Tampa, FL: I was lucky enough to see the thirteenth inning walk-off in Tampa, giving the Rays the sweep over the Yanks on Sunday. Way to get my vacation off on the wrong foot, Rays. You can imagine my surprise when I found out that the Mets had agreed to send ace Jacob deGrom to the Yankees* for five minor leagues, including three of their top prospects. It seemed as unlikely as the Mets couldn’t even bring themselves to send Lucas Duda to their backpage rivals last season, but here we are. This one just made too much sense. Let’s break it down.
Why the Mets Did It
Sandy Anderson is nearing the end of his career. Perhaps he got tired of getting bashed for running the Mets into the dirt. The minor league system is barren. The man wanted to re-stock the pond with a few fish before his walk of shame out of town. If the Mets ever do turn it around, he can say he got the ball rolling.
If the Yankees do get to the promised land, it will be tough for the Mets to see deGrom on the mountaintop in pinstripes. But the Yankees are in the other league and play the Mets but a few times a year. So what if they play in the same city? The Mets have to do what’s right for the Mets. And if that means dancing with the Evil Empire, they had to explore it.
Why the Yanks Did It
It has never been easy to procure top talent from Brian Cashman. The man is patient and has made a career out of outlasting lesser GMs. But the Yankees have a young core and are fully in win-now mode after getting within a game of the World Series.
They’re on pace to win well over 100 games so they shouldn’t have a problem making the playoffs. But to shake off the Red Sox, they could use some help on the front end of the rotation asap. They’re getting by with offense, Severino, and a mighty pen. If the rest of the starters don’t start giving them some length that mighty pen will start to crack. And with deGrom under contract for a few more years, the Yankees were willing to pay a hefty price.
The Mets will get Clint Frazier, Justus Sheffield, Estevan Florial, Tyler Austin, and Domingo German.
Frazier: Clint has been a victim of a numbers game and the acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton. Red Thunder has been trying to burst out of Triple A all season after a concussion squashed his chance of making the big club out of spring training. He’s shown power, speed, and can play a capable center field in addition to the corners. He’ll slot right in the top of the Mets order.
Sheffield: Justus is not quite ready for prime time, but the lefty acquired in the Andrew Miller trade is the Yankees’ best pitching prospect. He has struck out over a batter an inning in Scranton this year, with an ERA of 3.26. He needs a bit more control and consistency. The Mets will likely keep him in Triple A for more seasoning, then he projects to get a shot in the rotation as soon as next year. Sheffield projects as a top end starter.
Florial: Estevan is one of the top Yankees prospects and likely their most athletic. He’s out until August with a wrist injury, but this young outfielder has a full toolbox. Baseball America’s 41st top prospect will look to regain his groove in 2019 and should get a shot to win a job in the Mets outfield in the near future.
Austin: With so much firepower in the Bronx, Austin hasn’t been able to get an extended look with the Yanks. But he’s shown flashes with 8 HRs in 2018 in limited playing time. At 27, he isn’t the centerpiece of this deal, but the hard-nosed Austin is a step up from the cadavers the Mets have been running out to first base all season.
German: Though he’s been inconsistent, Domingo has shown swing-and-miss stuff in the majors with 74 strike outs in 63.1 innings. If German can get more consistent with his secondary pitches he could become an effective starter. Otherwise, with a mid-90s fastball, he could be a useful piece in the bullpen.
The Mets were able to pull in three of the Yankees’ top prospects and two other useful pieces. It is an impressive haul for the Mets. Alderson was able to get more prospects from Cashman than anyone has before.
And for the Yankees, they get an ace who is more than a rental. If they don’t win this year, they have a few more shots to make this trade a winner.
Time will decide, but this trade makes a lot of sense for both teams.
*dramatization, may not have happened.
Come back tomorrow for Angry Ward, with more on this blockbuster. Follow us on Twitter at @BenWhit8, @MeetTheMatts, @Matt_McCarthy00, Instagram @MeetTheMatts and like our Facebook page, Meet The Matts.