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The Mets Have No Choice But To Trade Syndergaard And Wheeler

The Mets are a .500 team with Syndergaard and Wheeler, so what’s the point of continuing on with the same ole same ole when other options exist…

Brodie Van Wagenen put together what he thought was a pennant contending team during the offseason. While the Mets are not out of the race, there are clearly at least six teams in the National League better than they are.

The popular refrain coming from Van Wagenen and Mets manager, Mickey Callaway, that “We’re only six games out in June” is wearing thin. It has no bite because Jacob deGrom, despite his won-loss record, is pitching as good as he can. And Dominic Smith, Pete Alonso, and Jeff McNeil are hitting as well as they can. Regretfully, there’s no reason to hope anyone else in the dugout will suddenly catch fire, catapulting the Mets into or near first place in the NL East.

Mets: Addition By Subtraction

Zack Wheeler (5-3, 4.61 ERA) is history after this season, even given the remote possibility the Mets will extend a qualifying offer of $19 Million (too rich for the Wilpons) to him, allowing Wheeler instead to pursue the free agent market for 2020.

Noah Syndergaard – ah yes, Thor as he’s been branded. Thor no more though as he carries a very pedestrian 3-4 record with a 4.83 ERA after 13 starts into the middle of June. So much for the Mets next Cy Young winner.

Syndergaard especially has been a thorn in the side of Mets fans for some time now. Blessed with all the talent in the world – where is it? When do we see it on a consistent basis? Yes, with those golden locks blowing in the wind, it’s fun to watch Syndergaard pitch, but too often that’s all we get. It’s not enough.

Brodie Van Wagenen: Man On The Hot Seat

Brodie Van Wagenen has a job to do, and it does not involve the Mets being buyers as the trade season gets fully underway. Because what’s the point of buying another Robinson Cano or Jed Lowrie – a season that ends with 85 wins and a third-place finish? Instead of 81 wins and a fourth place finish behind the Nationals? There’s no difference.

Noah Syndergaard, Starting Pitcher, New York Mets (Photo: New York Daily News)
Noah Syndergaard, Starting Pitcher, New York Mets (Photo: New York Daily News)

Van Wagenen’s task is to add by subtraction while still giving Mets fans the knowledge they will have a better team next year if not even this year as the team sees management is not standing still.

Both Syndergaard and Wheeler can command top-flight Triple-A players who are on the tail-end of their minor league trek. These are players who can finish the season at Syracuse and be ready to join the roster at Spring Training next year.

Who are these players? Don’t ask me, that’s Brodie’s job. Wheeler will be more difficult to deal since he might be nothing more than a rental for the team getting him.

Mets: Give Something To Get Something

This is not trading in the season. It’s addition by subtraction. To get something, you have to give something. Van Wagenen’s big splash as a GM already seems like a decade ago, and if truth be told, those deals are looking more like a ripple in the pond and certainly not a splash.

Zack Wheeler, New York Mets
Zack Wheeler, New York Mets Brad Penner, USA Today Sports

Both Syndergaard and Wheeler are beyond their health issues and easily on track to make 30 or more starts this season. Wheeler has extended into the seventh inning in several of his recent starts, an attractive plus for a team with a subpar bullpen, of which there are several.

With Noah Syndergaard, the main culprit is that spinning slider that remains elusive. Whether it’s mental or something physical in his delivery, Dave Eiland, the Mets pitching coach, has been unable to uncap the tweak that’s needed for Syndergaard to return to form. Or perhaps he has and Syndergaard is not willing to listen. Doesn’t matter. The results keep coming in and they are not good.

Unless you believe in the reincarnation of the 1969 New York Mets, this team is outsized by the bulk of teams in the National League. Take a painful look at the Wild Card standings in the National League if you don’t believe me. Witness the half-dozen teams the Mets need to climb over just to get in as a Wild Card team.

Brodie Van Wagenen – it’s your move. Delight us.

Written by Steve Contursi, Editor, Reflections On Baseball
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4 comments

  1. There’s a pretty big contradiction in this article. You make the point of Wheeler pitching deep into games, and saving bullpen arms. what do the 2019 Mets need more than that?

    1. Good point, John. The Mets do need that from Wheeler, but this is his walk year and several teams need the same thing. His value is higher than it will ever be. Get the return while you can.

    1. The author is a Yankees fan who roots for the Mets to do well. What is often perceived as negativity in my writing about the Mets is really a wish and a prayer I’d like to see them do better.

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