By Zach Gewelb
The Mets have finally escaped June and can shape the future of the organization in July.
The club’s nightmare of a season reached a new low in June, when New York played to a 5-21 record and plummeted to 33-47 on the season. In fact, their June was technically worse than that of the infamous 1962 Mets, who went 8-23 in June en route to a 40-120 finish. But things can change in the coming month.
The Mets should be open for business when it comes to the trade market and can replenish their organization with blue chip prospects, while also ridding themselves of some unnecessary salary. This is their chance to right the ship and become a healthy organization.
There is no doubt the club has pressure to win. We’re in New York, after all, and there are certain expectations that come with playing in such a big market with a rabid fan base. But Mets fans are smart, and they recognize when it’s time to make changes.
Ahead of the 2017 season, there was talk that the Mets had taken over as New York’s premier team. They were coming off back-to-back postseason appearances and had a promising young core, while the Yankees were stuck in mediocrity. Then 2017 happened.
The Yankees’ patience with their youth movement was rewarded, with players like Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Luis Severino emerging as legitimate stars. The Yankees further added to their impressive young core with emerging infielders Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres, with players like Clint Frazier and Brandon Drury — both trade acquisitions — waiting in the wings.
The Mets should take a page from the Yankees’ playbook and start their own youth movement. The problem is that the Amazins don’t have the same kind of talent waiting down on the farm. They need to go out and acquire some top-notch prospects.
Trading Jay Bruce or Todd Frazier or Asdrubal Cabrera alone won’t move the needle too much. But trading all three will help give the organization some quality depth, which will come in handy, given how frequently Mets players visit the disabled list.
Trading away their established veterans will bring back some quality prospects, while moving pieces like Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Yoenis Cespedes will bring some difference-making talent to the organization, potentially players with talent similar to Torres and Frazier — who the Yankees acquired from the Cubs and Indians for veterans Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller, respectively.
The Mets should keep one of deGrom and Syndergaard — my preference is deGrom — and ship the other out for a treasure trove of blue chip prospects. Syndergaard could fetch three or four solid pieces from contending teams such as the Houston Astros or Los Angeles Dodgers. Even the Yankees would be interested, though there are greater odds that I throw a pitch for the Mets than the crosstown rivals completing a trade of this magnitude.
The bottom line here is that the Mets can change the future of their organization with dominant July. Not in terms of wins or losses that would impact this season, but regarding the trade market. The Mets can be the premier seller this month, offering their veteran pieces and young — but risky — starting pitchers, in exchange for a boatload of prospects that can replenish the organization’s depth.
It’s time to look toward the future. The Mets have all the necessary chips to build a brighter tomorrow. They just need to be wise enough to take the first step.
Reach reporter Zach Gewelb by e-mail at zgewe