A potential blockbuster involving Zack Wheeler, Andrew Miller, and Brett Gardner almost makes too much sense. The New York Mets should consider.
It’s certainly obvious that the New York Mets and cross town rival Yankees don’t often do business together. However, each team has their holes, and could benefit trading with each other.
The Mets lack team speed and a legitimate set up man. The Yankees lack a front of the rotation starter.
Recently, New York Daily News columnist John Harper proposed a scenario where Zack Wheeler, Rafael Montero, and the newly acquired Alejandro De Aza are sent to the Bronx in exchange for Brett Gardner and Andrew Miller. This almost makes too much sense. But does it have any chance of coming to fruition?
The Mets desperately lack team speed, and Gardner would give the Mets a lead off hitter with some pop and a big time stolen base threat. It would also allow Curtis Granderson to slide down in the batting order, providing the middle of the lineup with much needed power. Gardner could also play center field, as the Mets have made it no secret they don’t trust Juan Lagares against right handed pitching.
Miller would instantly become the Mets set up man. He and Jeruys Familia would form an intimidating back end of the bullpen. Given how obvious it was last season that the Mets lacked a solid bridge to their closer, Miller would essentially shorten games for an already star studded pitching staff. He and Gardner are also both under contract for three more seasons.
Wheeler, due to return from Tommy John surgery mid summer, would give the Yankees, a low cost, high upside arm that they desperately lack. Given the cost of starting pitching, and Wheeler being non-arbitration eligible until 2017, the Yankees would be enticed to acquire the young righty, even coming off major elbow surgery.
Montero has potential either as a back end of the rotation arm or bullpen piece. He was hampered by shoulder injuries much of last season, but his young age (25) and upside make him an attractive piece. De Aza, because he’s newly acquired, would have to agree to the trade, as noted by Harper. He’s a serviceable bench piece on almost any roster.
Both teams fill much needed holes and the trade appears pretty even, so this is a slam dunk for both sides, right?
The biggest problem for the Mets is the same problem they’ve had for several years now: the almighty dollar.
While they would be offloading De Aza’a $5.75 million, Gardner and Miller combine to earn $23.5 million next season. Asking the Mets to add approximately $17 million more in payroll shouldn’t be an issue for a team playing in New York, with a current payroll under $107 million. But it is.
Until the Mets can prove their financial troubles are behind them, it’s hard to imagine Sandy Alderson getting approval to pull the trigger on this deal. While Harper opines that Brian Cashman would take the risk, you can’t ever be sure if the consistently frugal Mets will add significant salary.
Harper also makes an excellent point, noting that if Wheeler becomes a star in the Bronx, the trade will haunt the Mets for many years. The backlash that could ensue would not be pretty.
The Mets and Yankees both have glaring needs and could turn to each other for help. Unfortunately, it doesn’t mean it’s going to happen any time soon.