The Mets figure to be one of the busiest sellers in the league in the leadup to (and possibly after) the trade deadline, though assistant general manager John Ricco doesn’t believe his team is embarking on a long-term rebuilding effort. “I don’t think we’re looking at a two- or three-year thing,” Ricco told reporters (including Newsday’s Laura Albanese, the New York Post’s Mike Puma, and The Athletic’s Tim Britton) yesterday, noting that the presence of Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard atop the Mets’ rotation allows them to “be competitive really quickly” with the addition of a few more pieces.
There is certainly some room for debate over Ricco’s stance, as the Mets currently have the fewest wins of any NL team and have so many question marks around the roster that a quick turn-around for 2019 may be far-fetched. Puma’s piece makes the argument that the Mets erred last season in assuming that the team could contend again if it avoided injuries, and thus more a more extensive retooling is necessary at this year’s deadline to ensure that 2019 isn’t another lost season.
Beyond just taking inquiries about pending free agents, however, Ricco did say that “you’ve got to be open to maybe moving some guys that are not necessarily just your expiring assets.” In any trade, be it moving free agents or more controllable players, Ricco said the Mets would be looking for players that would be ready to contribute at the Major League level as soon as next season.
It was just a little over a week ago that Ricco said the team would be open to listening for trade offers for deGrom and Syndergaard, at least in the name of due diligence as the Mets try to get the team back on track. In his latest comments, Ricco reiterated that “We’re not out there actively looking to move Jacob or Noah by any stretch,” and that it would take an “overwhelming deal” for either pitcher to be dealt.
That being said, Ricco didn’t close the door on dealing another arm, noting that “Generally, starting pitching is tough to come by, so we know we have a pretty valuable commodity in that regard.” There has been speculation that the Mets are using deGrom and/or Syndergaard as opening salvos in trade talks to aim negotiations towards a deal of Zack Wheeler or Steven Matz. Britton’s piece, available to Athletic subscribers, examines the trade value of the four starting pitchers and argues that trading Matz “may represent the best value move” for the Mets at this time.