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Does Mets’ sudden deal predict an earlier trade deadline season in MLB?

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Does Mets’ sudden deal predict an earlier trade deadline season in MLB?

In the eyes of rival executives and headhunters, David Stearns and the Mets They were smart to take advantage of a low-price purchase Traded for Tampa Bay reliever Phil Maton on Tuesdaywho, according to scouts, is generally throwing the ball well this year, except for a few bad outings.

For a team trying to hit the trade deadline as a buyer (and with a banged-up bullpen threatening to undermine the entire project), it was important to improve now and not wait until July 30.

“This is their chance to do something, this week against the Nationals and Rockies,” said one rival executive, noting that the Mets’ schedule gets tougher in late July when they face the Yankees, Twins and Braves.

Teams always have needs in early July, and some in the industry were surprised that the Mets found a trade partner to sell to so soon. It helps that this was a small-market team, Tampa, and the Mets were willing to take on the remainder of Maton’s $6.5 million salary immediately, rather than in a few weeks.

Does the agreement and the few smaller transactions that have occurred in the sector preceding it indicate that more transactions will occur in the sector early this year? Maybe we won’t have to wait until the days, hours and minutes leading up to the deadline?

My first impression on this, having covered 16 trade deadlines, is that teams will act as they almost always do, staring each other down until the end of the month. But it was worth asking those in trade talks.

“We’ll find out,” Stearns said. “I think for now (the Maton trade) is probably a bit of a unique circumstance. But we’ll find out. There’s an ongoing debate in the industry right now, there’s no question. Whether that results in a more active trade season in mid-July, I don’t know yet.”

A brief survey of rival executives conducted Tuesday night yielded a nearly uniform response: that some sellers could be ready to negotiate as early as next week.

“What I’m hearing is that the teams that are going to sell, like the Marlins, are focused on the draft, but once that’s over you could see activity,” said one high-ranking executive.

The draft will be held on July 16, a week from now. Next week is also the All-Star break.

“Most general managers have said no until the All-Star break,” another connected evaluator said.

In other words: Stay tuned starting late next week. The question for the Mets will be whether they emerge from the All-Star break close enough to playoff position to continue acting as buyers.

“They’re one of those teams, with Severino and Alonso, that could be successful if they sell,” said one American League executive who has been in contact with the Mets in recent weeks. “But I think they’re going to take a chance and buy.”

For what it’s worth: I think so too, as long as the Mets play at a .500 level in the next few weeks.

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