When Jonathon Niese was briefly sidelined earlier this spring, some said any idea the Mets had of dealing a starting pitcher to fill an area of need would have to be put on hold. I didn’t agree with that assertion, but Niese was almost immediately given a clean bill of health anyway – rendering it moot. While pitchers are brittle and often volatile year to year, what the Mets currently have is an abundance of them.
Feb 28, 2014; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcherRafael Montero
(50) throws against the Washington Nationals in spring training action at Tradition Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports
Looking at 2014 only, the Mets have Jonathon Niese, Bartolo Colon, Zack Wheeler, Dillon Gee, Jenrry Mejia, Daisuke Matsuzaka, John Lannan, Rafael Montero, Jacob deGrom, and Noah Syndergaard on their depth chart.
None of Montero, deGrom, or Syndergaard are likely to join the team until mid-June, but that’s due to there likely being no need for them until then (and because of monetary/team control issues).
When you take a look at 2015, here are the major league ready starting pitchers the Mets should have if they don’t deal anyone: Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Noah Syndergaard, Bartolo Colon, Jonathon Niese, Dillon Gee, Jenrry Mejia, Rafael Montero, Jacob deGrom, and Jeremy Hefner.
There’s always the chance the Mets shift deGrom and possibly Mejia (though that would be foolish) to the bullpen between now and the start of next season. Even if they do, the Mets would still theoretically be eight deep in the rotation heading into 2015.
With an upgrade at shortstop needed in a big way, the Mets should be more than willing to deal from their one true area of strength to acquire a remedy.
The idea of any player being “untouchable” is usually one that is frowned upon by big league executives, but the Mets’ big three – Harvey, Wheeler, and Syndergaard -fit the “untouchable” bill.
However, the Mets don’t have to deal one of their upper echelon starting pitchers in order to acquire a shortstop upgrade. Rather, they can deal from their second tier of prospects (or the middle of their rotation).
While Stephen Drew has been working out alone in Florida, waiting for a big offer that likely won’t come, there has reportedly been dialogue between the Mets and the Mariners about young shortstop Nick Franklin.
Another team that has a surplus of shortstops is Arizona, but they’re reportedly looking for a catching prospect like Travis d’Arnaud in return for either Didi Gregorius or Chris Owings. The Diamondbacks want something the Mets can’t afford to part with, but the Mariners desire young pitching – something the Mets have in droves.
Most believe that if the Mets offer Rafael Montero to the Mariners, they’ll be able to pry Nick Franklin away. Some think they could get a deal done by offering Jacob deGrom and a sweetener (perhaps an arm in the lower minors or a relief prospect who’s closer to the majors) instead. If the Mets are opposed to dealing any of their pitching prospects, they could always dangle an established but relatively young and cost controlled arm such as Dillon Gee.
The Mets shouldn’t deal one of their young starting pitchers for the sake of it. Having “too much pitching” is a good thing. However, if the Mets have a chance to move one of their young starters not named Harvey, Wheeler, or Syndergaard in order to acquire a young, inexpensive shortstop who can potentially be an answer long-term, they should make the move.