In a telling article for the Wall Street Journal, Jared Diamond questions the wisdom of the Mets potentially trading some young pitchers to obtain the offense the team desperately needs.
“As the Mets enter the final stretch before the All-Star break and begin to prepare for a crucial off-season,” he writes. “They are wrestling with a question that could define their future: Should they trade any of their young pitchers?”
The question is not that simple to answer.
One must consider the state of the team offensively and determine whether some viable help is on the way through the system and what type of impact that player or players can make in the short and long term views of the team’s future.
The closest player the Mets have to helping the team offensively is Wilmer Flores – a great hitting prospect whose longterm MLB position has yet to be solidified. But he is far from a can’t miss prospect and hasn’t been seen on Baseball America’s Top 100 in three years. In other words, he’s not a sure thing.
Diamond speaks to David Wright and Assistant GM John Ricco, who both realize the importance of building a winning organization through starting pitching, and each look to the San Francisco Giants as a model and evidence that it’s a philosophy steeped in success.
“What I’ve noticed playing against them and following them is they built their team, their organization, around young power arms,” Mets captain David Wright said. “Then you mix in some pieces here and there, and I think that’s what we’re capable of doing.”
The Giants have gone far with a solid rotation despite being basically average offensively or middle-of-the-pack.
The Mets now have strength in numbers when it comes to pitching.
The same cannot be said about their offense.
Ideally, this team needs a shortstop and at least two outfielders in the worst way.
You could also make a case that first and second base are not locked in either.
That’s a lot of different holes to fill and I haven’t even mentioned the catching position which hinges on a highly regarded prospect that hasn’t been able to avoid the disabled list in four straight seasons.
One other thing Diamond mentions is the ticking-clock that is David Wright.
“At age 30, Wright will soon reach the decline portion of his career. They can’t afford to stay too patient if they plan to win during the Wright era.”
That’s why I see the Mets as having no alternative, but to use that pitching strength to make some wise and worthy acquisitions that will get this team on the road to contention sooner rather than later.
And as John Ricco said regarding dealing from strength to bolster the major league team, “Timing is going to be the key.”