The Mets could trade Noah Syndergaard and-or Zack Wheeler by Wednesday’s trade deadline, but they might land at least one immediate rotation replacement in the coming days. Already connected to Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman, the club’s also “on” Diamondbacks left-hander Robbie Ray, per Andy Martino of SNY.tv.
Interest in Stroman and Ray jibes with the notion that the Mets, despite their dreadful 2019, are aiming to contend and not rebuild next season. Whether it would be an ill-advised plan for the prospect-needy Mets is up for debate, but it seems the goal would be to collect a haul for at least Syndergaard (there’s reportedly interest in extending Wheeler) and trade from their farm to acquire Stroman or Ray. Each of those two would bring back less in a deal than Syndergaard, who’s under control for one more year than they are, but they’d hardly come cheap.
There’s little doubt Ray would cost less to land than Stroman, who owns the superior track record. But there’s plenty of value with Ray, a proven mid-rotation starter who’s on an affordable $6.05MM salary now and controllable through arbitration next season. The playoff-contending Diamondbacks might not even give him up, but if they were to send Ray to the Mets, he’d join Jacob deGrom in giving the team two elite strikeout pitchers.
The 27-year-old Ray is obviously much less effective overall than deGrom, but Ray’s nonetheless on his way to a third straight season with a sky-high strikeout rate and a sub-4.00 ERA. Ray has logged a 3.95 ERA/4.27 FIP with 11.85 K/9 through 123 innings. He has, however, walked upward of four batters per nine for the second year in a row, posted a sub-40 percent groundball rate for the second straight campaign and kept up his years-long struggles with home runs.