When the Mets punted on the rest of this season at the trade deadline, they replenished their long-depleted farm system by picking up a bevy of prospects.
The seven-game losing streak that has followed, while ugly, may help them stock up the system with another high-end prospect.
Their 3-2 loss to the Cubs at Citi Field was their seventh defeat in eight games.
But to benefit from the expected losing, they’ll also have to get lucky.
Since the Mets have exceeded the $290 million luxury tax threshold, they can be penalized by having their first pick in the draft knocked down 10 spots, though that pick would be protected if it’s in the top six. In that case, their much-less-valuable second pick would be bumped 10 spots.
Ending up with a top-six pick, however, is not as simple as finishing with one of the worst six records in the majors. Instead, they’ll have to wait for the draft lottery, which was put in place in the last collective bargaining agreement to prevent tanking.
Simply put: The Mets, after this historically disappointing season, will either pick 1-6 or 17-40 next July.
Their loss Tuesday will only incrementally help those odds, but the game was emblematic of what has gone wrong this year.
Carlos Carrasco started after four straight horrendous starts. He entered with a 12.33 ERA in that span, but was fine on Tuesday, giving up two runs in five innings.
But the offense — often an issue this year — went silent after Pete Alonso’s two-run homer in the bottom of the first. It was Alonso’s third homer in two nights, and his 34th of the season.
After Omar Narvaez’s double with two outs in the second inning, however, Cubs starter and former Yankee Jameson Taillon retired the final 16 batters he faced.
The Mets had runners on the corners with two outs in the eighth inning against reliever Julian Merryweather, but Jeff McNeil grounded out.
Carrasco gave up a solo home run to Cody Bellinger in the fourth inning and an RBI double to Yan Gomes in the fifth before Drew Smith allowed a solo homer to Mike Tauchman in the eighth to give the Cubs their first lead of the night, at 3-2.
As far as the lottery next year, all 18 non-playoff teams will be involved and are eligible to win it and get the top overall pick. The teams with the worst three records in the majors will enter the lottery with the best odds in an attempt to prevent complete tanking. The odds of hitting the six-team lottery become progressively worse the higher up the standings a team finishes.
Last year, the first under the CBA, featured some good — and not so good — fortune. On the positive side, the Rangers, who finished with the seventh-worst record, moved up to fourth and the Twins, with the 13th-worst record, selected fifth. The Athletics, Reds and Royals were not as lucky. The A’s, who, along with the Pirates and Nationals, had the best chance to finish with the No. 1 pick, got bumped to the sixth pick.
The Mets entered Tuesday tied with the Pirates for the eighth-worst record in the majors.
Given the state of their roster, which not only is without the traded Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, David Robertson, Mark Canha and Tommy Pham, but also is missing the injured Starling Marte and demoted Brett Baty, there isn’t much hope of a good stretch to come in Queens.
Helping their cause is the fact that the Nationals, who picked second overall in the draft this year, can’t be in the lottery again because teams that don’t receive revenue sharing are prohibited from being in the lottery two straight years.
Regardless of where the Mets pick, just as at the trade deadline this year, they’ll have to select the right player.
It’s something they hope they did when they got Luisangel Acuña, Sean Clifford and Drew Gilbert — among others — in their prospect haul at the deadline.