Mets starter Noah Syndergaard and closer Edwin Diaz have come up as potential trade candidates in advance of the July 31 deadline, but general manager Brodie Van Wagenen may have trouble dealing either. Van Wagenen’s difficulty wouldn’t necessarily stem from trying to find a trade partner, but from attempting to sell Mets ownership on a return for one or both right-handers. Van Wagenen doesn’t even want to present a possible Syndergaard or Diaz trade to owners Fred Wilpon and Jeff Wilpon unless he’s confident they’ll sign off on it, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
While the Mets are reportedly “fully intent” on trading Syndergaard, talks haven’t grown so serious that Van Wagenen has gone to the Wilpons yet, per Sherman, who adds moving Syndergaard or Diaz wouldn’t signify the beginning of a rebuild. Instead, the Mets could part with one or both with the intention of immediately improving their roster – one that has stumbled to a 47-55 record in 2019.
As a rookie GM, Van Wagenen inherited Syndergaard – a member of the organization since 2013 – but he’s just a few months from swinging a blockbuster trade that brought Diaz to New York. The goal in acquiring Diaz and expensive second baseman Robinson Cano from the Mariners last offseason was to push the Mets toward contention this year. But the deal hasn’t worked out at all for the Mets, who’ve gotten disappointing contributions from Diaz and Cano and have watched Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn – the top two prospects they gave up – impress with their new organization. The Mets are leery of risking similar embarrassment now in selling Syndergaard or Diaz, Sherman suggests.
Diaz hasn’t been nearly the pitcher he was a year ago, when he turned in a 1.96 ERA with 15.22 K/9, 2.09 BB/9 and an eye-popping 57 saves in 73 1/3 innings, but he remains valuable. Although Diaz has recorded a 4.81 ERA over 39 1/3 innings, a 3.50 FIP with 13.96 K/9, 2.97 BB/9 and 97 mph velocity accompany that bloated figure. He’s also young (25), on a near-minimum salary this season and under control via arbitration for the next three years. It’s understandable the Mets would need a huge return to move him, though their hope of acquiring a comparable or better package for Diaz than they originally gave up for him is likely a pipe dream.
Meantime, it could be an even bigger challenge for Van Wagenen to talk the Wilpons into giving their blessing to a Syndergaard deal. There’s skepticism Fred Wilpon, in particular, wouldn’t “appreciate the quality” of a return for Syndergaard, writes Sherman. He points to what the Rays received last summer for Chris Archer (whom the Pirates got for Tyler Glasnow, Austin Meadows and Shane Baz) as a possible comparable for Syndergaard. However, even a valuable package along those lines may not be enough to convince the Wilpons that it would be OK for Van Wagenen to move the coveted 26-year-old hurler.