Stand Pat, Sandy

Here it comes: the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, which has become a cottage industry of sorts for many TV networks and blogs, who serve up tasty trade news and trade rumors to a ravenous audience. Much like New Year’s Eve revelers, many baseball fans wake up on August 1 with a trade rumor hangover and a resolve not to get sucked in ever again (yeah, right).

The majority of this post was written before the “story” about the Mets’ interest in Troy Tulowitzki broke late on Thursday evening. For the record, I think that story is pure fantasy. But then again, I never thought the Mets would land Mike Piazza either.

The Mets’ record at the trade deadline has been spotty, to say the least. Near the top of the all-time list of infamy is the totally unnecessary trade of Scott Kazmir in 2004. That trade did alter the course of the franchise for a little while, as it ushered in the Omar Minaya era and the team’s last playoff appearance to date. Speaking of deadline deals with franchise altering implications, the 1977 Trade Deadline, then in mid-June, will (hopefully) forever hold the title of Worst Ever. I am referring of course, to the Mets “Midnight Massacre” giveaways of Tom Seaver and Dave Kingman that year. Along the way, the Mets, in an attempt to bolster a playoff run, have also sacrificed Jason Isringhausen and Melvin Mora in late July trades. Minaya’s inability to make any bullpen improvements at the 2007 and 2008 deadlines no doubt contributed to the late season collapses in both years. The Billy Wagner giveaway was one of the first signs of the Wilpon’s impending financial distress.

On the flip side, there have been a few deadline deals that worked in the Mets favor. Getting Keith Hernandez and an eventual World Series crown for Neil Allen and Rick Ownbey in 1983 easily laps the rest of the field. The Carlos Beltran for Zack Wheeler trade is definitely a win for the Mets. Steve Phillips got Darryl Hamilton from Colorado on July 31, 1999. Hamilton played a decent centerfield for the team during parts of three seasons, including the playoff years of 1999-2000. The Marlon Byrd deal with Pittsburgh may end up being one of the best in Met history—if current trends continue.

But without a doubt, my all-time favorite deadline deal, even more so than the Hernandez swipe, is the 1984 trade that Frank Cashen made with Cincinnati, trading somewhat heralded prospects Jay Tibbs and Eddie Williams to the Reds for pitcher Bruce Berenyi. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t who they traded for but why. Seven years after (to the exact date) the Seaver trade, the Mets front office was sending the message that the long nuclear winter that started on that horrible night was finally over. They believed in their team enough to give up two prospects in an attempt to win now.

At least, that’s how I took it. BTW, Berenyi went 9-6 for the surprising 84 Mets, before his career was cut short by injuries the following year.

My sense is that this is the type of deadline deal that current Met GM Sandy Alderson needs to make next, if he makes any move at all before the Winter Meetings. I am not in favor of a Bartolo Colon salary-dump deal. Last week’s heroics aside, Colon is needed to save the young arms from too many September innings this year. I highly doubt the Wilpons will allow Alderson to trade Daniel Murphy in-season. There has been zero buzz about Jon Niese or Dillon Gee, which is somewhat telling, although this could change in the next few days. So unless Alderson can channel his inner Cashen and pull off a trade of say Josh Satin and Logan Verrett to the Padres for Everth Cabrera, he should just stand pat. The Mets farm system appears to be on the brink of producing a steady stream of serviceable contributors and perhaps even a star or two. A couple more weeks of evaluation, along with a few September call ups, is probably a better course of action, rather than plunging into the annual feeding frenzy in an attempt to garner some fleeting attention and a few more essentially meaningless wins.

A late (and much missed) mentor of mine was always there to remind me of how time could be an ally during any major decision making process I faced. I believe that concept applies here as well. It was easier to complain about a lack of deadline activity when the Mets had nothing to lose. They need to move prudently and gather as much data as they can on their current crop of prospects.

After all, they have all winter to engineer that Noah Syndergaard for Javier Baez trade!

A Mets fan since 1971, Dan spent many summer nights of his childhood watching the Mets on WOR Channel Nine, which his Allentown, PA cable company carried. Dan was present at Game 7 of the 1986 World Series and the Todd Pratt Walkoff Game in 1999. He is also the proud owner of two Shea Stadium seats. Professionally, Dan is a Marketing Manager in the Bulk Materials Handling industry. He lives in Bethlehem PA with his wife and son, neither of whom fully get his obsession with the Mets.
  1. norme July 28, 2014 at 6:58 am

    Dan C,
    Good point about keeping Colon to save wear and tear on the young arms in Sept. I wouldn’t trade him, nor anyone else, unless the offer was too good to turn down. If Bart continues to pitch reasonably well in ’14 you can always move him in the spring after evaluating the health of Harvey, Hefner, Gee, Niese and the development of Thor, Montero and Matz. There’s always a market for a serviceable pitcher.

  2. DanB July 28, 2014 at 8:34 am

    I have read a couple different places that Jeff Wilpon was the one who squashed any mid year pickups in 2007 and 2008. Anyone else ever read that or is my disllike of Jeff Wilpon starting to effect my memory? Makes me worry about how Alderson will do when Jeffrey is looking over his shoulder.

  3. DaveSchneck July 28, 2014 at 11:54 am

    Great column, love the Bruce Berenyi reference…good times. I agree with your general point that Alderson, for the first time in his tenure, doesn’t “need” to do anything. This in and of itself is an advantage and hopefully a sign, like the Berenyi deal, of better times ahead.

    Regarding Colon, I really enjoy watching hm pitch, but I differ slightly from you and Norme in that I think now is the time to move him. Of course, I don’t have access to the trade market, so that is an opinion from the outside looking in. I do agree that they young arms need to be protected, and with DiceK going down, there is a little less “insurance” in the SP pool. But, the Mets carry significant risk each time Colon pitches, and through the end of the year. Should his performance fade or get hurt, no one will take on that $11 mil in 2015, and the low budget Mets will be saddled with it, which will be a major albatross towards fielding a playoff caliber team. Even with DiceK down, I would roll the dice and hope Hefner is ready to help in about a month…I’d even stretch out Carlos Torres or sign a vet for Sept. Of course, this could come back to bite them should they win 12 of 15 and truly get into the WC race.

    DanB – agree 100% with your comment above, I think your memory is spot on. While the Wilpons spent $143 mil on payroll back then, Jeffrey couldn’t seem to find another $2 to get a legit MLB arm on the team, which very well could have made the difference between ployff home game revenue, and Jerry M/Omat M’s destiny and legacy.

  4. DanB July 28, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    if the Mets are to acquire a big hitter like Tulo or CarGo, I think they will need to get rid of Colon, CYoung (ok, not a painful loss), and even Murphy. Otherwise, how are they going to afford it? Maybe they trade Neise rather then Murphy. Either way,I find it hard to believe the Mets will have a payroll over $90 million next year.

  5. Bat July 28, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    I don’t favor a Tulo or CarGo acquisition; I think the cost for either will be steep and Tulo is very injury prone and soon to be 30 y/o. What will happen in his 30s if he was injury prone in his 20s?

    I would try to acquire Stanton in the offseason for something like Matz, Plawecki, Montero, and Puello and then try to marginally upgrade SS or even let Tejada, Flores, Reynolds etc. fight it out.

    Then your lineup is:

    Grandy LF
    Murphy 2B
    Wright 3B
    Duda 1B
    Stanton RF
    TDA C
    Lagares CF

    I think that would be great when combined with a SP core of:


    and this assumes Colon would be dumped in order to extend Stanton.

    The bullpen would also be asset with:


    I would even consider swapping out Matz for Synderbloock if the Marlins insisted after the Mets initially resisted if it would close the deal.

    But Stanton should be the prime focus, not Tulo or CarGo.

    • Yeats July 28, 2014 at 3:29 pm

      The Marlins have zero interest in trading Giancarlo. Miami is a couple pieces away from being a contender again.

    • Joe Janish July 28, 2014 at 3:37 pm

      I would be stunned if the Marlins accepted something as paltry as Matz, Plawecki, Montero, and Puello for one of the best young power hitters of his generation. That’s a “Yankees fan deal” — one comprised of players that you’re willing to give up, in return for a player you really want, and not taking into consideration the needs of the other team.

      Why would Miami want to hand over their best hitter for those four? Matz is a major injury risk. Montero is projected by many to be a middle reliever. Plawecki is an offensive-minded catcher who hasn’t shown much power for that kind of description. Puello has had one impressive year, and it was the season immediately following PEDs use. If Miami trades an elite player for that sketchy group, the GM should be shot.

      The conversation starts with Syndergaard at minimum, though more likely Wheeler — or both. Dominic Smith might draw interest, but not without another MLB-ready player, and I don’t know who that would be. Maybe Duda? Dillon Gee? Mejia? The more I look at the Marlins’ roster and what the Mets have available, I don’t see a fit of any sort between the two clubs.

      Beyond that, I also don’t know that the Mets can afford to trade away any starting pitching they have, because several of their starters are health risks. They’d be better off filling offensive holes via free agency and change-of-scenery waiver wire pickups (see the SF Giants).

  6. DanB July 28, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    i like Stanton, too, however there is no reason to trade for him (if they could) if the Mets can’t extend him and he is going to want $20 to $25 million per. The problem is the same — how do you cut the Met’s payroll to fit him? Just Colon is not enough, you need to cut at least $9 million more. This isn’t New York where you can afford two big contracts.

  7. Bat July 28, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    Yeats, sorry I should have clarified but I did not mean that the Marlins would trade Stanton to the Mets (or anyone else) now. Reports are saying Stanton will be on the block this winter and what I meant was that the Mets should not trade for either of these guys from the Rockies now and hold their chips HOPING THAT STANTON BECOMES AVAILABLE LATER. I should have been more clear on this point – he will not be traded now but there is a good possibility that changes in the offseason.

    Joe, I do not think this is anywhere near as laughable as the Duda for Howard proposal – again, not a single GM in the game is making that trade if the GM represents the Mets.

    Matz, Plaw, and Montero are all top 75 or so prospects if you read Baseball America, Kevin Law, and John Sickels (three of the most esteemed commentators on the minor leagues) so I don’t see this as an extremely foolish trade proposal although as I implicitly acknowledged in the first post in may be a little light and the Marlins may want Synderbloock . Puello is the equivalent of a lottery ticket admittedly: something similar to the inclusion of Becerra in the R.A. Dickey deal after TDA and Synderbloock.

    As I wrote, I am okay with Synderbloock being subbed for Matz. So trade Synderbloock – top 15 prospect on all three of those lists above – plus Plaw plus Matz or Montero (whichever the Marlins want more) plus some other guy who is not performing up to par but may still pan out (if not Puello, then Cecchini, or Fulmer, or some similar lottery ticket like a Blake Taylor).

    You then have:

    (i) a top 15 prospect in the game (Synderbloock),
    (ii) two top 75 prospects (two of the three of Montero, Plaw, and Matz or let me go one step further and even offer Dom Smith and make this two of these four names); and

    (iii) a wild card as detailed above.

    • Joe Janish July 28, 2014 at 5:35 pm

      Bat, my Duda-for-Howard proposal wasn’t presented because I thought it could happen or might happen — it was 100% a topic of discussion to get an idea of how Mets fans viewed the values of the two players.

      In contrast, you’re suggesting a trade proposal as though it could be reality. In my judgment, it’s unrealistic, and the easy way to support that judgment is this: if you were the GM who had control of Giancarlo Stanton, would you trade him for those 4 players? I could be wrong, but I just don’t see it.

      Maybe a better comparison is this: if you were GM of the Mets in June 2013, what would you want back in a deal for Matt Harvey? I doubt highly that you’d be willing to accept a package of four prospects, with only one being MLB-ready.

      Now that you’ve “subbed” Syndergaard for Matz, the conversation can start, but it’s still far from reality. In fact, it might be ADDING rather than subbing, Syndergaard to the package. But you’re still likely one young stud or proven MLBer away from a deal, I think. Even a financially focused team like the Marlins has to get at least one legit everyday MLB position player, or near-MLB-ready bat, as part of a deal for an elite talent like Stanton. Consider what the Mets received in return for R.A. Dickey, and Dickey was much older and his future much more uncertain.

      As for Syndergaard being a top 15 prospect, that was before the season began. Since then he’s posted a 5.16 ERA and missed time with an elbow issue, so his stock has dropped and he’s become a risk.

      Finally, as Yeats pointed out, the Fish may not be peddling Stanton now that they’re closer to being contenders again, and as DanB pointed out, the Mets probably can’t afford to extend Stanton, so there are two solid reasons to forget about dealing for him right now.

      The more I think about it, the more a deal for Tulo is the most realistic play for the Mets. I don’t think you can worry about his injury history, because adding him to the club immediately changes the tone of the team and the conversation about them — similar to the day the Mets acquired Gary Carter (though I think the ’85 Mets were more complete than the 2014 squad). Oh, and it would ignite ticket sales and other revenues (jerseys), which is the bottom line, isn’t it? Right now, the Mets would likely make a deal that potentially increases revenue, even if there is a risk that the player will appear in only 100 games. And if he is healthy enough to play in 140+, then the Mets likely are in the playoff hunt. But my guess is the Mets can’t afford Tulo’s contract, anyway.

    • Yeats July 28, 2014 at 11:56 pm

      Bat, thanks for clearing that up.

      I’d surprised if Miami is will to trade him until after the 2015 season. If Jose Fernandez comes back healthy, Miami will have the premier young slugger & young pitcher and could be a playoff team next year.

      I honestly don’t know who the Mets should go after. CarGo is due $53M over the next 3 years, has a history of injuries and average performance outside of Colorado. I think Tulo being at Yankee stadium is actually as much a message to the Yanks as it is to the Rockies. I also can’t help but think that may also indicate Tulo doesn’t necessarily want to be a Met.

    • Yeats July 29, 2014 at 12:00 am

      I can’t help but imagine what things would be like if a) Sandy had screwed the pooch with the bullpen composition to start the year, and b) if David Wright were having an average season. Mets would be over .500.

  8. Bat July 28, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    Here is a link to one of many stories saying that since Stanton will be a free agent after the 2016 season – two seasons remaining after this year – he will probably be traded:

    The Marlins have never committed big money to any players other than in connection with the opening of the new ballpark and all of those guys were quickly jettisoned after one season.

    Stanton will be traded like Miguel Cabrera, the only question is when. I think this offseason is a distinct possibility and I would not go for Tulo or CarGo.

    Tulo = injury prone in his 20s and will soon be 30 so the leg injuries won’t get better.

    CarGo = a bit overrated for the price in my opinion.

    If I knew Tulo would be healthy, I’d bite on that deal, but it is too speculative given his health history.

  9. Bat July 28, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    I wonder if you even increased that last offer to Synderbloock, Plaw, Matz, and Dom Smith (four guys in the top 75 or so prospects in baseball) would the Marlins bite?

    Would you guys reading this site do that?

    I think they might…that is a lot to give up but I think I would do it and try to keep Stanton in New York thereafter like Piazza.

    If the deal was done this offseason you’d still have Stanton for two full years (2015 and 2016) and then if he doesn’t re-sign you get two draft picks for him. But our pitching is really coming into its own and I do this deal hoping to get to the playoffs at least once and maybe both of the next two years and then take my chances re-signing Giancarlo.

    • Joe Janish July 28, 2014 at 5:46 pm

      I would do that deal in a second. It’s not a lot to give up for a 24-year-old who is already one of the most feared hitters on the planet. Syndergaard and Matz, as mentioned, are both severe injury risks — I’ll be surprised to see either of them reach MLB before TJ surgery (for Matz it will be #2). The Mets don’t need Plawecki and he doesn’t yet appear to be a sure thing. Dom Smith looks like he could one day be a great hitter, but he plays a non-premium position, he has only one tool, and he’s so young and so far away, you can’t worry about giving him up if you’re getting a proven talent like Stanton in return. It’s a no-brainer.

      But, again, where are the Mets going to find enough money to pay Stanton? And if you’re assuming they’ll also want to keep Harvey around? They’ll both be in line for $20M+ per year. Though, I suppose they could just keep Harvey through his arbitration years, pay him year-to-year through the arb process, and let him walk in 2019. It would be a good plan, IMHO, though possibly unpopular with the fan base.

      • DaveSchneck July 28, 2014 at 6:09 pm

        Joe and Bat,
        I think most of us agree that it would be worth “backing up the truck” for Stanton (and we can add Trout to that list as well) as opposed to Tulo or Cargo. However, the availablity is the big question. As stated above, Florida has no desire to trade him. Why would they? They are actually closer to the wild card than the Mets, and many can argue that they are closer to competing with more MLB talent than the Mets. Power like Stanton’s may be harder to come by that an ace. It is more likely that Florida actions off Stanton next year, should they fail to compete. And, even if when put him up for auction, the Mets would need to outbid the other 29 teams, likely have to pay a premium being an in division competitor, and the Wilpons would need to ante up some Albert Pujols-type dollars. I think running through fields of poppies hand in hand with Cindy Crawford is more likely to occur, but as they say on TV, hey, you never know.

      • crozier July 28, 2014 at 6:56 pm

        Joe, remember the discussion earlier this year about Granderson being a cynical signing because it was just done to bring fans to the park? I couldn’t imagine in a million years that he’d make a bit of difference to the gate, and I can’t say I was wrong.

        Stanton, though…that guy would bring people to the park in droves. He’d absolutely show a return on the investment.

        It won’t happen, of course. Inter-division? Not a chance.

  10. Bat July 28, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    Great analysis Joe. You are usually correct about arm injuries so I take your opinion that both Synder and Matz are likely to suffer (an)other one seriously.

    With respect to money: if the Mets acquire Stanton this offseason and he plays 2015 and 2016 and they make the playoffs at least one year, it stokes interest in the team and generates playoff revenue as well as increased attendance.

    Plus, not only can you dump Colon (next year salary’s) but as Herrera is on the way (and Flores is still hanging around) I would trade Murphy in order to clear salary room for Stanton.

    It’s worth the risk even if you can’t keep him after 2016 (assuming, for example, they don’t make the playoffs in 2015 and 2016 and other contingencies arise).

    In this connection, he will not make $20 to $25 million next year or 2016 (the number DanB was broaching) but something less. Then you worry about 2017 if he is amenable to an extention after you win a bit (even just a playoff appearance) and he is the toast of New York.

    • Dan42 July 29, 2014 at 6:40 am

      But if he likes NY, isn’t there another team around that might be willing to spend more for big time FA talent?

  11. Bat July 28, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    On another note, great to see these increased discussions the past few days – 30 comments yesterday on one post recently!

    I am a long time reader of this blog – maybe 7-8 years – but only starting commenting regularly a few months ago.

    Good to see all of this traffic and discussion from our so many avid fans.

  12. Bat July 28, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    I just went on and by sheer coincidence this story was on there! released their midseason Top 100 prospect list, and five Mets players made the list (, July 28). Pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard is the highest rated player in the Mets organization, coming in at No. 13.
    “He still profiles as a front-line starter and remains on track to make his Major League debut at a younger age than either Harvey or Wheeler,” said of Syndergaard. Catcher Kevin Plawecki checks in at No. 67, with OF Brandon Nimmo right behind him at No. 68. From the 2014 Draft, first-round pick OF Michael Conforto is No. 86 on the list, while 2013 first-round pick 1B Dominic Smith is No. 88.

    So I was talking about Baseball America, Keith Law, and John Sickels, but here you have ranking Synder as #13, Plaw #67, and Dom Smith as #88. So these guys do not have Montero or Matz ranked in the top 100, but do have Nimmo and Conforto.

    • Joe Janish July 29, 2014 at 3:34 pm

      Thanks for doing the due diligence, Bat.

      I’m skeptical that the #13 rating by is a “present-day” rating — I wonder if it could be editorial laziness of simply re-hashing work that was already done. I find it hard to believe that Syndergaard’s very disappointing and somewhat concerning season didn’t knock him down a few pegs.

      Regardless of who is ranking him where, I would think that the elbow issue on its own would lower his value (compared to before the season began) in the minds of most GMs, and his not-so-great stats can’t help their confidence.

  13. argonbunnies July 29, 2014 at 1:27 am

    By the time our minor league position players are helping the Mets win games, David Wright and Curtis Granderson won’t be any good anymore. Murphy and Duda are also iffy on that front (because of their poor D, their O doesn’t have to decline too much to render them non-assets). If the Mets want to make a run in the next couple of years, I’d like to see them to turn any organizational surplus they may have into MLB upgrades ASAP.

    As far as I can tell, that means trading Murphy and either Colon, Niese or Gee for a slugging AAA LF or rookie SS.

    Murph and Niese to the Giants, Crick and Susac to Texas, Profar to the Mets?

    The time to blow the Fish away for Stanton was last offseason, before he turned potential into true superstardom. By now, he pretty much is the Marlins. He’ll be a free agent after 2016; no one’s getting him before the 2016 trade deadline.

  14. Dan Capwell July 29, 2014 at 8:16 am

    I still think Syndergaard for Baez makes the most sense. Two somewhat risky but high-reward prospects changing teams. Both teams dealing from an apparent surplus for a recognized need and next to no money exchanging hands.

  15. Bat July 29, 2014 at 9:20 am

    Argon, I’m not sure I agree that the Marlins will wait until the 2016 trade deadline to deal Stanton for two reasons: (1) the earlier they trade him, the greater the return of players that might help them long-term and (2) you don’t see many big-time star players traded at the trading deadlines; most of those guys are dealt in the offseason. I think Stanton will likely be traded this coming offseason or in the offseason between 2015 and 2016.

    Cappy, is there a reason that you think Synder is risky? Baez strikes me as a greater risk than Synder because he strikes out so frequently but not sure I’d term Synder very risky other than he is a pitcher and pitchers do not pan out more than position players due to injuries. But maybe Baez swing and miss risk is countered by Synder’s higher risk as a pitcher and the two are relatively equal.

    One thing I definitely don’t agree with is Crozier saying above that Stanton won’t be traded to Mets because it is “inter-division” and therefore “not a chance”. That ignores the Marlins history: they traded Al Leiter to the Mets and Mike Piazza to the Mets and have not been reluctant to trade inter-division.

    • crozier July 29, 2014 at 9:41 am

      It’s pretty easy to ignore 20th century Marlins’ history, Bat. Piazza’s tenure with the Marlins was so brief that he barely remembers it himself. Stanton is the face of the Marlins, and gives them a chance to compete next year; neither could be said for Piazza; not in 1998.

      I’d be as happy as anyone if I were wrong about this, but I won’t be.

  16. DanB July 29, 2014 at 10:32 am

    Argon, you bring up an important issue — timing. Will the Mets trade away prospects to upgrade now or do they wait for the prospects and watch their current stars age. Also, Harvey has indicated he wants top FA money eventually. Will Harvey still be pitching for the Mets in 2018 when the Nimmos, etc.. are hitting their prime? Alderson talks about not going all in during one specific year but building a team that always contend. It sounds a lot like Wilpon’s “significant games in September” quote (or however he worded it).

  17. mckeeganson July 29, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    As much as we would all love to get Stanton, I don’t see Florida trading him to a division rival.

    A more realistic team for us to trade with would be Arizona. Gregarious has long been available and could probably be had for Montero and and Flores. Would people consider that a fair deal?

    Gregarious is basically Tejada, but with more range, some actual power and less strikeouts. So basically not Tejada at all, and that’s the wonderful reason to go get him.

  18. david July 31, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    Marlins made an interesting deal, trading a top prospect for some nice pieces in return including a starting pitcher.

    Disappointing to see Mets “stand pat.” Look at all the talent other GMS gave up, from better teams than the Mets, and you have to wonder if someone is deluding themself or, more likely, the Wilpons were too cheap to take on salary?