In spite of a 44-59 record (and tack on another loss following tonight’s 25-4 defeat at the hands of the Nationals) and a roster facing a significant number of questions, the Mets opted to hang onto a number of notable potential trade pieces at the deadline. New York will retain all of Zack Wheeler, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz and Jacob deGrom rather than take advantage of a pitching-starved market that could have netted them hefty prospect returns.
While the Rays were able to turn Chris Archer into Austin Meadows and Tyler Glasnow today, the Mets will hang onto their talented young arms as they lose another half-season of team control. Tim Healey of Newsday reports that Mickey Callaway had a hand in this decision, pressuring the front office to hang onto Wheeler and the rest of the starting rotation beyond today’s 4pm deadline. “We all just told them the truth about what we felt about Zack Wheeler and who he is and what he’s become and what we think he can be moving forward,” Callaway said. “I think that had a significant impact in the decisions we made and the players we might’ve been looking for to potentially move him.”
Assistant General Manager John Ricco had similar words on the subject, noting that it would have taken “a premium” in order to move any of their starting rotation talent. “We know the talent that we have, specifically on the pitching side,” he said. “We were not going to move those players unless it involved considerable talent coming back in our direction.”
Ricco went on say that the Mets actually considered adding players controllable through 2019 and beyond, though obviously nothing came through on that front. “We were not only given the opportunity, we were asked by ownership to be creative and be open to all possibilities, including those types of impactful trades,” Ricco said. Healey notes that the Mets believe they can contend next season. Ricco believes in the club’s pitching, but acknowledges they need to find “a way to score more runs” and “play better defense”.
It’s not clear what kind of moves the Mets might attempt to make this winter if they’re serious in their attempts to contend in 2019. They’re obviously in a tough division that’s not likely to get any easier with the Phillies and Braves on the rise, and the Nationals unlikely to fade significantly. One has to wonder how the Mets plan to improve their offense to the extent they’d need to in order to climb out of the run-scoring cellar. Then again, perhaps improvements from Michael Conforto and further development of Brandon Nimmo could go a long way, and it’s possible they could be at least a competitive offense if some other things break the right way in addition.