Throughout the winter, logic suggested the Mets would entertain and eventually deal from their crop of top pitching prospects to acquire a difference-making bat, particularly on the middle infield.
However, such a trade never materialized.
Part of that was Zack Wheeler had a privately known injury to his elbow and was eventually lost for at least a full season. Knowing that limited the number of chips they could move, and would sacrifice much-needed starting pitching depth, something which has proved immediately necessary in their starting rotation.
The team’s strategy has not changed, particularly with both Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz, according to the Daily News’ John Harper, as team insiders said they’re now even less likely to trade either of them going forward.
Part of that, according to Harper, is the Mets prefer to proceed with their plan of having Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz as the future of their starting rotation. They also believe SS prospect Amed Rosario has a bright future, although he is still a couple of years away.
That hasn’t stopped the Mets from being interested in one of the Cubs young prospects, according to Harper of the Daily News.
Sandy Alderson was said to have contacted the Cubs about the availability of Addison Russell, Harper says, as he preferred Russell’s potential over Starlin Castro’s track record.
I had heard some rumblings the Mets made one of their pitching prospects available to teams under the right circumstances this winter. Presumably that meant the Mets could move one of their prizes for someone considered to be a difference maker, such as Russell or Troy Tulowitzki. However, the prices were well beyond just one of their pitching prospects, as I understood it, so nothing ever materialized.
For now, they look wise to retain these pitchers, considering everything that has happened. However, eventually the Mets must find a bat somewhere, and they have to find a way to get better defensively. They are not going to outhit the mistakes and lack of range on the middle infield in particular, even when David Wright eventually gets back and shores up their infield defense.
Harper says the Mets and Cubs could eventually come together on a trade. Cubs President Theo Epstein didn’t discount such a possibility in the future, although he is not motivated to make any hasty moves with his young and promising club.
“If there is, there is. Those things are always easier in internet chat rooms than they are in reality,” Epstein told Mike Vorkunov of the Star Ledger about the rumors and possibility of a deal between the Mets and Cubs.
Meanwhile, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer told Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun Times a deal will, “happen at some point,” between the Mets and Cubs and expects to speak with the Mets in the future.
“We haven’t made a deal yet, but there’s been matches that made sense, and I’m sure we’ll talk to them in the future,” Hoyer told Wittenmyer.
To clarify, Hoyer could simply be suggesting the two clubs matchup well to fit each other’s needs (which they have, do and will continue to do so), and it’s not a surprise at all the Cubs would be interested in the Mets pitching prospects. It’s all about price, for both sides, and whether or not they can eventually agree to terms of a deal. That may or may not happen, considering both sides have assigned extremely high values to their chips.
Wittenmyer believes a deal is more likely to involve Javier Baez, who is playing some shortstop at Triple-A Iowa.
Original Post, 10:42 am, updated 4:45 pm