Reese Kaplan -- Trading Noah is a "Thor" Subject


One thing Brodie Van Wagenen has done in his tumultuous first season as the Mets’ GM is to keep his cards close to his vest.  No one saw the Familia signing coming.  No one saw the Lowrie signing coming.  No one anticipated the Stroman deal.  The many moving pieces of the Robinson Cano/Edwin Diaz deal were in the news but no one had all of the right facts.  It seems he has closed up some of the media leaks that plagued the previous administration.

While you could fill a novella with the things that have gone wrong with his deals, he is certainly not shy about making moves, and sometimes he goes off in directions none of us would have predicted.  As the 2019 season draw to a close and the club must decide what to do to move the chess pieces forward in 2020, perhaps he will surprise us again by using the exclusive negotiating window to explore a contract extension with Zack Wheeler who has had an up and down season, and thus may not command as much as a free agent that he would have anticipated when the year began.  If he does, that means you go into the 2020 season with Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler, Steven Matz and Marcus Stroman all sewn up. 

Notice I didn’t include Noah Syndergaard in this group as he now opens up a possibility to right some wrongs.  Syndergaard has been a bit vocal about wanting his own person catcher a’a Steve Carlton and Tim McCarver.  I’ll be on board with that when Thor wins 27 games.  Until then, I have this quaint and silly belief that it is the manager who should decide about who is and who is not in the starting lineup on a given day. 

Just as BVW showed no allegiance to Sandy Alderson draft choices, I can’t imagine he’s suddenly going to be overcome with the warm and fuzzies for his big blonde righthander he inherited from the previous regime.  If the price is right, let’s make a deal. 

At the July 31st trade deadline some pundits ventured that the price for Thor would be a top 30 prospect and two other solid pieces.  Although his ERA is significantly higher this year, his strikeouts are pretty much where they’ve always been, and marketable players with two years of financial control remaining who can hit triple digits on the radar gun are not easy to find.  Consequently, I think the price will remain roughly the same. 

If that is the case, are the Mets better off keeping Syndergaard around in the hopes of extending his contract, or extending Wheeler and trading Thor to address other needs?  Mack has gone on record he’s in the second camp.  I can surely see the merit to it as well.  Wheeler would cost less to extend than Syndergaard, trading him can help replenish the upper levels of the minors.

The team to target would be the Astros who know how to develop players and who will likely have a gaping hole in their rotation when Gerrit Cole goes off in quest of his pot of gold.   In addition, they stand to lose number five starter Wade Miley to free agency as well and he’s had a cromulent year that should nearly double his paycheck.  With a pair of $30 million plus starters in the rotation, they obviously need to balance out that moolah somehow and Syndergaard might be a way to do that. 

Now the first obvious get for the NY Mets is Kyle Tucker, a speedy outfielder who has played mostly centerfield in his minor league career and just finished his minor league season with a .266/33/94 and 30 SBs.  He’s a lefty swinger and on a team that already features guys like Michael Conforto, Robinson Cano, Jeff McNeil and Brandon Nimmo who swing from the left side, perhaps that’s less than ideal. 

Another pitch to make would be an even-up or slightly sweetened deal of Thor(+?) for George Springer who is a right handed hitting centerfielder who has a 2017 Silver Slugger already and this year is hitting .294/33/89.  He currently earns $12 million but, like Syndergaard, is not due for free agency until after the 2021 season completes.  Yes, he earns more than Thor, but the incremental difference in salary is miniscule when you consider what you’d be getting in return.  Lest you think there is no way the Astros would do that, remember that Thor’s career ERA is actually better than what both Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke have on the back of their respective baseball cards. 

Whether it’s the Astros or another team, I think you can see from this exercise that trading Syndergaard would either bring back the inexpensive prospects to fill gaps or the veteran talent to do so at only a incremental cost delta.  What do you think – keep Syndergaard and play the QO game with Wheeler?  Try to sign Wheeler and keep Syndergaard for one more year?  Or trade Syndergaard to fill vacancies?


Tom Brennan said...

Before trading Thor, I think they should have treated him like an ace and given him his catcher. If your ERA with catcher X is 2.00 and with better hitting catcher Y, it is 5.00, and he wants catcher X, frankly, he should not have had to ask - they should have come to HIM and suggested it.

It is, after all, all about scoring more runs than the opponent.

Thor was right to bring it up - whoever leaked it was very wrong for doing so.

Personally? I'd keep Thor and Wheeler, and add a few bullpen arms. Wait a year until the Mets' next set of major league starter arms is ready to graduate from the minors....Megill, Szapucki, Smith, Peterson.

If they want to spend on Gerrit Cole AND add some bullpen arms, fine.

Lugo? he has to stay in the pen on this team. Compensate him well, keep him happy.

Tom Brennan said...

Also great to see Marcus Stroman with 2 consecutive great starts.

Mack Ade said...

1. The Mets need another top bat in the lineup.

2. I would attempt to sign Wheels to a new extention. If that couldn't be accomplished, I would offer the QO. I like Zack and he likes being around these guys. (you know where I am going here).

3. Syndy has quickly become Harvey ver2.0 both in attitude and ERA. He also has a high trade value that can get us that bat and stock our AAA/AA team with a ++ SP.

Mike Freire said...

Not many pitchers at Thor's age and with his potential have been dealt and with good reason. Ace quality pitchers are hard to come by and they SHOULD cost an arm and a leg to obtain in any deal. The Mets have a nice rotation with some depth (if they keep Wheeler), so they could afford to deal Thor. But that doesn't mean the team getting him suddenly gets a Walmart discount, IMO.

I like the idea of Houston as a trading partner.....they will have a need and they have a deep farm system. However, they will need to pony up for Thor. Tucker is a nice player, but as you said Reese, he is similar to some of the other players we have and would not be enough by himself.

Springer would be an excellent get and would not get expensive until after Cespedes' deal is off the books (I think). I would be tempted if that were the offer, but I wouldn't add anything more on our end.

Reese Kaplan said...

Being here in Texas there are a number of Astros fans and I bounced the idea of a Springer deal and they turned pale. They were all willing to part with Tucker+. They have a Yordan Alvarez who hit the ground running but he's not CF material.

Anonymous said...

Mixed feelings about Thor, but I'll lead with this:

1) I assume he's a giant pain in the ass and that the Wilpons HATE him. They did not like his comments about deGrom contract and various other items. He's not their kind of guy. And, yeah, the ego is pretty outsized. Not enough reason for ME to trade him, but I don't own the team. To me, to understand the Mets, you have to comprehend ownership. This isn't about Brodie, it's about who he works for.

2) The Mets are in an interesting place. A very good team, with a lot of pieces in place, but not a great team. They are also difficult to upgrade, because so many positions are settled. Losing Wheeler and Noah in the same year is pretty scary. I wouldn't personally pay big money for Wheels, the injury history, the underwhelming production, and mostly just the tainted legacy of giving pitchers big contracts: I'm not a big believer.

3) If Mets move Noah, they should get real talent in return. Have to take a long look at those possibilities. A real "go get it" CF who could hit would fill a hole. I'd continue to put a major, major emphasis on upgrading the pen. And looks like we may need a couple of starting pitchers. To me, the starters are the easiest slots to fill, I'm not spending huge money there.

4) In the meantime, Let's Go Mets! Would love to see them win today, win tomorrow, win the next game -- and let these other teams know they've got to earn it to the very end. Have to hand it to the Brewers. The Mets haven't fallen back so much as that team has surged forward. Cubs, too.


Tom Brennan said...

We're actually set in the outfield next year - we have Cespedes!

You wonder if that is a complete joke - with his healing heels, he may not have been ready for much of 2019.

If his leg injury from his tumble on the Ponderosa heals fully, he ought to be ready for Spring Training.

With Lowrie presumably healthy in 2020, Jeff McNeil, Conforto, Nimmo, and Cespedes would make a dangerous offensive outfield if La Potencia is mostly back to his former self. And a lot better than Lagares/Broxton/Altherr/Gomez.

So why not keep Thor, consider keeping Wheeler or signing an equivalent, and FIX THE BULLPEN. This team, this year, had it had a top 10 bullpen, would be vying with the Braves for the Division title...or at least not too far behind.

Anonymous said...

They might keep Thor. As I pointed out, my feeling is that this is not entirely a baseball decision.

You named a lot of outfielders but not one quality defensive CF.

I'm not against keeping Thor.

But I'm picking up a vibe here.

Consider who might have leaked his "demands" -- Thor "livid" -- and why. Consider, also, over the past decades the amount of times management has bad-mouthed players on their way out the door. The GMs change, but that trait has remained constant. There's some bad blood between ownership and Noah. We shall see what happens.

But me? I'd listen to offers. You might be able to get, say, a high quality arm for the pen who can help right now, and two high prospects who can help in the near-to-mid future.

Or Noah could be a monster in 2020.

Still: the idea of trading him is intriguing if you think team needs to be upgraded, changed, in order to compete at the highest level in baseball. These are not easy decisions.


Tom Brennan said...

Kyle Tucker would sure be something. Him for Syndergaard? Why not.

Mack's Mets © 2012