A King's Ransom necessary to acquire the Aces from Queens
The New York Mets got off to one of the hottest starts in the entire MLB at the beginning of the 2017-18 season, but have rapidly cooled off. They now find themselves in the basement of the NL East, just four games ahead of the Miami Marlins, and 10 games back of the first-place Atlanta Braves.
69 games into the season, they have a 31-38 record, and are one of the worst offensive teams in the entire league. They are the 28th ranked team in terms of batting average with a team average of .229. They find themselves in the bottom-third of the league in terms of Home Runs, RBIs, OBP, and nearly every-single offensive category. Their pitching staff has been pretty mediocre, but has a couple bright spots. The mediocrity lies in the fact that they currently ranked 17th in team ERA with an ERA of 4.05, they rank 20th in BAA (batting average against) with .251 BAA, and they rank 17th in Quality Starts, having turned in 34 of them to this point.
Those bright spots though, they shine brighter than the sun at noon in the middle of July. Jacob deGrom, one of the two aces that sit atop the Mets rotation, leads the MLB in ERA at 1.51 and has been absolutely spectacular all season. He has compiled 120 strikeouts in 95.1 innings while holding opposing hitters to a measly .204 batting average. 11 of deGrom’s 15 starts have been quality starts, which is the sixth-best in the MLB. Despite those 11 quality starts in 15 games, he is only 5-2. That means that the Mets, who, as I mentioned earlier, are offensively inept, can’t get him any run support. During the games deGrom starts, the Mets score an average of 4.7 runs. Before his last start on June 18, in his last 10 starts, he pitched to the tune of a 0.87 ERA, but the Mets went 2-8 in those games. Per ESPN Stats & Info, deGrom has seven starts in which he allowed one or less runs, and his team lost, the most in a single season since 1893, and it’s June 19.
Not only does the Mets rotation included deGrom, who has a chance to win the Cy Young award, but they also have to young aces in Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz. Syndergaard has pitched to the tune of a 3.06 ERA and a 4-1 record in 11 starts so far this season. He is currently on the disabled list with a strained ligament in his right index finger, but should be back sometime in July. Syndergaard has never thrown more than 200 innings in a season, but when he has pitched, he has been as dominant as anyone in the game. Matz is much more unproven than Syndergaard, but so far this season he sports a 3.31 ERA and a 3-4 record. All three of those starters have the potential to be mainstays in the front of any rotation, and could certainly get a massive return on the trade market.
Now, coming into this season, it was hard to imagine that any of those starting pitchers would be available, as it seemed like the Mets were in a solid position to contend, but they have slid so far down the standings that they are not forced to consider moving a couple pieces and starting to rebuild. By no means do they have to trade anyone, but it might be smart to consider it at this point.
The Mets currently have one of the worst farm systems in the entire league at the moment, and trading even just one of those star pitchers could revamp the top of that system, and get some talent in return that has superstar potential in the league. There are several teams that seem like good, logical fits, but unfortunately, they may also get the best package from their crosstown rival.
The New York Yankees are a team that is in desperate need of quality starting pitching, as the majority of their starting rotation is mediocre, and having either deGrom or Syndergaard behind Luis Severino would be deadly, and damn-near unbeatable. While the Yankees are short on high-quality starting pitching, they have a surplus of young, powerful hitters. The Brewers have a surplus of outfielders and adding a high-end pitcher could put them over the top. The team that would be a sneaky trade fit is the Colorado Rockies, who sport the 29th ranked ERA in the MLB, and have a potent offense. They are currently below .500, but the race for the NL West crown is so close that it could all flip in just a week.
Whoever the Mets do decide to do business with, if they decide to do business at all with their frontline starters, they will need a king’s ransom in return. The old dream of their starting rotation containing five aces is already out the window, as Matt Harvey was sent to Cincinnati after burning several bridges in New York. Syndergaard and deGrom could very well be the next dominoes to fall, and Zack Wheeler or Steven Matz could fetch a solid return as well. The trade deadline is on July 31, so the Mets still have plenty of time before making a decision on whether to try and retool in the offseason or to jumpstart the rebuild by trading their prized pitchers. Nothing is imminent, but it is definitely something to keep an eye on.