The New York Mets were heading for a period of sustained success, brimming with the hope of prospects becoming stars. However, the perceived starting point of this era was the pinnacle of its success. Matt Harvey’s drastic drop-off is the key to this downfall. What if they traded him after 2015?
The onset of Matt Harvey‘s thoracic outlet syndrome was the end of his New York Mets success. However, there were rampant rumors linking the dynamic pitcher to the Red Sox. While nothing was ever close, the idea of a trade such as this is very interesting.
If the Mets had traded Harvey for young position players and signed another starter, they would have been more well-off. The 2016 free agent class was impressive, especially in terms of the starting pitching that was available. Some of the premium names on the market were Zach Grineke, David Price, Johnny Cueto, and Jordan Zimmermann, just to name a few.
Since Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard seemed to be the Mets two aces, who would headline their rotation, Harvey could be replaced by a third or fourth starter. At the time, Baseball Prospectus ranked Steven Matz as the #9 prospect overall, after an impressive cameo in 2015.
Some of the names the could have signed were John Lackey, Doug Fister, and J.A. Happ. Lackey signed with the Cubs for 2 years at $32 Million, Fister with the Astros at 1 year for $7 Million, and Happ with the Blue Jays for 3 years at $36 Million. A rotation of DeGrom, Thor, Happ, Matz, and Bartolo Colon with an improved position player corps would be a more balanced squad than the 2015 team.
Many had the idea that Mookie Betts would be the return on Harvey, however, competing clubs would not just give their young talent away. Harvey was an ace with three years of control left, but also a lingering TJ surgery, which he seemed to recover from. The Mets would have gotten a top prospect and a roster player as the framework of the return.
Similar trades to a Harvey deal have occurred since the time period being discussed. Gerrit Cole was traded for three players with upside, but without anyone substantial being included. Chris Sale was traded for a significant return of the Red Sox top prospects a season after the proposed Harvey deals. This past MLB trade deadline, Chris Archer was dealt for once prized prospect Tyler Glasnow and potential star Austin Meadows.
Well, Harvey lies somewhere in between these three in terms of trade value. He is superior to Archer and near the same level as Gerrit Cole, while still being less than Chris Sale. Therefore, he would probably net a significant prospect with another roster player or two of high upside, as well.
The logic behind analyzing the potential trades is that this could have greatly shaped the Mets future. They would have a vastly different outlook than they currently have, that is indisputable. Here are three realistic trade options that the Mets could have considered.