Reese Kaplan -- Should the Dark Knight Be Traded?

Despite the awful spring thus far, let’s assume for a moment that Matt Harvey regains his velocity, pitches injury-free and finishes the season with north of 15 victories and a sub 3.00 ERA….let’s also assume that two of Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman and Zack Wheeler step forward and provide sub 3.50 ERA pitching with good control. 

Now play GM for a moment.  Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Jacob de Grom and Steve Matz are all looking at big paydays over the next few years.  On the position side of the ledger you’re committed to Yoenis Cespedes’ contract, perhaps David Wright’s contract if he finds some magic snake oil to rub on his various ailing parts, but not a whole lot else.  Travis d’Arnaud is under team control but even one monster year wouldn’t push his salary into the stratosphere.  Asdrubal Cabrera is a no-brainer to pick up his $8.5 million option if he approximates what he did last year.  Out in the pen Addison Reed is likely a goner considering where his salary is already.  Jeurys Familia will still be around in the second tier of closer prices. 

It sure looks like the club has a great many holes to fill come 2018.  Everyone seems to be writing in ink the names Amed Rosario and Dom Smith for SS and 1B respectively, but a lot can happen between now and then.  For example, suppose Smith enjoys the warm, dry air in Las Vegas and starts gearing up for home runs instead of making contact which has been his strength thus far.  However, I’ll concede the Mets will likely make those moves for economic reasons and for their pedigree exhibited up until now.

Michael Conforto has more power than does Brandon Nimmo, so you would assume right field is his for the taking.  People have expressed doubts about Nimmo’s ability to play CF at a major league level, but considering that the Mets have endured Curtis Granderson in that role, how much worse could he be?

So let’s get back to the armchair GM exercise…if Harvey has the kind of year I described and they have 4th and 5th starters ready to go, would you trade him and his final year of team control to another club who would then have to shoulder the Scott Boras payday he’ll be seeking for 2019? Remember the old Branch Rickey mantra that it's better to trade someone a year too soon than a year too late.

More importantly, if you did consider moving Harvey in a trade, what type of player would you be looking for in return?  The obvious hole to fill is 3B if Wright continues to struggle with his health.  The next most obvious one would be a centerfielder in the traditional mold who could also function as a leadoff hitter.  The perhaps less obvious move is 2B where they do have Wilmer Flores, T.J. Rivera and Gavin Cecchini as possibilities, but if you could coax another club out of either a speed demon or a slugger in return for Harvey, that position might be up for grabs as well.

Young star players typically don’t get moved in trades that often unless the club is following the model of the Tampa Bay Rays or former Montreal Expos who would routinely use a player until he approached his big payoff, then trade him to replenish the farm.   Getting a Matt Harvey for say $7.5 million in salary for 2018 and first crack at him before he enters free agency would be appealing to pretty much any of the other 29 clubs. 

So have at it – what would be an equitable return for the Dark Knight?  Would you go young star for young star?  Would a package of top five level prospects do it for you?  Would you consider a veteran for whom the salary delta between Harvey’s 2018 paycheck and his own would be negligible?  More importantly, do you target specific need such as CF or 3B, or do you look for the best available package regardless of position.

Sound off!


Thomas Brennan said...

Mookie Betts, anyone?

By the end of 2018, the trio of Molina, Dunn, and Szapucki will appear much closer in the rear view mirror, as will Chris Flexen...so the exit of HARVEY will be much easier to predict.

If Dom Smith falters, there's always...Tim Tebow. Looks like a 1B, right, Mack?

Richard Jones said...

Like any player. It depends on what is being offered. I think you do listen more when you're closer to losing a player via free agency but I wouldn't just be given him away.
If I'm getting a package back like the White Sox got for Sale I would be helping Harvey with the move.

Mike Maar said...

If all happens as described and Harvey establishes his top-of-rotation cred by the end of this year, then the Mets would have to of course look at their roster at that time. (Will they still need a CF, or will something pleasantly surprising happen this year such as a Lagares breakout.)

I think it's pretty likely that the Mets will be interested in young 3B replacements for Wright. I'd be inclined to look for a package of young players, ala the Dickey trade. If that package includes a young 3B, all the better.

Mack Ade said...

Yes, Harvey should be traded, but when?

Marketability is everything and Harvey just doesn't have it right now.

Zozo said...

Trade him for the best package of young prospects you can get. Start rebuilding for the next run and not target any position.
Your definitely not getting a Chris Sale return because I believe he had 3 years remaining on his contract but an RA Dickey return would be just as fine.
So we trade Harvey, Darnaud and Plawecki to the Blue Jays for ?

Richard Herr said...

Or here's one. If they feel comfortable enough with the rest of the pitching staff, and if the package offered is too good to pass up, would the front office have the stones to trade Harvey away on July 31, even if they're in the middle of a pennant race?

Richard Jones said...

I'm very interested in tonight's WBC game. Seth Lugo will be taking on the same all-star caliber lineup for the 2nd time in 5 days. What would a quality start do for his marketability? You can never have to much pitting but can the value of what he can bring back to the Mets in a trade exceed his current value as our 7th starter. His value to us is dependent on an injury or 2 to our rotation. His value to another team could be as a #2 or #3 starter who is low pay and under team control for several years.
What type of return could the Mets get for Lugo and what type of return would it take for the Mets to pull the trigger on such a deal?

Anonymous said...

Is a no brainer, you have to trade Harvey if he has a great year. If he doesn't, no one will want him anyway.

Trade Harvey for a package of prospects. Get a lot cheaper by making Smith the 1B, Flores/Cecchini/TJ the 2B, Rosario the SS and one from Lugo, Gsellman the 5th starter. Do try again to see if you can convince Cespedes to play RF and open up LF for Conforto. Use Nimmo and Lagares for CF.

2018 will bring a log of great players to free agency. Why not Machado for 3B? they are saving like close to 60M. Why not bring in the next franchise player to play along side Cespedes, Conforto, Rosario, Smith?.

Smith, Flores/Cecchini/TJ, Rosario, Machado would be very nice.
Cespedes, Lagares, Conforto is very good too.

Syndergaard, Degrom, Matz, Wheeler, Gsellman/Lugo. How many teams can match that?

The future is bright for the Mets if they are willing to spend in 2018. They can get together a great team to dominate for years into the future.


Eddie Corona said...

Man i remember when Betts and Bogarts might have not been enough for the Dark Knight...
The fact is that no one will be offering a Shelby Miller/Chris sales package for him now...

Most fans will not be happy with the returns but if we could get quality player at any position like we did with the beltran/wheeler deal I think that may be the best we can do...

Too many injuries and loss of velocity plus boras makes for a poor return..

Eddie Corona said...

this front office would trade Harvey any time they feel they are getting a good return... the only one on this team this FO has any concern over is Wright...everyone else is just a asset..

Reese Kaplan said...

I don't think they would entertain offers for Thor or de Grom.

Gary Seagren said...

Would anyone be happy with the trade mentioned on WFAN the other day: Harvey to the Cards for Molina.

Mack Ade said...

why would I trade for a 34 year old catcher that is going to be a free agent at the end of this year and demand at least QO money?


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