The Mets are blessed with a glut of starting pitching talent. As the hot stove season continues ahead, flipping one of their starters for either a new shortstop, another lefty reliever, or a quality bat to come off the bench is high on the Mets' list of priorities. Unfortunately for the Mets, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that it might be a bad time for starting pitching to be your biggest trade chip.
One NL executive said, "This might be the worst time in history to be out in the trade market with pitching." With the exception of A.J. Burnett, none of the top free agent pitchers, including Max Scherzer and Jon Lester, have signed yet, and names like Cole Hamels, Ian Kennedy, Jordan Zimmermann, and Johnny Cueto are all rumored to possibly be available through trade.
The Cubs always seemed like the most likely trade partner for the Mets, with their abundance of hitting prospects and lack of pitching depth, but the same executive explained that the Cubs have money to spend and could go out and sign Scherzer or Lester and hold onto those bats as future trade bait.
Regardless, the Mets remain in a strong position to eventually make a deal. Established guys including Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Jacob deGrom, Jon Niese, Bartolo Colon, and Dillon Gee will lead the rotation in New York in one manifestation or another, while top prospects Noah Syndergaard, Rafael Montero, and Steven Matz wait in Triple-A for the chance to break into the bigs. Sandy Alderson will continue to look for the best deal—and the right deal—to move one or more of his pitchers before the 2015 season opens.