Monday, July 20, 2015

Their Starting Pitching Is What's Keeping the Mets Ship Afloat

I find it amusing when people, including at least one sportswriter at a name NYC publication, write that the Mets should start trading their starting pitchers for offensive help. Whenever I read that, I remember the Mets trade of Nolan Ryan for Jim Fregosi, a shortstop. But Ryan wasn't the only player the Mets traded. Also included in the deal were outfielder Leroy Stanton, pitcher Don Rose. and catcher Francisco Estrada. After the trade, the New York Times quoted Mets GM Bob Scheffing as saying about Ryan, "I really can't say I quit on him. But we've had him three full years and, although he's a hell of a prospect, he hasn't done it for us. How long can you wait? I can't rate him in the same category with Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman or Gary Gentry." That statement says something about Scheffing's ability to judge talent. That statement also makes me think that the Dodgers were lucky that Scheffing wasn't Brooklyn's GM during the early years of Sandy Koufax's career. In his first 3 seasons, Koufax had a 9-10 record. He walked 108 batters, pitched 204.66 innings, and gave up 91 earned runs for an ERA of 4.00. In contrast, Ryan had a 12-13 record, walked 131 batters, pitched 226.33 innings, and gave up 86 earned runs for an ERA of 3.42.

Returning to the current Mets team, next season the starting rotation could include Harvey, deGrom, Wheeler, Syndergaard, and Matz, which would make it the best starting rotation in baseball. One reason it would be foolish to trade any of them is that injuries happen: Harvey and Wheeler already have had Tommy John surgery. Further, it would be foolish to weaken a strength at a time when the offense, in the season's ahead, should only get stronger. A key is for Mets current GM Sandy Alderson to improve the free agents he signs. He needs to do better than Cuddyer (who he essentially traded a first-round pick for and who is currently batting .250 with a slugging percentage of .380) and Mayberry .182.

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