Mets are major players in the 2019 trade deadline arms race
By Tim Boyle
The New York Mets may not have any meaningful games left in 2019, but they are major players at this year’s trade deadline.
It’s July which means MLB contenders are searching for the missing pieces to their championship puzzle. For the New York Mets, it’s a time to get involved in this year’s arms race.
Much like the arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War, baseball superpowers are hoping to add some dangerous weapons to their arsenal. Two of this year’s biggest available warheads currently pitch for the Mets.
Zack Wheeler has long been thought of as a trade chip this summer. With an expiring contract at the end of 2019, even if the Mets hope to bring him back, it makes sense to deal him now and get something in return. Noah Syndergaard’s name has also recently appeared in many early trade rumors with several of the best teams in the game vying for his services. At a much lesser level, we also have to look at Jason Vargas as someone teams could look to as a fifth starter option.
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During their recent selling seasons, the Mets haven’t traded starting pitchers away. Mostly, they’ve had veteran position players to deal. This summer could be much different.
Right now, the National League has 12 of its 15 teams still very much alive in the playoff race. Only the Mets, Miami Marlins, and San Francisco Giants look dead. Several American League teams have already made plans for October that don’t involve playing baseball. Few of them have starting pitchers to offer.
There are always surprises at the trade deadline and more names aside from the Mets starters, Madison Bumgarner, Matt Boyd, and Marcus Stroman could become big deadline targets. One epic losing streak could hit a team hard and force them to sell over the next few weeks. The fewer teams who fall out of contention, the better the return they may be able to get in any trade involving one of their starters.
Last year’s trade deadline had a similar storyline without much execution. The two biggest players the Mets unloaded were relief pitcher Jeurys Familia and infielder Asdrubal Cabrera. Although rumors swirled about trades involving Syndergaard and ace Jacob deGrom, the three-headed monster that shared the general manager position at the time never pulled the trigger.
This year is different. I’m doubtful a Syndergaard deal comes to fruition in the coming days, but Wheeler and Vargas should find new homes. Someone will view Wheeler as a number three or four option with Vargas filling in as a cheap alternative for a team on a budget hoping his first-half performance was no fluke.
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It’s never easy to head into the trade deadline with your team ready to sell. For fans, it’s a rerun of 2017 and 2018 all over again except this time around, they appear to hold some of the most sought after weapons a winning team could need.