Though there were some high-impact players that were available through free agency, including George Springer, Trevor Bauer, J.T. Realmuto and others, it's not hard to argue that the biggest moves of the offseason came in the trade market. There were two of them, to be exact.
First, the Cleveland Indians traded star shortstop Francisco Lindor, as well as Carlos Carrasco, to the New York Mets for infielders Andres Gimenez and Amed Rosario, outfielder Isaiah Greene and pitcher Josh Wolf. Around a month later, the Colorado Rockies traded star third baseman Nolan Arenado and cash considerations to the St. Louis Cardinals in return for five players — infielders Elehuris Montero and Mateo Gil, and pitchers Austin Gomber, Tony Locey and Jake Sommers.
Both deals are hugely impactful for all parties involved, with the immediate emphasis of the trades clearly benefitting two teams for 2021: the Mets and Cardinals. Both teams could justifiably argue that their respective deal was better than the other. But what do experts think?
Longtime MLB writer and Baseball Hall of Famer Jayson Stark put together a survey featuring 32 of the "sharpest baseball people on the continent" and set out to find the answers to a number of questions entering the 2021 season, including a retrospective look at which blockbuster deal was better. It's no surprise that these two trades topped the bill, but which one came out on top?
With 26 points in the survey, Lindor and Carrasco to the Mets was looked at as the deal that made the bigger impact. Arenado to the Cardinals came in second place at 19 points. In both cases, experts thought that the Mets and Cardinals were able to obtain their new stars in relative bargains.
"I love the Carrasco part, too," one expert said. "But even if they didn’t get Carrasco, the Mets got one of the top 10 players in the game — maybe the top five — and what they gave up was very, very replaceable."
"I have no idea what was going on there," another expert said, referring to the Arenado swap. "The Cardinals basically got that guy for nothing. And then the Rockies paid them to take him."
One reason that voters may have docked the Arenado deal some points was because of the potential Coors Field impact that made him such a fearsome slugger, but another voter dismissed that rationale, pointing at DJ LeMahieu's incredible stint with the Yankees as evidence that no one should be worried.
Blake Snell to the Padres, Yu Darvish to the Padres and Andrew Benintendi to the Royals also all got multiple votes.
Whether or not Mets and Cardinals fans will agree to disagree about who won the offseason, there's one thing that both sides can agree on: they both got significantly better and are looking forward to playoff contention in 2021.