Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Sandy Alderson said before the offseason began that the Mets -- coming off a 92-loss season where the team was ravaged by injuries -- were aiming to return to immediate contention in 2018.
Since then, their only player move of note was signing RH reliever Anthony Swarzak to a two-year deal worth $14 million. Prior to signing Swarzak, Alderson tempered expectations, suggesting the team would not add a third baseman (relying on Asdrubal Cabrera instead), would not add a first baseman/outfielder who would block Dominic Smith, and that acquiring a starting pitcher was fourth on his list of three needs. After signing Swarzak, he said the team was not focused on adding additional bullpen help.
The Mets have been expected to add a second baseman and were in talks to acquire Jason Kipnis from the Indians, but those talks have since stalled, reports Marc Carig of Newsday, who noted that he can foresee the Mets' second base acquisition being Jose Reyes.
Every team has question marks, but the Mets have more than most -- whether those questions revolve around injury, ineffectiveness, or both.
As MetsBlog's Matthew Cerrone wrote last week, if the Mets aren't going for it in 2018 -- and based on Alderson's comments and their activity so far this offseason, it certainly seems that they're not -- they should be retooling. One way to do that? Trade Jacob deGrom.
Let me be clear -- I do not want the Mets to trade deGrom. I'd much rather them add pieces around him and aim for serious contention this coming season. But if that isn't happening, it makes sense to cash in on deGrom now. And if they deal deGrom, it should bring a serious prospect haul back, significantly strengthening a farm system that is in the bottom third of the league.
The 29-year old deGrom is under team control through 2020, after which he will be eligible for free agency. If the Mets made him available, he would instantly become the most coveted starting pitcher on the trade market, vaulting above Gerrit Cole (Pirates), Zack Greinke and Patrick Corbin (Diamondbacks), and Michael Fulmer (Tigers).
The Yankees traded the majority of their valuable veteran assets during the 2016 season, adding numerous blue chip prospects to their farm system in the process. The result was 2017 -- which was supposed to be a non-contending year -- turning into a season where they came within one game of the World Series. The Mets can use that strategy on a smaller scale with deGrom.
As we've seen with Matt Harvey, every pitcher is one pitch away from a potentially career-altering injury. And while deGrom has remained largely healthy during his career, he's not immune. If the Mets aren't going to strengthen the roster around deGrom in a major way heading toward next season, the time to cash in on him is now.