Two of the most unlikely trade partners in the New York Mets and Yankees could hook up for an enormous deal before Major League Baseball’s Winter Meetings are over.
Reports late Monday night revealed that both New York clubs, along with the Miami Marlins, are talking about a trade that would send All-Star catcher JT Realmuto to the Mets, a top-tier pitcher to the Yankees and an elite-level youngster or prospect to the Marlins.
Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic added some insight as to what the Yankees might give up, revealing that they are willing to move AL Rookie of the Year runner-up Miguel Andujar to help facilitate the deal.
Initially, Mets right-hander Noah Syndergaard’s name was thrown into the mix despite new general manager Brodie Van Wagenen admitting it would take a boatload to consider giving up the 26-year-old. Seeing Syndergaard move from Queens to the Bronx would be a nightmare for plenty of Mets fans, especially if “Thor” is the missing piece to a Yankees championship puzzle.
It would be a sudden change of heart from the Mets organization, who were unwilling to deal the likes of Neil Walker or Lucas Duda to the Yankees as rentals over the past few seasons. The two teams have not completed a trade since 2004.
Van Wagenen’s apparent willingness to include Syndergaard in these talks, which have lingered since last season, might indicate that the organization has doubts about either his health or future and are looking to sell him a year early rather than a year late, to paraphrase the great Branch Rickey.
However, SNY’s Andy Martino provided some clarity to the situation on Tuesday morning, reporting that the Yankees and Mets are discussing other pitchers as well as Syndergaard. Should the Mets understandably not want to part with the fire-balling Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler would likely be the leading candidate to be shipped to the Bronx.
Almost out of nothing, Wheeler has developed into a prominent arm in the Mets pitching rotation after a monster finish to his 2018 season. After injuries and complications from Tommy John surgery stalled his development for four years, the 28-year-old went 8-1 with a 1.59 ERA in his final in his final 10 starts of the season.
He wouldn’t provide the same kind of flair that Syndergaard provides in terms of star power, but Wheeler offers the promise of bolstering a Yankees rotation that is heading into the 2019 season with Luis Severino, James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, and CC Sabathia. If Wheeler is able to carry over his hot finish from 2018 into next season, the Yankees’ top-three starters still become a pretty imposing group.