The Mets will be selling pieces within the next two weeks, with names including Addison Reed, Jay Bruce, Lucas Duda, and Curtis Granderson. While those are no-brainers, one idea being floated around is trading Jacob deGrom.
The idea itself is bold and one that would require a lot of consideration from the front office. Since entering the league in 2014, deGrom has the fifth lowest ERA (2.89) in baseball among qualified starters. The four people ahead of him are Max Scherzer, Zack Greinke, Jake Arrieta, and Clayton Kershaw. deGrom is under control until his age 33 season, essentially giving any team a chance to hang onto him for the prime of his career.
At this point, some of you might be wondering why we should even consider trading one of the best pitchers in baseball.
The issue with the Mets is that they will have lots of holes to fill on the roster this coming offseason. Their third base situation is undesirable and the free agent market is not too pretty. Mike Moustakas is far and away the best option on the market but he is a flawed player himself. His OBP is currently .304, but is hitting for as much power as anyone with 25 home runs and 16 doubles, accounting for a .553 SLG%. He has shown some pop before but he has already set a new career high in home runs this season and is on pace for 40+ home runs.
The question is, is this a new found power stroke or is it an average power hitter who had some really good weeks? Regardless of what the answer is, he’s likely going to get $100 million on the free agent market, so is he really worth the gamble?
Cain is the one that would make sense on defense other than Lagares. The difference is Cain is a proven offensive threat as well. His age is concerning, though, and will also likely fetch a big contract in free agency.
What do these two positions have to do with trading Jacob deGrom? Well lets look at the Houston Astros who have expressed interest in adding the righty. They have the best team in the A.L. and are running away with their division. Their team has flaws, though, mainly in the rotation.
They have a very good farm system and a young but not fully developed third baseman, Alex Bregman. The Astros have Marwin Gonzalez and Yulieski Gurriel, who could play third base if they traded Bregman for a deGrom like pitcher.
They also have Kyle Tucker, a 20-year-old outfielder in Double-A who was the fifth overall pick in 2015. Tucker is slashing .294/.371/.551 to go along with 19 steals and 17 home runs over two minor league levels. He’s one of the youngest currently in Double-A and he has a .301/.360/.548 slash line. He has a smooth and quick swing with phenomenal plate discipline. Him, Michael Conforto, and Yoenis Cespedes could form an elite outfield as soon as next year.
Another potential target is Forrest Whitley. Whitley was the 17th pick in last years draft and the 19-year-old is already pitching in advanced A-ball. He currently has a 91:23 K-to-BB ratio in the minors with a 2.32 ERA over 62 inning pitching for two levels. He has great stuff and shown good command for someone that young.
The Mets could also look to add Jerry Blevins and/or Addison Reed to the deal in order to get more pieces back in return.
It would be a tough decision for the Mets to make but trading deGrom does have it’s value. They could add a young third baseman, a young power-speed outfielder, and/or a fast rising pitching prospect.
The Mets would have to sign a starting pitcher or two if they did deal deGrom, something they likely would have had to do regardless. Without deGrom, though, the Mets rotation would remain strong with names like Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, Seth Lugo, and Zack Wheeler. Should the Mets deal from a strength to address more than one weakness? Or should they hold on to one of the best pitchers in baseball?
Thoughts From Logan Barer
The last thing we want to see is another Tom Seaver situation, however this idea is tough to keep out of my mind. While names like Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa have better rings to them, Alex Bregman is someone who could end up being close to their level. He has been a highly-touted prospect for a long time, but the most important thing about him is that he is a Gold Glove-caliber defender at third base.
If the Mets were to trade deGrom to the Astros, the deal would have to have Bregman in the return among plenty of other players. deGrom is one of the best pitchers in baseball, and Sandy Alderson has experience in that area. In the offseason following R.A. Dickey‘s Cy Young season, Alderson traded him for Travis d’Arnaud, Noah Syndergaard, Wuilmer Becerra, and John Buck who was traded to Pittsburgh for Dilson Herrera, who in turn was traded for Jay Bruce.
Sandy Alderson has a good track record with trading players at the right time. Should he choose to trade deGrom this July, I’m confident in his ability to bring in a massive haul. In all likelihood, the Astros would overpay considering their need for a solid starting pitcher as well as their World Series trajectory.
This is certainly shaping up to be an interesting trade deadline.