why trading ace pitcher Jacob deGrom for the Angels Mike Trout is the deal to make
The Mets season continues to sputter. The can not score runs. Their offense struggles to even string hits together. The 2018 New York Mets look, at times, old and unathletic. They finished their last home stand batting under .200 for the series.
All of this has led fans, the media, and talk radio to ask what can be done. How do you fix this version of the New York Mets?
A common idea is to trade Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom, and begin the rebuild. He just turned 30 and is under team control through the 2020 season. While he has an ERA under 2.00, along with a WHIP hovering around 1.00, the Mets are 3-8 in his starts this season. deGrom currently leads the National League with a 4.8 WAR, even out pacing Washington Nationals multiple Cy Young award winning pitcher Max Scherzer. Yet the Mets seem unable to win when deGrom pitches.
Where do the New York Mets go from here?
It is pretty clear the Mets need to get younger and more athletic. While Jay Bruce, Todd Frazier and Asdrubal Cabrera would be considered good baseball players throughout their careers, no one is calling them athletes.
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Baseball seems to have been taken over by young athletes. Players that might not be great ‘baseball’ guys, but guys that are great athletes. Aaron Judge comes to mine. During one weekend this season, he struck out more times than Yogi Berra struck out for an entire season. Yet Judge is an athlete that changes the game on the field for the Yankees.
So how can the 2018 New York Mets get younger and more athletic?
The first thing that comes to mind, whether your are a fan, a sports writer or a formerly retired sports talk radio host, is trading Jacob deGrom for the proverbial boat load of prospects.
Listening to offers for deGrom does make sense. After this season, he still has two seasons remaining on his rookie (re: team friendly; see also: affordable) contract. He is also currently the Major League leader in earned run average. His value is at an all time high.
The main issue in trading deGrom to restock is finding a suitable trade partner. A good one third of Major League teams are choosing not to compete this season. These are teams that are trading major league assets to do exactly what the Mets what to do in this situation- restock with younger players.
Teams like the White Sox have spent time trading to get younger players. Trading these prospects away defeats that purpose, and does little to improve their team long term.
The Toronto Blue Jays have some familiar sounding names. Guerrero, Bichette, Biggio. Toronto’s top three prospects are all blue chip guys. All sons of former Major League players.
Toronto cannot compete this season with the Red Sox or the New York Yankees. The Blue Jays have spent time and money and resources drafting, signing and developing those prospects. Trading them for Jacob deGrom does not close the gap between the Blue Jays and the top of their division.
At top of that American League East, of course, are the cross town rivals, New York Yankees. The Yankees trade deadline deals in 2016 of Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman brought back that proverbial ‘boatload’ of prospects, and has refreshed the Yankees team. This has led many in New York pushing the Mets to do the same thing.
The Yankees have some good, young talent. Miguel Andújar, Gleyber Torres, Clint Frazier and Justus Sheffield are all young, good prospect that many teams are targeting come the trade deadline.
The Mets and Yankees discussed deals last year, involving the Mets sending over Jay Bruce and/or Neil Walker. They could not come to terms. If the two teams could not agree on minor deals like that, it is hard to imagine them agreeing to a much larger deal. It is also hard to imagine the Mets ownership would like to see deGrom winning a World Series game for the cross town rivals.
Another thing to consider: there are other starting pitchers available to the Yankees, that would not cost their top prospects. Madison Bumgarner, Lance Lynn and Mike Minor have all been linked to the Yankees already. None of those pitchers are having the season that deGrom is having, but they will not cost as much, either.
Atlanta and Philadelphia are both stocked with top prospects- another reason many feel the Mets need to restock. Again, it is hard to see the Mets making a deal with either team.
So where do the Mets turn?
The Los Angeles Angels
Instead of trading deGrom for prospects, how about the Mets trade for a Major League position player.
How about they trade for THE BEST position player.
This idea sounds absurd to start. The more it is looked at, the more it looks like there is a deal to make, that would benefit both teams long and short term. Let’s take a closer look.
To start, the Mets would have to include a guy like Brandon Nimmo. They might even have to include one of the young pitchers the Mets currently have in the lower minors.
This trade would give the Mets Mike Trout, while they still have a top starting pitcher in Noah Syndergaard under contract though the 2021 season. Adding Trout to the line up with Jay Bruce, Michael Conforto and Yoenis Cespedes would create a very powerful, and deep line up. Mike Trout is easily the best player in the game. Bringing him to New York gives Mets fans the star they have craved for years.
Why the hell would the Angels do this?
The Angels are in a similar spot as the Mets have been the last couple of years. A good team, not a great team. In the American League, both he Yankees and Red Sox could/should win over 100 games. One of those teams will be a wild card team. The Angels play in the same division as the defending World Series champions, the Houston Astros. The Astros could be an even better team this year, having Justin Verlander for the entire year. The Seattle Mariners are having a great start to the season, and are seven and a half ahead of the Angles for second place in the division, as of right now.
The Angels were very active this past off season. They resigned Justin Upton. Acquired Zack Cozart, and second baseman Ian Kinsler. They also won the sweepstakes to sign Japanese two way phenom Shohei Ohtani.
When the Angels signed Ohtani, they knew he already had a grade one tear on his ulnar collateral ligament of his pitching elbow. Now, he is on the disabled list with a new grade two tear of the same ligament. Ohtani is currently undergoing treatment, and will be reevaluated in a few weeks. Tommy John surgery has not been recommend yet. If he does need surgery, Ohtani will most likely miss all of the 2019 season.
Mike Trout is signed through the 2020 season. If Ohtani misses all of 2019, the two players will only have a year playing together, before Trout is a free agent. The window for the Angels to win with Mike Trout is closing. Fast. The Angels have yet to capitalize on having the best player in the league, and their rotation has been a consistent struggle.
Adding Jacob deGrom stabilizes that rotation. Pair him with Ohtani in 2020, and you have a really solid one-two punch. It also takes away the pressure of Ohtani needing to go out every five to six days to pitch.
What about the fans?
Another benefit of moving Mike Trout for Jacob deGrom is the money the Angels will save Trout makes over $34 million a year in 2019 and 2020. They can take this money, and reinvest it in the ball club.
Albert Pujols is owed over $87 million. His contract has been a real hindrance on the Angels. Getting rid of him would open playing time for younger, more affordable players.
If the Angels really wanted to show their fan base they were ready to compete at the highest levels, they would use that money on the impeding free agent class. Top players like Bryce Harper and Manny Machado will be free agents, and are likely to receive massive paydays. Paydays in the neighborhood of Trout’s current deal.
If the Angels pulled of this trade, and were aggressive in free agency, they could add deGrom, and say Bryce Harper. They could go from having the best player in the game, to having a top five pitcher AND a top five position player. All without adding much payroll. This would completely remake their team, bringing them closer to the Houston Astros.
The fans in Anaheim will be upset with Mike Trout leaving. If the Angels were able to two of the best players in the game, the fans would get over their anger pretty quick. Also to note, when thinking of the fans, Mike Trout is having one of the best seasons ever. Of all time. Yet he is third over all in All-Star votes. Maybe the fans in Los Angeles are not appreciating how great Trout really is. Maybe a clean start is best for everyone.
Jacob deGrom for Mike Trout might not be a deal the Mets and Angels could work out for the trade deadline. There are a lot of things to consider on both sides. If this trade were to happen, it would benefit both clubs, an push them to the front of their respective divisions.
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