Those who were preparing to freak out if the New York Mets traded either Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard can relax. At least for right now.
There’s a gust of wind that’s coming from a new direction, and it seems like it’s convinced the New York Mets front office to change their tune on who they’d like to trade this month.
There’s been plenty of virtual ink spilled here and elsewhere about an openness to New York dealing one of their two co-aces in Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard. According to a recent report from Andy Martino of SNY, though, the organization is shifting its focus to investigating trades for Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler instead.
This makes sense or a host of reasons.
First of all, the fans are already frustrated by the precipitous fall the team has taken over the last couple months. So, it’d be really hard to convince them to keep coming to the ballpark if they deal away their best pitcher in deGrom. Even if it’s justified and the Mets received a ginormous hypothetical return, New York would still have to fight that perception.
As for Syndergaard, trading him now would be selling low on him — he’s only thrown 95 innings since the start of 2017. The best-case scenario is getting him back on the mound and finishing this year strong so New York has options over the winter.
On the flip side, trying to leverage Wheeler and Matz in trade talks is the epitome of selling high.
After missing two seasons due to Tommy John surgery and struggling since returning last year, Wheeler has hit his stride recently. He hasn’t won a game in his last seven starts (45 innings pitched), but the young right-hander has posted a 3.20 ERA and 1.11 WHIP with a 21.1 percent strikeout rate and 8.9 percent walk rate.
Matz has also picked things up lately. After posting a 4.98 ERA in April, that number dropped to 2.20 in May and 3.90 in June. His walk rate in June was also down to 6.8 percent after being higher than 10.0 percent the first two months.
Neither hurler is making all that much money ($1.9 million for Wheeler and $577K for Matz) and while Wheeler is only under team control through 2019, Matz won’t become a free agent until the 2021 season is through.
These guys have had their ups and downs in New York, and although the team would likely want to hold onto them in an ideal world, that’s not how trades work. They need to give up something of value in order to make significant improvements.
If New York can make that happen, along with keeping deGrom and Syndergaard in orange and blue, they need to jump at the opportunity.