With the possible exceptions of the Blue Jays’ J.A. Happ and resurgent Padre Tyson Ross, it doesn’t appear any front-end starters will switch teams prior to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Even though Happ’s amid a fourth straight quality season and Ross has bounced back from major injury troubles, nobody would consider either as aces or players capable of bringing back enormous returns in the coming weeks. The opposite is true in regards to the Mets’ Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard, two elite, controllable starters who have come up in trade speculation as the season has progressed.
With the Mets in the throes of an embarrassing campaign in which they’ve plummeted to 31-43 after an 11-1 start, odds are they’ll be inclined to sell before the deadline. And while they’re reportedly willing to listen to potential offers for everyone on their roster, their front office is divided over whether to actually entertain proposals for either deGrom or Syndergaard. One thing’s clear: Their farm system, which Baseball America ranks as the game’s fourth worst, would stand to benefit significantly if the Mets were to part with one or both of their aces.
Despite the potential long-term gains that would come from a deGrom and/or Syndergaard bidding war among contenders, making either available isn’t an obvious decision for the Mets. If New York’s counting on returning to relevance in the near future, both players would factor prominently into a turnaround, given that they’ll remain under affordable control for a while longer. The 29-year-old deGrom comes with arbitration eligibility through 2020 and Syndergaard, 25, isn’t due for free agency until after 2021. The Mets may elect to retain them, then, hoping that those two and a position player group including Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto, 2018 injury case Yoenis Cespedes, Todd Frazier, struggling youngster Amed Rosario and struggling veteran Jay Bruce help key a return to contention next season.
Part of the reason this has been a disastrous year for the Mets has been the absence of Syndergaard, who went on the disabled list May 29 with a a strained ligament in his right index finger. It’s the second straight year the Mets have had to make do for an extended period sans Syndergaard, who only threw 30 1/3 innings in 2017 on account of a partially torn right lat. Syndergaard’s reportedly progressing in his recovery, though, and his trade value remains immense – as Mets general manager Sandy Alderson suggested when speaking to the media Friday.
“I know how we view him and where he will be once we get him back and I know how the rest of baseball views him,” Alderson said (via Erin Fish of MLB.com). “For that reason I say I know what we have, but at the same time you never say never.”
Along with his “never say never” line, Alderson noted (via David Lennon of Newsday) that the Mets would have to consider offers for their aces if a team comes to them saying, “We’ll give you all of our top-20 prospects.” So, barring an absolutely overwhelming proposal for either deGrom or Syndergaard, it seems the Mets will retain the pair through the season. Should New York do that, though, or would the team be better off trying to bolster its farm system by moving one or both in the next month?
(poll link for app users)