Tomorrow. The trade deadline is tomorrow, and the New York Mets need to have their name everywhere. There are a lot of moves to be done, and I think these moves are what the Mets need to do to better themselves for 2019 and beyond.
Do Not Trade Noah Syndergaard
The most important decision that the Mets need to make prior to the deadline is to keep Noah Syndergaard. The 26-year-old right-handed pitcher has been having a down year but has seemed to turn it around, posting a 2.57 ERA to this point in the second-half of the season. He has three years of control left and should be in the Mets plans if they intend to make a run in 2019 or 2020. he is the second-best pitcher on the staff, therefore quite difficult to replace. Given the recent acquisition of Marcus Stroman: if the Mets are trying to contend, they have to keep Noah in that rotation.
Bolster the Bullpen
With a 5.30 ERA, 22.8% strikeout percentage, 10.4% walk rate, and a .320 BABIP, the New York Mets’ bullpen must be improved. There are plenty of options available to address this problem. Zack Wheeler is on the trade block, and he carries a lot of potential value to contending teams. If the Mets decide to trade Wheeler, I expect a return of a major bullpen piece like Will Smith from San Francisco or Kirby Yates from San Diego. All-Star closer Will Smith has been phenomenal for the Giants — posting a 2.72 ERA and 26 saves — but only has one year of team-control remaining. Kirby Yates, while older, has been better than Smith (and just about everyone else) having delivered a 1.02 ERA in 42 games with 72 strikeouts. He is arbitration-eligible in 2020 and will enter free agency in 2021. Wheeler has the value and upside to bring one of these guys in if they decide to go that route. In my opinion, the Mets shouldn’t trade Wheeler, but if it means getting a bullpen piece that will help us make the playoffs, I am more than okay with Seth Lugo sliding back into the rotation to eat innings.
Furthermore, lesser bullpen pieces are available as well, such as Shane Greene and Michael Lorenzen — to name a couple out of a large group. I think that the Mets should target these guys with a piece like Todd Frazier, who has been playing well, along with some smaller minor-league pieces. These players can, and will, be acquired for less than top-end talent, and I think the Mets should jump on these guys. Low- and mid-tier prospects are replaceable, and Todd Frazier is taking away playing time from J.D Davis — who in my opinion should be the everyday third-baseman.
The Mets need bullpen help badly, and making these moves would help solidify their spot as contenders, if not in 2019, then certainly for 2020.
Bolster the Farm System
Having a strong minor league system is key for long-lived success in the major leagues, and while the Mets have good prospects, their system needs improvements. According to MLB.com, the top 17 prospects in the Mets’ farm system are either pitchers or infielders; they lack outfield talent in the minor leagues and they need it, specifically in center-field. While this won’t immediately impact the major-league team, I believe that the Mets should trade some of their pitching and infield prospects for outfield prospects that can make an impact down the road. Young, talented outfielders are all around the Major and Minor Leagues, and by trading for some, the Mets can avoid having a loaded farm of shortstops, and diversify their farm.
By attacking the relief and prospect markets before the Trade Deadline tomorrow, the Mets can certainly put themselves in the best position to contend now, while also finding a way to get themselves in the best spot to compete long term.
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