While the Braves have been looking about for a higher-end pitcher, this one didn’t really look available… until this week.
According to a report yesterday by Jon Heyman, the New York Mets are now mulling the idea of trading starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard. Given how few actually contenders that are interested in adding premium talent this Fall, it would seem likely that the Atlanta Braves are making inquiries along with the rest:
On the surface, it would seem that Syndergaard – ‘Thor’ – would be an ideal pitcher to pursue.
- He’s barely 26
- Close to 4 years experience in the majors
- Averages well over a strikeout per inning
- Roughly 5:1 K-to-BB ratio
- Never had an ERA above 3.24
- Low mileage: 518 major league innings
- Under team control for the next 3 seasons
He’s had some injury history, but like James Paxton, the injuries are varied… nothing that sounds ‘chronic’ at this point:
Among his many maladies, Syndergaard has not had to undergo ‘Tommy John‘ surgery. So there’s that. Of course there are those who might believe that just the act of getting him out of New York and into a different uniform might be enough to heal him.
So he’s really good – nearly ‘ace’ material if he can stay on the mound – and there’s definitely reasons to want him in the Braves’ rotation.
But here’s the trick… do the teams actually match up for a possible deal?
The Mets’ Needs
“If they can fill multiple holes with real impact”. That’s a phrase which likely has a meaning quite similar to how Seattle just characterized the idea of trading one of their young studs:
Yeah – the Mets would have to be blown away, too.
Here’s the biggest problem in trying to engineer a trade with the Mets: they have pitching and pitching is what the Braves would want to deal more than anything else.
Beyond that, there are these factors:
- New Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen doesn’t want to blow his first deal – particularly if it ends up being a trade of this significance
- He’s also desperately trying not to do a tear-down rebuild since the Mets seem to think they have enough piece-parts to compete (but read down 2 more lines)
- The whole intra-divisional-trade thing
- The actual needs of the Mets right now: bullpen closer, center field, second base, shortstop, catcher, and maybe first base.
But let’s humor the subject a bit more here: obviously they aren’t going to fill all holes with impact players from a single trade, right?
In the current state of the market, New York could:
- Obtain a 2nd baseman fairly easily. There are multiple good options.
- Obtain a veteran catcher. There are several hanging around, and they aren’t getting Realmuto from Miami. Brian McCann, Chirinos, Lucroy, Maldonado, Mesoraco, Stewart, Wieters, Ellis, Lobaton… there are several
- Center field is a bit more difficult – there are few ‘impact’ players available in their price range.
- Shortstop – this is difficult: there’s a lot of ‘fill-in’ guys, but not many everyday options.
- Closers – Maybe a trade? Craig Kimbrel isn’t going to the Mets, that much is certain.
Does this help?
But let’s look a level deeper into the Mets’ possible plans. Here’s Ken Rosenthal from November 18th, as quoted by MLB Trade Rumors:
Rather, because the Mets aim to contend in 2019, they’d need to make a trade that improves their roster both now and in the future, according to Rosenthal. Moving Syndergaard would likely cause significant damage to the Mets’ rotation heading into 2019, though, so they’d almost have to sign a replacement in free agency, Rosenthal notes. To this point, the Mets have been “very engaged in the marketplace,” a representative for a free-agent starter tells Rosenthal
Okay… that’s actually a bit more optimistic: the Mets could be interested in a premium prospect… probably along with other major-league level pieces. But it would still be a fairly narrow group that they would choose from if Atlanta were somehow selected.
Thus a trade for Syndergaard would probably have to involve Inciarte, Vizcaino or Minter, possibly Teheran or Gohara, and possibly a future pitcher like a Kyle Muller… with the underlined players being more likely.
It would also include some cash if Teheran was moved, since he makes a lot more than Syndergaard. If it’s someone like Luiz Gohara instead, then the money would essentially be a non-factor.
That might work for the Mets, but…
While that’s what I think the Mets would have to get in order to be satisfied with seeing Thor pitch against them about 20 times over the next 3 seasons, I expect that Atlanta would hang up the phone first.
From the Braves’ perspective, they would then have to turn around and go find two corner outfielders… to the tune of something like $25 million.
Then Atlanta would have to find a closer. People have been trying to bring Kimbrel back home, but his cost alone would likely be another annual cost of $15 million (or more). And now the Braves would still need a second catcher themselves.
So now we’ve spent an extra $40 million (maybe only $20-25 million since there’s already 1 corner OF needed) just to get 1 pitcher.
Heck if you wanna do that, then call up Arizona and they’d gift-wrap Greinke… for a lot less.
In short… while it would be nice to get Syndergaard in Atlanta, this just feels like a deal that couldn’t possibly happen.
Who else could get him, then? The Yankees could… excepting their whole intra-city-trade thing, which is a little silly.
The Dodgers could. The Astros could – and for Thor, they could justify sending Forrest Whitley, though the Mets would want him and Kyler Tucker. There are others… the Cardinals, perhaps; maybe even San Diego.
In any case, this will be fun to watch play out, but unfortunately, I believe that there are quite a few other clubs out there with better trade matchups for the Mets than the Braves would have.