The Mets concluded a 5-1 homestand Sunday after sweeping three games from the Pittsburgh Pirates. The win went to Jason Vargas and similar to Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler this week there is that speculation with the trade deadline a few days away.
From all reports, and at press time Marcus Stroman the Toronto Blue Jays right-hander has been traded to the Mets for prospects Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods Richardson.
Noah Syndergaard and Jason Vargas are not a part of this deal and maybe another one that is forthcoming. Though it is expected, from numerous sources, that the Mets are looking at placing Stroman in the rotation as the Mets are expected to deal Zack Wheeler before the deadline.
The move for Stroman caught everyone off guard, though the Mets have been in discussion with numerous teams about dealing Wheeler or Jason Vargas, And after their latest win over the Pirates Sunday, the Mets fourth straight, speculation remained as to where the Mets stood before the deadline.
And all of this happens after a sweep of the Pirates and this was the first time the Mets have won four straight games with their starter receiving the win in each game since early September of 2017.
Vargas, Sunday afternoon was not as sharp as he was Tuesday evening against the Padres. Then, he tossed six scoreless innings and allowed one hit. The change up was not as effective, though Vargas earned his third straight win in the Mets 8-7 win. Vargas got the early run support with a Mets six- run first inning.
“Keeps your mind on the strike zone,” he said about the run support.
Vargas did not appear to have the concern about the constant talk of being a trade target. If this was the last time taking the mound at Citi Field as a Met, as with all others who are asked, it was about baseball and this being a business.
“It’s never been an issue with me in the middle of the season,” he said.
So do the Mets trade one of their pitching commodities, and do they do this with the way the rotation has stepped up since the All-Star break? Those questions have been asked to the manager Mickey Callaway.
GM Brodie Van Wagenen is in seclusion. That’s expected as just about every baseball executive, and with a team that feels they have a postseason shot, stays in their bunkers and works the phones. Teams in position, like the Yankees across town, they need pitching.
It’s all a rumor and guessing game at this point. Rich Coutinho, on these pages yesterday wrote that the Mets should keep the pitching rotation as is. Coming out of the break they are second in ERA next to the Cleveland Indians, 2.62, also best in the National League.
And there is no denying, even with this early comeback after the break, the Mets have a lot of work to do and bypass teams for the second NL wildcard. As they departed for Chicago and Pittsburgh for six games ,with the under .500 White Sox and Pirates, the Mets are six games off from that wildcard.
Pitching wins games. This week the Mets got that. So why break up a nucleus that has come together, perhaps a little late, though with 57 games remaining and teams on the schedule that can be beat, you can’t rule out getting back into the hunt.
With Stroman, 28 years old, 6-11 with a 2.96 ERA, the Mets are obviously taking a chance. They get a local kid and also have some insurance for the rotation if Wheeler or a Vargas are on the move.
These are the decisions for the GM, and right now this is not the time for the Mets to rebuild and get prospects in return. Reportedly, left-hander Kay, a top Mets prospect, is headed to the Blue Jays.
That would mean, Brodie has once again pulled the trigger and dealing away more prospects from a Mets system that is lacking. Kay was supposedly that touted lefthander that was going to eventually get called up when rosters expand in September.
Again, the probability factor of a postseason in October for the Mets all depends on getting back to .500. They need to build a nice winning streak, win series, and of course need help for teams to lose that are in front.
Logic said at this point that the Mets would keep the roster intact. Instead with this trade for Stroman, perhaps the philosophy has changed and there is a different change of thought as to what direction they take.
“Every manager wants to keep their team together,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “Brodie knows we can win now. There’s a reality.”
From that response in his postgame meeting with the media, there was no clear answer. But now we know the Mets and their GM are dealing before the deadline.
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