A day after Sandy Alderson announced he was taking a leave of absence due to the recurrence of cancer, John Ricco, one of three interim GMs for the Mets, was asked specifically if Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard would be dealt before the trade deadline.
“Those are two huge pieces for us,” Ricco said. “And we’ll have to consider it…. For me, everything has to be on the table, but you gotta look long and hard before you move game-changing, top of the rotation pitchers like that.”
The next day, buzz began circulating that the Mets and Yankees were discussing a potential deal for deGrom. And while the Mets declined to confirm, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman confirmed the rumors and admitted he has been in contact with Omar Minaya, also one of the newly minted interim GMs for the Mets.
“I’ll stay in touch with the Mets as well as everybody throughout,” Cashman said. “There’s no full-court press I can do. It’s a dance that anybody is willing to do with you. Each team has their own process, their own time frame and their own interest. The hope is we can, like any trade deadline, find the right song that we can both dance to.”
It’s important to note that just because the Mets are listening to offers for their two top right-handers it doesn’t mean that one or both will be assuredly dealt. And from what I’m hearing it will take a pretty big haul to acquire either one. But it’s pretty clear that if a team steps up to the plate and gives the Mets what they’re looking for, deGrom or Syndergaard are as good as gone. Nobody is disputing that both of them are available.
SNY’s Andy Martino reported that the Mets have abruptly changed course and that deGrom and Syndergaard are no longer available and that instead they prefer to trade Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler, both of whom are riding turnarounds to what started as less than optimal seasons. Matz and Wheeler have seen their stock rise over the last 4-5 weeks.
“No moves are imminent, according to people involved in the process. But when other teams call, they are hearing that deGrom and even Syndergaard are not really available,” Martino writes.
“A few weeks ago, Mets people expressed an openness to trading deGrom and/or Syndergaard as a way to facilitate a quick rebuild. The vibe has since shifted considerably, and the team expects to hold onto both at least until the end of the season.”
I always get a little leery every time I see such a dramatic shift in strategy and messaging. What could have spurred such a drastic reversal in the space of six days?
Fred and Jeff Wilpon.
That dastardly duo of chaos and mayhem are at it again, continuing with their incredibly intrusive and meddlesome ways. Their super-inflated egos have led to countless fruitless decisions that have backfired dramatically for the organization and cast the team in a bad and often comical light.
I know of no other owners in baseball that have done more harm for their team than the Wilpons. They always operate covertly and wield their authority in the shadows so that when things don’t work out they hang their general managers out to dry, as they often did with Omar Minaya and Sandy Alderson.
Minaya caught hell for that Jason Bay deal, for firing Willie Randolph at 3 AM, and all those terrible under-slot draft picks. But time would tell that it was Fred and Jeff Wilpon driving those decisions. It later came out that the Wilpons wanted a big name slugger for their new ballpark, had immense resentment for Randolph over comments he made about race, and they were beholden to Bud Selig’s slotting guidelines intended to minimize signing bonuses. That last part really killed the organization for many years as Minaya was forced to pass on elite talent who were looking for more than the Mets were willing to offer.
Jeff Wilpon was also the catalyst behind that 8-year, $138 million dollar deal to David Wright. In fact, Jeff was with Wright in his Virginia home, while Sandy was 2,000 miles away at the Winter Meetings when Wright signed the dotted line. And Alderson was just as wary as every other GM in the game about giving Yoenis Cespedes a multi-year deal, knowing full well that he had bad legs. That 4-year, $110 million dollar deal Cespedes got was pushed hard by Jeff himself.
So yes, I firmly believe that the Wilpons have leaned heavily on their three-pronged GM over the last 48 hours, and hammered home their edict that deGrom and Syndergaard are off the table and virtually untouchable.
Honestly, I never wanted to trade deGrom or Syndergaard anyway. That’s the type of franchise-altering move that can set us back for a decade or longer if the prospects we get don’t pan out. No thanks. So in this particular case I’m okay with the result of this overt meddling by our owners.
But that’s not the point…
The point is that no matter how many times we hit the reset button and bring in a new general manager and front office, the Wilpons will always be there, hovering over the Mets like a black cloud and punishing the team with their incessant meddlesome ways.