New York Mets: Two blockbuster trades to make this summer
By Staff Writer
It’s time for the New York Mets to get creative at this year’s trade deadline. It starts with a pair of blockbuster deals involving Noah Syndergaard and Brandon Nimmo.
As we approach the 90 game mark and the All-Star break here in 2019, the great experiment of hiring a former MLB player agent to be the New York Mets general manager has not gone well. Neither has the hiring of a former pitching coach with no prior managerial experience.
Neither Brodie Van Wagenen nor manager Mickey Callaway has performed up to expectations when it has come to either acquiring the right talent to fill up the Mets roster nor when it has come to managing this team effectively during a myriad of in-game situations. As a result, this team sits at a disappointing 10 games under .500 at the All-Star break.
What is even more disturbing is there doesn’t seem to be much positive hope to build towards for 2020, as there are still many large contracts this club will have to pay going forward. You have the likes of Yoenis Cespedes still due $29.5 million next season, Jacob deGrom set to collect $25 million in 2020 and Robinson Cano owed $24 million next season.
Let’s not also forget the young Mets players on this roster who have not earned much over the past few seasons who will be due for pay raises come 2020 in arbitration. Aside from owing a combined $33 million in salaries to the likes of Jeurys Familia, Wilson Ramos and Jed Lowrie next year, the Mets can expect to increase their payroll by a combined $10 to $12 million more with Steven Matz, Michael Conforto and Noah Syndergaard all expected to earn more via salary arbitration increases.
This is roughly $98 million in payroll salary going to the nine players mentioned above. Out of these nine players mentioned above, only Jacob deGrom and Michael Conforto have really justified earning the salaries they will going forward. Keep in mind, there will still be 16 more roster spots next season to be taken care of financially for the Mets also.
Yep, this is the definition of a real mess. But what can the Mets do to rid themselves of their current dilemma?
One current solution would be to trade a few of their expiring player contracts by the July 31st trade deadline for low-level minor league talent and hope for the best by 2023, as these new youngsters come through the farm system. Okay. That’s fine. But nothing to hold your breath for come 2020.
Another solution would be to just ride out the bad contracts of Yoenis Cespedes, Jed Lowrie, Wilson Ramos and Justin Wilson in 2020 and get ready to spend again on free agents during the Winter of that year for the upcoming 2021 season.
While this is definitely plausible, the Mets will basically be resigning to the fact that next year will result in another low 70 win team not competing for much. I don’t know if the Wilpons will have enough patience with manager Mickey Callaway to keep him on board for any longer if that ends up being the case.
Brodie Van Wagenen will also be on the “hot seat” by this point in time too if another sub-par season under his belt becomes the situation.
So what can the Mets do to restore both excitement and hope to their fan base for both the short-term and the long-term?
I think Brodie Van Wagenen has got to shake things up big time during this current trade deadline and make some splashes as a seller. This team still has some young pieces that can help other playoff contending teams go far in the post season. Losing some of the players I mention below shouldn’t be too detrimental to the Mets should fortunes turn around for them in 2020.
Trade Number One
Call up New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and offer Noah Syndergaard, Thomas Szapucki, Robert Gsellman, Robinson Cano and $40 million in Cano future salary in exchange for Jordan Montgomery, Clint Frazier, and Miguel Andujar.
The Mets could kill two birds with one stone with this trade – getting rid of that albatross of Cano’s contract as well as picking up potential every day cost controlled starters who can have an immediate impact on this team by next season.
Clint Frazier and Miguel Andujar (when healthy) can add a lot of pop to this already strong lineup and allow the likes of Jeff McNeil to start every day at 2B if Cano should be dealt away. Andujar would take over as the new everyday 3B for the Mets while Frazier can play left field.
Jordan Mongomery was very effective as a 4th starter before he went down with a torn UCL in his left elbow as well and can be a solid rotation piece should Syndergaard and Wheeler both depart this off season.
Trade Number Two
Give the Oakland Athletics a ring and offer Brandon Nimmo and Gavin Cecchini for starting pitcher Daniel Mengden and reliever Yusmeiro Petit.
The Oakland A’s have suffered a plethora of injuries to their young and upcoming starting pitchers here in 2019, but have plans to see a majority of them come back strong late this season and in 2020. This leaves the likes of fourth-year pitcher Daniel Mengden and veteran reliever Yusmeiro Petit open for trade.
Mengden has shown his ability to pitch effectively as a starter over the past few seasons with the A’s as well as someone who can be used out of the bullpen in long relief. In the first half of 2018, Mengden put up a superb stretch of 10 starts for Oakland where he went 6-2 with a 2.35 ERA from mid-May to late June. He currently finished his last five starts before the 2019 All-Star break going 4-0 with a 4.36 ERA for the Athletics.
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Mengden can throw four effective breaking pitches, including a 12-6 curveball and a slider that can drop off the table after appearing to go right over the plate. Pairing him with the likes of a Jordan Montgomery would potentially increase the Mets pitching rotation to the level they were at in 2016.
Nimmo would be a useful piece who could start right away when healthy in right field for the A’s, as Chad Pinder has been disappointing for them to say the least so far. A good contact hitter with a high OBP potential batter in Nimmo would be just what Billy Beane would desire in his starting line up every day.
Setting up a trade involving Dominic Smith is another avenue the Mets should explore before the end of this current trade deadline. With Pete Alonso pretty much locked in at first base for the next decade and having a combo of Clint Frazier and Conforto and/or Cespedes playing the corner outfield positions in 2020, Smith can be used as a trade asset to bring back a solid relief pitcher or a decent Double-A prospect in the Mets third major potential trade deadline exchange.
I strongly believe a combination of these three moves combined with the trading away of Jason Vargas and Todd Frazier to bolster our farm system a bit is just what the Mets need to go from laughing stock to potential contender again by 2020-21.
Can you imagine a young, cost-controlled and talented core consisting of Conforto, Frazier, Rosario, Andujar, McNeil, and Alonso starting every day in your lineup? The Mets offense could be a top five offense every year for the next seven to eight years with that core batting.
And adding two young promising arms in Montgomery and Mengden to an already solid rotation of deGrom, Matz and hopefully, Wheeler (if we re-sign him) should keep this team in ball games for the majority of 2020 and beyond. Add just a few more bullpen arms this offseason and Brodie Van Wagenen can go from futile to looking like a shrewd GM real fast in the eyes of Mets fans.
In my opinion, this is the best way for the Mets to pivot quickly and get back to being taken seriously in the National League East as a contender.
Let’s hope Brodie can muster up the same amount of courage and bravado he had when he let our star prospects go to Seattle in a questionable Diaz/Cano trade and be willing to let go of established talent this time around for the long term health and success of the Mets franchise for 2020 and beyond.
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Only then, I believe, a true turn around story can start to take shape.