David Stearns not thinking about trade deadline amid Mets struggles: 'We have a group of players that is determined to play better'

Abbey Mastracco, New York Daily News on

Published in Baseball

NEW YORK — David Stearns knows the Mets don’t look like a playoff-caliber team. The Mets are not naive to the struggles on the field, despite their wildly unpopular narrative about “staying positive” throughout a stretch of play that has seen them fall to fourth place in the National League East with a 7-16 record.

However, the president of baseball operations still believes the roster he constructed will be able to overcome this month to reach the postseason.

“Look, we haven’t played like a playoff team, and that’s the reality,” Stearns said Tuesday during his regular homestand media availability. “That doesn’t mean we won’t, but we’ve got to show it. We have a group of players that is determined to play better.”

The 2024 Mets have been an interesting case study of failure. There isn’t one specific aspect of their game that is torpedoing the season, rather it’s a collection of inconsistencies and a lack of cohesion. One day they hit everything thrown at them, but the pitchers can’t finish hitters. The days when the offense looks the most anemic are the same days when the pitching is lights-out.

“I’m not saying anything revelatory here, we just need to play more consistent baseball in all facets of the game,” Stearns said.

And then, of course, there has been a string of frustrating late-inning losses.

Closer Edwin Diaz, the most expensive closer in the game, has blown four saves this season and has an ERA of 5.40. The Mets anticipated some struggles and adjustments for the right-hander this season considering he sat out all of last year with a knee injury, but they didn’t see these kinds of numbers coming.

If there is any worry, Stearns isn’t showing it.

“I think Edwin is a really good pitcher,” Stearn said. “He’s an elite-level pitcher who is going through a rough patch. I expect him to come out of it and bounce back.”

Of course, it would be tough for the head of baseball ops to publicly denounce his closer, especially since Diaz already publicly admitted his confidence has taken a hit. Stearns and manager Carlos Mendoza are saying the right things while backing their embattled players. But for all of the positive platitudes and emphasis on the belief in his players, he didn’t shy away from talking about the trade deadline. If the Mets continue to play at this pace, he’ll have no choice but to offload players at the trade deadline.


However, Stearns said it’s still too early for him and his team to plan for the July 30 deadline.

“Throughout the month of July, you are preparing for the deadline and having conversations,” Stearns said. “I think every single year takes on a different pace. Every single year takes on a little bit of different character for the deadline, but throughout the month of July, you’re prepared. You also don’t need to make decisions until the end of the month. So we’ll continue to evaluate where we are.”

With two months until the deadline, the Mets aren’t ready to consider a potential trade for star slugger Pete Alonso.

“Nothing has changed with Pete’s situation,” Stearns said. “Our goal on a daily basis is to help Pete succeed as much as he possibly can so that we can win as many games as possible. And that’s where I expect we’ll continue to do.”

Alonso has hit a team-high 12 home runs this season but much like the rest of the Mets offensive core, he’s battled some extreme inconsistencies over the first two months of the season. Francisco Lindor, Brandon Nimmo and Jeff McNeil have as well. This isn’t a core that Stearns put together but he respects their individual accomplishments enough to try to keep them together.

There is an argument to be made that this group hasn’t accomplished much together. They reached the postseason once in 2022 and lost in a wild-card round. Still, he sees eager players fighting to save their season, which reinforces his belief that the team will find a higher level.

How long it’s going to take to reach that level is the question. The Mets have two months to save their season.

“We’ve got to show it,” Stearns said. “I think we’ve got a group of players that is very committed to that goal and that is determined to play better. But until we show it, it’s a reasonable question.”


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