Posted by Ernest Dove at 10:00 AM
Well, after spending the entire offseason, and spring of 2015 with a one track mind, I think I am beginning to head on over to 'the other side' with my thinking.
Over the past year I have remained steadfast in my belief that the Mets should keep all hands (arms) on deck with regard to their 'dream rotation'. Like many other fans, I've been dreaming about a Harvey, deGrom, Wheeler, Matz and Thor rotation for the next 3-5 years. The belief is that you simply can't have enough quality arms. And, with the state of the Mets payroll, I didn't feel it would be right to not take advantage of a rotation full of studs, all cheap, all under team control for the foreseeable future.
And, even after Wheeler went down for the year, Montero seemingly has done the same, and with the Mets not finding any suitors for the likes of Colon, Niese and Gee, I still remained in this belief. As we've seen the past few years in October baseball, there continues to be a stream of stud under age 27 arms dominating the playoffs and leading their teams for victory almost singlehandedly. The Mets seemed prime to be next up in this regard. But people change. Teams change. Season's change. I've changed. At this point in time, I'm ready for something (not that) dramatic. I'm ready for the Mets to get go of the stranglehold they have over Harvey, deGrom, Noah and Matz.
The idea of team controlled studs still remains exciting, but when you think about it, how many pitchers does one team need come playoff time? At most, a solid world series contending team still only really needs 3 to 4 arms in a rotation. We live in an age of pitch counts, caps and limits. And, with seemingly most of this star studded rotation having already gone under the knife, how many of them would you want (or expect to want) pitching 200 innings, and then pitching out of bullpen on any given night during October, giving it absolutely everything they have with their arms to get and keep a W?
But again, my post is not about the Mets 'not needing' 5 strong arms. It's about the Mets needing something else on the 25 man to even make it to the promise land of the playoffs. I've started to become more and more confused about the direction of this team every day. It was my understanding that this team was going to be build around pitching, power and defense. And, usually, I thought such a team would also require a bit of speed as well. However, the Mets have spent the past few seasons signing guys like Chris Young, Curtis Granderson, Michael Cuddyer and John Mayberry Jr. I'm confused by the signings because CY struck out ALOT. Granderson struck out ALOT. Cuddyer was already 36 years old and no longer truly had a position in the field he could play well, and Mayberry Jr was supposed to hit lefties, but........what other value would he even have had that would be a plus, even in a part time role?
Even Bartolo Colon, a man who is here to eat innings for the youngsters, headed into this season with a ballpark that the team decided to move fences in. So why sign a 41 year old to a two year contract, knowing he's a guy who can always be at risk of missing a pitch here and there each night, while moving in the fences and giving opposing teams more room to find the stands?
No, I think I'm mentally ready for the 'unthinkable'. I'm ready for the Mets to trade away one of their prized arms for a bat. And, gun to my head, long story short, I'm going with Noah Syndergaard as the guy. Yes, he throws pure heat. (we have other guys that do that). Yes, he's actually younger than all the other guys. (it shows sometimes in his starts when things are not going his way on the mound). Yes, he appeared to one of the crown jewels of the Sandy Alserson era when he was basically robbed away from the Blue Jays in that Dickey trade. But here's the thing. the Almighty Thor is a righty. Steven Matz is a lefty. Matt Harvey, despite all the social media craze to anoint him a Yankee 3 years in advance, just doesn't seem to be the guy the Mets and their front office would dare trade off. He means too much right now to the team, its fans, and the almighty dollar of merchandise and home game attendance. deGrom has become such a revelation that he may very well be the best and most polished arm the Mets currently have in the rotation, so I don't see him going anywhere either. That just leaves Wheeler, who we all know won't even be around until next summer anyway, so he's going nowhere for the time being.
So again, that leaves one Noah Syndergaard. The hammer, which may need to be given and sacrificed to the people of earth (or an American League if possible) for an UNDER 30 year old all star caliber major league hitter. If Noah is truly a top of the rotation arm, then he should be able to get the Mets a much needed middle of the order bat. Yes, maybe Michael Conforto will be the rookie of year next year; the Mets will convince Cuddyer/Grandy to be a platoon for the good of the team, and Lagares' elbow will magically heal next year. But this is all just too much to be asking for at this point. Especially from a team and its fan base that have been waiting YEARS for change. We can't keep relying on 'kids' to lead this team. Not when they are all on the team playing at the same time. Dilson Herrera would probably still be the Mets everyday 2nd baseman right now, if not for the fact that nobody else on the infield (except Murph) has been hitting. Heck, for all we know, Lagares might have already been shut down for the year if both Cuddyer and Granderson were contributing like 8 figure contract guys are expected to contribute. But, it is what it is. This is the team we have before us. This team is not good enough. This team needs a change. And I've decided its true that you really must give in order to receive.
The reason why Sandy has done such a great job in trades recently is because he had the ok from management to trade off star players for top prospects. This is just not the case anymore. There is literally nobody on the Mets 25 man roster (expect maybe Harvey or deGrom) who would command multiple top 10 prospects from another organization. So, in my opinion, somebody has to go.
Not only that, That somebody (Thor) will also have to be packaged in a deal, along with other top 20 prospects, to land not just one, but possibly two all star players from a struggling team. I don't want to name names because who really knows who wants what these days. I don't know if anyone in the Mets organization has even considered a Braun/Gomez combo if they even did finally give in and trade off one of the Fearsome foursome. I don't know if talent evaluators on Mets are willing to trade top talent for top talent, and call up the Cubs about Addison Russell, or call the Dodgers about Seager ( ok, im naming names :) )
Either way, I think I'm sold. Sold on the fact that the Mets need hitters. More rookies like Conforto and Nimmo will not help the current stud arms immediately win a title during this 3-5 yr window. And the Mets simply don't have a nice track record these days of hitting lightning in a bottle in the free agent market. So it's time to trade star power for star power. The Mets need a playoff contending 2015 and 2016 lineup to go along with a solid pitching staff. Sure, maybe Conforto is a star..... You know what, maybe so is Casey Meisner or Michael Fulmer. If one can contribute quickly, why can't the others be assumed to take the place of a stud arm nicely? At this time, either way, us Mets continues to do nothing but speculate and project. I think we are all tired of doing both of those things. Lets go for playoffs. Let's go for a title. Let's go for a damn winning season.