Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |
It's all too easy to manufacture drama in a baseball season, to claim for the sake of a storyline that a particular stretch of games carries meaning.
But in the case of the Mets, these next few weeks are truly pivotal, and could determine the direction of the franchise for years to come.
My understanding is that the team is currently engaged in internal discussions about whether to take offers for Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard. I've been on record calling two friends of mine crazy for suggesting that this is a good idea, and calling on the team to add Manny Machado -- but the purpose of today's column is to provide information, not my opinion.
Mets officials are watching the team, bouncing ideas off one another, and preparing for big decisions in advance of the July 31 trade deadline.
This is a massive shift from the beginning of the season, when the Mets saw themselves as clear playoff contenders. But the reality of this season has forced a different conversation. Now, one idea holds that moving deGrom and/or Syndergaard is the best way to create the quickest rebuild. Mets people have pointed to the Chicago White Sox' Chris Sale trade, which netted a group of top Red Sox prospects, as a model.
So far, the Mets have not discussed deGrom and Syndergaard with other teams in any serious way. And hey, maybe they will start playing well again, and quiet the internal conversation.
But the idea of trading either -- not just in season, but in the case of Syndergaard this winter, if he is able to finish the year healthy -- is no longer ridiculous. And for what it's worth, it seems more possible than signing either to an extension. The Mets and CAA, the agency that represents both players, have never gotten beyond the very preliminary phase of contract talks. With years of control remaining for both, the Mets have conveyed that it makes little sense to sign either now.
If the Mets do make deGrom and Syndergaard available, the Yankees would be an extreme longshot to land them, per multiple league sources. As reported elsewhere, the relationship between the clubs is chilly at best, particularly after failed deals last year for Lucas Duda, Jay Bruce, and Neil Walker led to acrimony. Those wounds have not healed.
As an aside, here's another, less emphasized, point about the rebuilding option: While Mets people would never frame it this way, trading deGrom or Syndergaard would be a tacit admission that Yoenis Cespedes is likely finished as the impact player who arrived in New York in 2015. If you had prime Cespedes, you wouldn't even consider trading your aces, would you?
Another option that the Mets are mulling is to make less dramatic trades, like sending free-agent-to-be Jeurys Familia to a contender. Todd Frazier would fit this category, too, though rivals are mixed at best on his value. As Ken Rosenthal reported Monday, the team is ready to listen.
Deals like this would allow the Mets to retool in the offseason and return in 2019 with deGrom and Syndergaard. And as some Mets people rightly see it, any wild card team with those two pitchers stands a chance to win a World Series, regardless of its flaws.
These are two very different directions: Keep trying with the same basic team, or step back for a few years and rebuild the organization. The Mets have not yet decided which path to travel.
Makes the next few weeks particularly interesting, doesn't it?