If the New York Mets are grasping for straws, a positive they can take out of the mess that is the 2018 season is the development of a big three within the starting rotation in Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler.
After years of wondering if the fantastic fivesome of those three, Matt Harvey and Steven Matz would ever work out, there is hope that 3/5 of the group might actually create one of the most imposing rotations in baseball.
There was little question of deGrom, who is a top-three pitcher in baseball this year thanks to his minuscule 1.68 ERA despite an 8-8 record, and Syndergaard being the class of the rotation in recent years.
However, Wheeler has come out of nowhere from erratic right-hander whose status as a major-league pitcher was in question, to one of the best pitchers in baseball during the second half of the season.
In his last 11 starts, after going 2-5 with a 4.85 ERA in his first 14 outings of 2018, Wheeler is 7-0 with a 1.88 ERA. While Syndergaard has faltered in an injury-riddled season, the 28-year-old Georgian has remarkably surpassed Thor as the rotation’s No. 2.
This is something Mets fans should be legitimately excited about.
That is if the trio makes it through the winter together.
The fact of the matter is that the Mets have a ton of holes to fill this offseason if they truly want to fit management’s billing of being a contender in 2019. Not only do they need to get healthy, most notably star left fielder Yoenis Cespedes, but they need a true catcher and another premier bat that can pick up the slack should injuries strike like they normally do. Where that bat plays in the field at this point doesn’t really matter considering almost every player on the roster is expendable.
Why would the Mets trade Noah Syndergaard or Zack Wheeler?
New York currently has the eighth-worst offense in Major League Baseball and is normally put on full blast when they waste one of Jacob deGrom’s many gems this year. The Cy Young candidate has gone 23-straight starts this year allowing three earned runs or fewer but has won only six of them.
Any semblance of a competent offense would have deGrom at 18 or 19 wins, at least. This team would also be contending in a mediocre National League Eastern Division.
Anyone that truly knows the Mets knows that the Wilpons are not going to spend a lot of money which means signing a huge bat in free agency (i.e. Manny Machado, Bryce Harper), is nothing more than a pipe dream. That means the trade market is the only option.
There are some position players that could be used as trade bait, though the organization likely would want to hold on to the likes of Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo and Amed Rosario. That means the organization’s strongest trade assets lies with its starting pitching.
All three arms, deGrom, Syndergaard and Wheeler were mentioned in trade talks leading up to the league’s Jul. 31 non-waiver deadline. However, it was Wheeler that was getting the most attention as a lower-cost option.
With the way he’s ending the 2018 season though, the Mets asking price for him would likely be driven through the roof now, which would allow management to assess if they could get more for either him or Syndergaard. In my opinion, deGrom should be untouchable.
It would be a tough pill for Mets fans to swallow if they were to deal either Syndergaard or Wheeler, but getting an offensive piece to fill a position of need, like catcher J.T. Realmuto from the Miami Marlins could be worth the risk.