Heidi Klum says it best: Either you’re in, or you’re out.
The re-signing of Yoenis Cespedes put the Mets in but only in the way a team that comes into a new season with no significant change from the last season could be in. Yes, there are plenty of off-season days left, and a whole section of free agents that are still out there which is holding up any trade of Jay Bruce or Curtis Granderson. But Ken Rosenthal, your overlord, tells us that perhaps the Mets are a little more in than we thought.
The Mets have spoken with the Pirates about Andrew McCutchen at a preliminary level, but the discussions have been “off and on” with no apparent momentum, sources said.
The article goes into detail about how difficult a trade would be, since the Mets would have to first find a taker for Jay Bruce before they leave him on the side of the road somewhere. They will also have to convince a team that Curtis Granderson’s smile is worth three wins. Then, they have to settle on a package of players for McCutchen that doesn’t involve anybody who will become the next Nolan Ryan. Tough chore, right? Michael Conforto might be a star if used correctly. Steven Matz is the Mets’ only lefty starter. Amed Rosario is the first Mets top prospect that isn’t a pitcher since Steve Chilcott. (Feel free to fact check that.) And all for Andrew McCutchen, whose production has slipped and might require a move to a corner outfield spot as his defensive metrics have slipped. And if that’s the case, the Mets haven’t solved anything.
But then again, Rosario is just a prospect. Matz hasn’t pitched a full season yet. And after 2016 there’s no guarantee that Conforto is going to bounce back. Just as there’s no guarantee that McCutchen, a former MVP and five time all-star, won’t. Nobody knows how it would all go.
Well that’s a very existential way of putting it, but it only means that … actually, I have no idea what it means. What I think it means is that we shouldn’t play with scared money. Scared money is lost money. I’m not sayint necessarily that the Mets should make this particular trade, because there are many reasons not to do it, and there are many outside forces such as the Texas Rangers or Toronto Blue Jays not agreeing to a trade for Jay Bruce that would preclude this trade from happening.
But if the issue in trading for McCutchen becomes “well, he might suck”, then the Mets shouldn’t let that scare them off. Because the Pirates are on the other side thinking: “Well, Conforto might suck. Steven Matz might be injured. Amed Rosario might … wait a minute, this team left Jon Niese in a basket by our doorstep, rang the bell and booked down the block with the speed of Usain Bolt, WTF!” Bobby Bonilla was a bust and the next game changing free agent they signed from another team was Carlos Beltran 13 years later.
Money aside (and yes, money is obviously still an issue), this team shouldn’t be afraid of the big move whether it be a McCutchen trade, a Lorenzo Cain trade, or whoever. I’m sure Sandy Alderson is waiting for the price to come down, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a trade that proved us all wrong and impatient. But we can’t be afraid of losing prospects because Andrew McCutchen might be Jason Bay. (Hell, many of us don’t want to trade Zack Wheeler because OMG SIX ACES, while in other organizations a guy who hasn’t pitched for two years would be considered organizational filler). I can’t be afraid of hear my brother yell “GO BACK TO PITTSBURGH YOU STUPID PIRATE!!!” at somebody else for two years. I refuse to let Jason Bay have that much power over me … not when the “championship window” is open for the Mets.
In case this is it for the year for me (and I hope it’s not but you never know), Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all. I leave you with some links to get you through the rest of the year. First, our friends at Sports Talk NY Live (who you should be listening to every Sunday at 7PM ET, ahem) had a couple of interviews in their most recent show with ’86 manager Davey Johnson …
… and current reliever Josh Smoker:
And then our own podcast (that you should be listening to every other Friday, ahem) where we discuss Bruce, McCutchen, and which future former Met will break our hearts the most after they leave:
If that isn’t enough baseball talk to get you through New Year’s, then I don’t know what to tell you.