The Mets have made it clear they are open for business and that no player is untouchable. By doing so, they are doing a severe disservice to two players who should be untouchable — Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard.
When asked about trading either or both of his young guns, John Ricco, one-third of the acting GM’s office, said according to the once proud Daily News, “Those are two huge pieces for us. And we’ll have to consider… for me, everything has to be on the table, but you gotta look long and hard before you move game-changing, top of the rotation pitchers like that.”
Now, it is very unlikely that either of them gets traded because no one will offer enough. And besides, you should never trade such pitchers while they still have several years of control left. So what Ricco should have said is, “No, we are not trading them. Next question.” Instead, they are left to dangle in the wind, wondering if they should get change of address forms.
Is it any wonder that deGrom has not pitched up to his brilliant standards in his past two starts — allowing three runs in six innings in each game? It sent his ERA “skyrocketing” from 1.51 to 1.84. It has to be weighing on him. It is likely bothering Syndergaard as well but he’s on the disabled list, so while it might be playing havoc on his psyche, it is not impacting performance.
Maybe the Mets have sat down with both players and said, “Don’t worry, we are not trading you. It is just the game we need to play.” Even if that has happened, they are still being asked about it in every media scrum, so it might still be troubling to them. This is not the way to treat your employees.
Unless the Mets do indeed intend to trade them. In that case, get ready for a fan revolt like we have not seen since June 15, 1977. Those who were not born yet probably still know that infamous date, when the Mets traded Tom Seaver to the Reds for an underwhelming package of prospects and major leaguers. It began a dark period for the franchise. Let’s hope history does not repeat itself here in 2018.