New York Mets

Why a trade for one of Mets’ All-Star pitchers makes little sense for rebuilding White Sox

Why a trade for one of Mets’ All-Star pitchers makes little sense for rebuilding White Sox

Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard are apparently on the market. And one national writer thinks the White Sox could be a good fit.

Not so sure about that.

Of course anything can happen in the wheeling and dealing world of baseball transactions. But Jon Morosi’s suggestion that Rick Hahn could deal away some of his prized prospects for one of the Mets’ star arms seems to take into account only what the Mets would desire — and not at all the timeline of the rebuilding effort on the South Side.

Morosi points to the high ERA of White Sox pitchers this season and that luring a top free agent this offseason (someone like Manny Machado, perhaps) would require a more attractive rotation than the one the White Sox currently have. A fine argument if the rebuild were expected to reach its apex ahead of the 2019 season.

But the 2020 or 2021 season has always seemed more realistic as the wealth of talented young players continues to develop in the minor leagues.

Certainly the White Sox have the prospect capital to swing a deal for a player as good as deGrom or Syndergaard. But making a judgment on many of those young players would seem like jumping the gun. Why would Hahn trade away one or more of his star prospects before knowing what holes his teams of the future will have?

And, who’s to say the White Sox don’t already have the kind of starting-pitching talent that could power a World Series contending rotation? Four of the organization’s highest-rated prospects are starting pitchers, with Michael Kopech, Alec Hansen, Dane Dunning and Dylan Cease all ranked among the top 100 prospects in the game. Wouldn’t one or more of those guys be on the Mets’ wish list? DeGrom and Syndergaard hold the always desirable description of young, controllable pitching, but so does the aforementioned quartet of White Sox pitching prospects — even more than the Mets’ studs.

Much like the rumors that linked the White Sox to a trade for Machado during the Winter Meetings back in December, this suggestion falls into the same category of those that just don’t make much sense with where the White Sox are in their rebuild. The carefully laid rebuilding plans are still in too early of a stage for Hahn to start shipping away prospects and accelerate a timeline he’s been so patient in constructing.

DeGrom and Syndergaard are terrific talents, no doubt about it. They are certainly capable of leading a starting staff to championship contention.

But the White Sox think they’ve already got more than a couple of those guys. It’s just going to take a little more time for them to reach the South Side.

The next championship White Sox team won’t be built in a day — or with one hasty trade in the middle of a developmental season.

Cubs four-game sweep the Mets in New York for the first time since 1991

Cubs four-game sweep the Mets in New York for the first time since 1991

The Cubs did something at Citi Field on Sunday afternoon that they hadn't done since 1991: complete a four-game sweep in New York.

A day after the Cubs went 14 innings, Jon Lester pitched a much-needed gem in the Cubs' 2-0 win over the Mets, tossing seven scoreless innings with seven strikeouts. He allowed two hits and three walks, and took a no-hitter into the fifth inning.

The game also featured El Mago doing some more El Mago things. 

In the seventh inning, Javier Baez broke the scoreless tie by stealing home, something he's pretty used to doing.

Some other weird things happened, too.

With Kris Bryant out of the lineup, Baez started the game at third base with Tommy La Stella at second. The duo flipped positions many times when certain hitters would come to the plate.

Here's how it looked on the box score:

The Cubs (33-23) are now a season-high 10 games over .500.

Scouting the Cubs' competition: Are the Mets back in contention?

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USA TODAY

Scouting the Cubs' competition: Are the Mets back in contention?

The expectations couldn't be any higher for the 2018 Chicago Cubs. 

It's 2016 all over again. The goal isn't just a trip to the playoffs or another NL pennant. It's World Series or bust for this group of North Siders.

With that, let's take a look at all of the teams that could stand in the way of the Cubs getting back to the Fall Classic:

New York Mets

2017 record: 70-92, 4th place in NL East

Offseason additions: Jay Bruce, Todd Frazier, Adrian Gonzalez, Anthony Swarzak, Jason Vargas, Jose Lobaton, A.J. Griffin

Offseason departures: Neil Walker

X-factor: Pitching health

For everybody.

The Mets pitchers are suddenly not-so-young and they have zero World Series rings to show for it. In major part because they haven't all been healthy at the same time since that 2015 season in which they shut the Cubs right down out of the NLCS.

Will they ever be healthy again? Who knows? But if — somehow — Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz, Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Robert Gsellman are all healthy at the same time and pitching like they're capable of, it's gonna be tough to keep this Mets team at bay (even with an aging lineup).

Of course, expecting that to happen is probably foolish, but it's definitely within the realm of possibility.

Projected lineup

1. Brandon Nimmo - CF
2. Yoenis Cespedes - LF
3. Jay Bruce - RF
4. Todd Frazier - 3B
5. Adrian Gonzalez - 1B
6. Asdrubal Cabrera - 2B
7. Travis d'Arnaud - C
8. Amed Rosario - SS

Projected rotation

1. Noah Syndergaard
2. Jacob deGrom
3. Steven Matz
4. Matt Harvey
5. Zack Wheeler

Outlook

We've already discussed the starting pitching health. The Mets also have a solid bullpen that will be improved with Jeurys Familia avoiding suspension and Swarzak's arrival after a breakout 2017 with the White Sox and Brewers.

This lineup has been productive in the past, but it's very old. The 2-through-6 hitters are all on the wrong side of 30 and on the bench, Jose Reyes is 34. 

Rosario (22), Nimmo (24) and Michael Conforto (25) inject some youth into this club, but Conforto is hampered by a shoulder injury and doesn't expect to join the team until at least a few weeks into the 2018 season.

Still, if they can stave off Father Time, this lineup should score some runs, even if they're a station-to-station bunch of slow-footed fellows. 

If the rotation is spinning the way they are capable of, the lineup should score enough runs to win a decent amount of ballgames. Thanks to depth on the bench (Reyes, Wilmer Flores, Juan Lagares), the Mets should be OK even if one or two of their old guys hit the 10-day DL.

But this all hinges on pitching. Syndergaard and deGrom are a dynamic 1-2 punch, but MAJOR question marks follow. 

The Mets will probably be a part of the wild card race in the NL, but ultimately won't be playing come October. Too many "ifs".

Prediction: 2nd in NL East, no playoffs

Complete opposition research

Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants
Arizona Diamondbacks
Colorado Rockies
San Diego Padres
Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves
New York Mets