COMMENTARY | Now that it looks like the New York Mets may have something special at the top of their rotation for many years to come -- with more young arms on the way -- it's time to have a conversation about what the plans are for the rest of the club.
At this time, the Mets have four proven players in their everyday lineup: third baseman David Wright, the team's best all-around hitter; second baseman Daniel Murphy; catcher John Buck; and right fielder Marlon Byrd. Though you have to be impressed with the early results from Eric Young Jr., and Juan Lagares has had his moments, when it comes to fielding a team of major league players, the Mets don't have much.
They do have young arms, however. It starts with Matt Harvey, the best pitcher in the National League and maybe in all of baseball. Then there's Zack Wheeler, who has only made two starts, and minor league pitchers Rafael Montero and Noah Syndergaard, who will both be part of next month's Futures Game at Citi Field.
At some point, whether it's at the trade deadline or during the offseason, general manager Sandy Alderson is going to have to bring in some everyday players, including at least one stud outfielder. The crop of free agents set to hit the market this winter features some marquee names, but there are age and money factors that certainly must be considered.
That's why Ken Davidoff's column in the New York Post yesterday was intriguing. He mentioned three names: the Miami Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton (23 years old and arbitration eligible), the Colorado Rockies' Carlos Gonzalez (27 years old and signed through 2017), and the Los Angeles Dodgers' Andre Ethier (31 years old and signed through 2017).
Ethier is 31 and he wouldn't come cheap, but the Mets might be able to get the Dodgers to eat some of his $85 million contract. Other than that, the Mets may choose to dabble in free agency, and as Davidoff pointed out in his column, that means names like Shin-Soo Choo, Jacoby Ellsbury, Curtis Granderson, and Hunter Pence. All would be in their 30s and looking for big bucks.
Assuming they go the trade route, the Mets will have to give up something to get something, and you would think that teams would be most interested in Wheeler. Harvey is untouchable.
If a star player is available, someone who could come in and instantly change their offense, then the Mets need to do everything they can to try to get a deal done. The Mets would probably prefer to trade Montero or Syndergaard, but teams might insist on Wheeler.
The Mets would be dealing from a position of strength, but there will be a price attached.
It's a price the Mets will have to pay.
Charles Costello has followed the Mets closely since the rookie years of Darryl Strawberry (1983) and Dwight Gooden (1984). He was a beat reporter assigned to cover the Mets during the 1997 and 1998 seasons.
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