The off-season is couple weeks old and already the Mets have been challenged. New York contacted the Atlanta Braves about the availability of shortstop Andrelton Simmons and was asked to give up either Matt Harvey or Jacob deGrom in return.
Obviously the Mets rejected this idea. Obviously the Mets would never trade their young pitching within the division, especially for player of lesser value. And, obviously this will be reality for the Mets moving forward.
Anyone who deals with the Mets will at least inquire about the availability of some of their pitchers.
The Mets have an exorbitant amount of pitching both at the major league level and in the minors, and with the day looming for the Mets to eventually begin paying some of these guys, the question of whether the Mets can keep this group together will only grow louder.
Harvey is the biggest trade chip the Mets have, and their riskiest. He made a little over $600,000 this past season, a year where he was named NL Comeback Player of the Year. He is arbitration eligible in 2016, and won’t hit the market until 2018. Harvey is going to want to get paid, and the Mets have to consider restructuring his contract through his arbitration years, or risk losing him in 2018.
Harvey has already given the Mets enough headaches. From attending Derek Jeter’s last game at Yankee Stadium, to demanding to pitch while recovering from Tommy John’s surgery, to innings limits, and culminating with his stepping on Terry Collins in the World Series, Harvey is not going to be easy to deal with in three years.
There will be no home team discounts, especially when his agent is none other than Scott Boras, and many believe he is destined to leave once he hits the market. Perhaps the Mets should consider moving him. If not now, then certainly during the 2016 season if the Mets are out of it. Keep in mind, if the Mets get into a bitter contract war with Harvey it makes it even less likely someone will give the Mets a “Yoneis Cespedes” type of hitter in a deal.
In considering the future of Harvey, the Mets have to value the futures of deGrom, Syndergaard and Matz. deGrom is arbitration eligible in 2017. He has been the Mets most consistent pitcher, and certainly hasn’t ruffled feathers the way Harvey has. The Mets likely would never deal deGrom, unless they felt it was impossible to keep him, or valued Harvey more over him.
Sydergaard and Matz are also interesting trade pieces. While Syndergaard is the least likely of the four to ever get dealt, the same can’t be said for Matz. He is very young, only 24-years old, and is making a reasonable salary (a little less than $300,000). Matz still has potential next to his name, and someone might look at his body of work, and project him as a young Cliff Lee with a very friendly contract. Maybe the Mets get a steal and get someone to overpay with a solid bat.
Keep in mind the value of the Mets four starters could also be dictated by the return of Zach Wheeler next summer. If Wheeler comes back and is stronger and has better command than he did before the injury that might make trading Matz or Harvey a little more digestible.
The reality is, nothing is going to happen this off-season on this front. However as the Mets move into 2016 and beyond, the talk about the future of the rotation will only grow louder.