Separated by the East River lies two teams flowing in drastically different directions.
In the Bronx are the Yankees, one of a few American League powerhouses poised for years of contention. In Flushing are the Mets, a last-place disappointment with no clear plan for the future. The two will meet this weekend at Yankee Stadium to conclude this year’s rendition of the Subway Series.
With the down and out Mets throwing their best pitchers to open the second half – this might as well be their World Series – it wouldn’t be a surprise if Little Brother stole a game or two. If the Mets are smart, however, they’ll come away with far more from their crosstown rivals.
The Yankees did not get to where they are because of luck. It wasn’t even because of excessive spending, their typical approach to winning for much of this century. No, the Yankees now find themselves in position for lasting success because they knew it was time to pull the plug in 2016.
With a few Baby Bombers already in the majors or getting close, the Yankees ditched their corporate mantra, traded veterans like Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller and Carlos Beltran, and set their sights on a future that didn’t take long to arrive. With a cast of 20-something-year-olds leading the way, the Yankees fell a game short of the Fall Classic last year and look ready to compete for it again in 2018. With even more prospects stockpiled in the minors, it won’t be the last time.
The Mets should seriously consider following suit as they weigh the futures of players like Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Asdrúbal Cabrera, Jeurys Familia, Zack Wheeler and more.
That’s not to say they should automatically deal every one of those guys; Syndergaard, in particular, is someone that can be a cornerstone for years to come. It’s also not to say the Mets can immediately turn things around like the Yankees did. The pinstripers had more ready-to-go prospects and are generally willing to spend in order to patch up holes, two factors that expedited their rise back to contention.
The fact that the Mets’ farm system can’t hold a candle to the Yankees’ is further incentive to deal, though. As bad as things are at the major league level, it gets even worse when scouring the Mets’ minors for talent that could soon make an impact. Peter Alonso, Andres Gimenez and Jarred Kelenic are three Mets on Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects list, but the latter two are still teenagers.
The Mets need help sooner than they can provide it.
The team’s veteran assets could fetch such a return, much like the Yankees’ did two summers ago. The Amazin’s can’t possibly hope to perfectly replicate what their neighbors did, but it’s the logical course of action for an organization with a dismal present and an even bleaker outlook.
Bronx Bomber Bullets
Speaking of trading deGrom… The Yankees could really use another ace-type behind Luis Severino, but the Mets would ask the world of them if they even decided to move the righty. Zack Wheeler is another Mets pitcher that the Bronx Bombers have asked about, according to The Athletics’ Marc Carig.
Aside from deGrom, who isn’t even guaranteed to be on the block at this point, there are few sure things when it comes to the starting pitching market right now. The Yankees have been linked to every conceivable option, including but not limited to Cole Hamels, Michael Fulmer, Tyson Ross, Matt Harvey, J.A. Happ, Nathan Eovaldi, Chris Archer – the list goes on. One particularly intriguing name that recently came up was Carlos Martinez. With changes already underway in St. Louis, it wouldn’t be a shock to see the Cardinals move him. He would cost a lot, though.
As the pitching market continues to take shape, I wonder if the Yankees will bother giving Justus Sheffield a big league audition prior to the deadline. Not as trade bait, but rather to see if his presence in the majors dispels the need for a deal. The 22-year-old left-hander has been terrific since being promoted to Triple-A, pitching to the tune of a 2.84 ERA in 57 innings.
With Brad Hand now a member of the Cleveland Indians, Orioles southpaw Zach Britton is the top reliever on the market. He should be high on the Yankees’ shopping list as they look for an upgrade over Chasen Shreve, the only lefty in their pen not named Aroldis Chapman.
Aaron Judge and Luis Severino had themselves quite the All-Star Game on Tuesday, both victimizing Nationals in their own ballpark. Judge took Max Scherzer deep in his first at bat, while Severino pitched a scoreless frame with two strikeouts. Bryce Harper was one of them after he couldn’t handle a wipeout slider.