$110M Yoenis Cespedes Fail Means Mets Must Deal Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard

Jacob Shafer@@jacobshaferFeatured ColumnistJuly 26, 2018

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 26: Noah Syndergaard #34 and Jacob deGrom #48 of the New York Mets look on against the St. Louis Cardinals in game two of a doubleheader at Citi Field on July 26, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

It's time for the New York Mets to blow it up.

If that wasn't apparent before, it is now. The Mets entered play Wednesday scraping the basement of the National League East.

They've got a decent chance to finish with the worst record in the Senior Circuit, if "decent" is the right word.

Then came the news that slugging outfielder and offensive cog Yoenis Cespedes was lost for the season to heel surgery. Both heels, in fact, which will sideline Cespedes for a minimum of 8-10 months, per Mike Puma of the New York Post

"It's possible it will be longer than that, but it probably won't be shorter than that," assistant general manager John Ricco told reporters.

Cespedes inked a four-year, $110 million contract with the Mets prior to the 2017 campaign. At the time, it was a bold move by a franchise looking to reascend the October stage.

Today, it's an unmitigated albatross and a payroll fail that should spark a full-scale, everything-must-go sell-off.

The Mets won the NL pennant in 2015 and grabbed a wild-card berth in 2016. Backed by their stable of stud pitchers and an offense fronted by Cespedes, they were a rising force in the National League.

Now, with the Cuban masher shelved indefinitely, New York must mash the reset button.

Does that mean dealing aces Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard? Yes, it does. Or, at the very least, it means genuinely considering the notion. 

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 13: Yoenis Cespedes #52 of the New York Mets in action against the Philadelphia Phillies in a game at Citizens Bank Park on May 13, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Balk all you want, Queens faithful. If the Mets wish to restock a farm system Bleacher Report's Joel Reuter ranked No. 28 in the game, they need to dangle their shiniest pieces. 

DeGrom is in the midst of a Cy Young Award-caliber season, with an MLB-leading 1.71 ERA and 159 strikeouts in 131.1 innings. The 30-year-old would net an absurd haul of prospects from multiple pitching-hungry contenders. 

We could name-drop the Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers, New York Yankees, etc. Really, though, it would be easier to list the buyers that wouldn't benefit from deGrom's services. 

Syndergaard, meanwhile, is a mixed bag that contains a handful of winning lottery tickets.

The 25-year-old has battled injuries dating back to last season and has made only 13 starts in 2018. On the other hand, the bolt-tossing righty owns a 2.89 ERA with 83 strikeouts in 74.2 frames and a 2.57 FIP.

Injury concerns trail Thor, despite his demigod reputation. He's presently sidelined with hand, foot and mouth disease. 

Assuming buyers aren't spooked by his seemingly bottomless list of maladies, Syndergaard is a deadline difference-maker, as is deGrom.

Either of the Mets' aces could shift the balance of power wherever they settle. Painful as it would be for New York to decimate a rotation that got it to the doorstep of a title, this is reality.

The Baltimore Orioles secured a sparkling package from the Los Angeles Dodgers for a few months of Manny Machado. DeGrom is controllable through 2020 and Syndergaard through 2021. Imagine what riches each might yield. 

The Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies are blossoming ahead of schedule. The Washington Nationals are scrambling for a final gasp in the waning days of the Bryce Harper era. The NL East is crowded to the point of bursting.

New York must decide: cash in now or play the chumps.

The Mets already dealt reliever Jeurys Familia to the Oakland Athletics. Infielder Asdrubal Cabrera should soon follow, among others.

DeGrom and Syndergaard are more complex calls. 

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 04:  Jacob deGrom #48 (L) and Noah Syndergaard #34 of the New York Mets look on against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field on September 4, 2017 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets def
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

"We'll have to consider [it]," Ricco said, per Newsday's Tim Healey. "For me, everything has to be on the table. But you have to look long and hard before you move a game-changing, top-of-the-rotation pitcher."

That's undeniably true. When it comes to deGrom and Syndergaard, the Mets should hold out for gaudy packages highlighted by can't-miss prospects. Anything less and the Amazins ought to spit at the mere notion.

At the same time, the Mets should thoughtfully mull this eventuality. 

It's time for them to blow it up.

It's time for them to make a move.

If that wasn't apparent before, it is now. 


All statistics current as of Wednesday and courtesy of Baseball Reference.


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