The New York Mets and general manager Sandy Alderson made a smart move on Tuesday, by trading catcher John Buck and outfielder Marlon Byrd to the Pittsburgh Pirates for infield prospect Dilson Herrera and a player to be named later. Buck and Byrd are two veteran players that have been two of the Mets’ most productive players this season, but they are not a part of the future for the Mets. With a little more than a month left in the season, the Mets are better off letting them go and getting something in return for them.
With MLB‘s top catching prospect, Travis d’Arnaud, having recently been promoted, Buck is nothing more than a backup. While there is some value in having him mentor d’Arnaud for the final month of the season, he is expendable for the final month of the season.
Byrd has been one of the Mets’ best players this season, and Alderson deserves a lot of credit for signing him this offseason and giving him a chance. However, he has more value for the Mets as a trade chip than he would if he were on their roster helping them win mostly meaningless games in September.
As for what the Mets got back for Buck and Byrd, Herrera is the caliber of prospect that would have been enough to get Byrd in a trade at the end of July. To still get a prospect who is arguably one of the top-10 prospects in a strong Pirates’ farm system for a month without Byrd and Buck is a major win.
Herrera is a talented and athletic second baseman who has hit for good average and shown good power this season, despite being young for his level. He will likely be one of the top-10 prospects in the Mets’ farm system this winter, and while he will be in the minors for at least two more full seasons, he has legitimate major league potential.
When all is said and done, the Mets didn’t need Buck and Byrd for the final month of the season, and they didn’t give him away for nothing; they got a prospect with a great skill set and a real chance to play in the big leagues one day. That makes this trade a big win for Alderson and the Mets.