell the world that a trade – a specific kind of trade – is definitely coming soon (even if Hoyer alluded to the fact that, at some nebulous point in the future, the organizations could make a trade (because, of course they will at some point in the future)).
But Hoyer didn’t quite say nothing, either. There’s a fit there between these organizations. We’ve known it, externally, for a long time now, and we’ve been inundated by the rumors for almost a year. It’s nice to see Hoyer saying, effectively, yeah, there’s something there beyond mere speculation. Doesn’t mean anything will happen, though.
Long story short: the fit is there, and the rumors will persist. Even the Cubs now acknowledge that something could make sense here.
One tricky aspect of any in-season trade between these two teams? Right now, each projects to be right in the thick of the Wild Card race, if not their own division races. How eager will the teams be to help out a direct competitor come July if it’s clear that each is very much going for a Wild Card spot? I doubt that kills a deal, but it could certainly complicate things.
We’ll see where this story goes. Heck – I don’t even mean over the next few months. I mean over the next few games. Rumors always seem to pop up.
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