The New York Yankees and New York Mets are two of the most polarizing teams in baseball this season. The Yankees always have the spotlight on them, but fans came into this season knowing it was going to be a transitional season. Thanks to an eight-game winning streak early in the season and promising starts from Aaron Judge, Luis Severino, and veterans such as Jacoby Ellsbury and Chase Headley, fans are thinking the transition is not going to take long.
For the Mets, their excellent starting pitching, as expected, has been the backbone of their team. It has been the Mets offense that has been dragging the team down this early in the season. We knew Yoenis Cespedes was going to be their best hitter and fans are happy that Jay Bruce finally looks like the hitter he was with the Reds for eight years instead of the one he was with for the Mets last year. Michael Conforto is excelling in his new leadoff role, but as long as Terry Collins feels loyal to Curtis Granderson, he will have to juggle four outfielders.
One weakness that Sandy Alderson may have to confront soon is Jose Reyes’ glaring struggles. Reyes is batting .104 at the time of this article, which would be a benchable offense on any other team. Two other positions the Mets can address could be catcher and the bullpen. Travis d’Arnaud sometimes shows flashes of being a serviceable hitter, but most Mets fans are over him. As for the bullpen, which contending team will ever reject more guns in the bullpen?
Now let’s get one thing clear, the Mets and Yankees never, ever, trade with another. Their last trade was in 2014, when the Mets sent the oh so memorable Gonzalez German to the Yankees for straight cash money. The last time these two teams traded before then? 2004, when the Yankees received Mike Stanton for Felix Heredia. The biggest trade these teams have ever made was the 2003 trade where the Mets sent Robin Ventura to the Bronx for David Justice in return, who was traded to Oakland seven days later.
A few players have changed teams but stayed in the Big Apple during the offseason, with of course Curtis Granderson being the most notable and impactful. Miguel Cairo bounced back and forth with the two clubs in the mid 2000s, Karim Garcia signed with the Mets after his short stint with the Yanks, and Pedro Feliciano had no impact on the Yankees after he left the Mets.
Do Brian Cashman and Sandy Alderson even have each other’s number? Who knows, but they could strike up a deal that could be beneficial for both teams. I’m not going to spew trades that you would make in MLB The Show with the force trade options on. Here are a few players and prospects that are totally off limits and make zero sense.
Prospects And Young Players:
These eight player represent the future of New York baseball. Judge, Bird, and Sanchez are already performing at a Major League level, and the Yankees will be the sellers in this situation, not the buyers. They are looking to build an even stronger farm system, even if it’s not with the brightest prospects in a team’s system. Frazier and Torres are two of the top prospects in baseball and aren’t going anywhere.
For the Mets to bring on any of the Yankees, they are going to have to part with prospects, but they certainly won’t be Rosario or Smith. These two can honestly be called up at anytime this season and it would be to no surprise. They aren’t for sale and are definitely not for Yankees.
If the Mets traded away a prospect that went on to become an extremely productive or an All-Star player on the other side of town, it could burn them for nearly a decade. It goes the same way for the Yankees, as they would never give up too much to the Mets for a mid-level to even high prospect. It’s an awkward tango, which is why it has never really happened before.
So just to make this all clear, here are three pillars on why the Mets and Yankees never trade.
- They don’t want to be the reason the other makes it over the hump. Too much pride and lashback from fans and the media if they help their crosstown rival win, especially if the prospect turns out to be a dud.
- It’s the same reason the other way, the team that gives up the prospect can come out big losers, while that prospect becomes a star on the other side of town. Fans would never forgive them.
- They probably don’t like each other. They fight for the same eyeballs, same media attention, same back pages, and will forever have the big brother-little brother aspect. They have little incentive to help one another, whether it be short-term or long-term, as it could blow up in their faces and face humiliation for years to come.
I’ve laid down the foundation on why this will probably never happen and how it has to be realistic. Here’s a few scenarios I came up with.
Chase Headley and Jorge Mateo for Zack Wheeler
There are two variables that have to continue happening for this even gain a little traction. A) Chase Headley has to continue his hot start and B) the Mets’ dark hole at third base isn’t solved. Headley right now is batting .339, which any team could obviously use out of a switch-hitting third baseman, but this is such an outlier in his career. Headley’s best season came in 2012 with the Padres, where he bet .286 and led the NL with 115 RBIs. Since coming to the Yankees, Headley has batted .262, .259, and .252, which isn’t much to rave about.
However, if Headley’s average comes all the way down to around .280, maybe even .270, is still makes him an extremely hot trade commodity. Headley’s salary for this season is set for $13 million, with the same price tag coming in his last year in 2018. That could be a hold up in any trade for Headley, but if the Yankees feel like they are getting a decent return, they would probably eat a portion of his remaining salary.
For Mateo, he could be the odd man out in the Yankees’ infield. Let’s shake the crystal ball and imagine Gleyber Torres at second base, Didi Gregorius at short and Manny Machado at third. If you don’t want to get to ahead of yourself, let’s throw Didi and Torres on the left side of the diamond and Castro still at second base for the rest of his contract, that still leaves Mateo out. Mateo is one of the fastest players in the minor leagues and holds great value as a trade piece because of it.
The Yankees’ farm system is filled with position players, but has very little pitching. If the Mets feel like Headley fills a big need for a World Series run, and that Mateo could be useful with his speed, they will have to give up either Wheeler or Matz. The Yankees need young pitching and that is exactly what these two represent, but they do come with huge injury concerns.
This could be a fair trade for both sides, as the only Yankees’ starters under contract for next year are Luis Severino and Jordan Montgomery. The Yankees need young guns and the Mets need a third baseman. In this scenario, the Yanks would take on some of the money to relieve the Mets, while the Mets let go one of their pieces for a chance to upgrade their team now. The obvious risks are that Headley cannot hit like this for the whole season and that either Wheeler or Matz become a bonafide front end starter for a crosstown rival.
Matt Harvey for Dellin Betances and Austin Romine
Mets fans have long expected that Matt Harvey will leave their team in the dust for the Evil Empire after the 2018 season (Attending Jeter’s last game at Yankee Stadium didn’t make any Mets fans happy). As a Scott Boras client, many believe he will take the most money on the table and that team will be the Yankees. Injuries and a performance drop has slowed down the Harvey hype train, but he has bounced back nicely this year.
After an ugly arbitration feud, the writing could be on the wall when it comes to Betances’ future in pinstripes. Betances is a special player and one of the best relievers in the game, but could be replaceable. Starting pitching is simply more valuable and the Yankees need frontend starting pitching. If Harvey is back to form, he can be that guy for the Yankees.
The Yankees would need either a kind of an under the table guarantee that they would re-sign Harvey or feel really confident they can do so. The Yankees also sweeten the deal with Austin Romine, who could be their answer at catcher. The gem of this deal would be Betances, giving the Mets a lethal 1-2 bunch in him and Jeurys Familia. They can potentially cut the game down to seven innings with that duo, and with guys like Syndergaard and deGrom, that could be a deadly recipe come playoff time.
Brett Gardner for Steven Matz
It’s no secret that the Mets need a leadoff hitter badly. They seem to have found one in Michael Conforto, but let’s see how that is working out in two weeks or a month from now. If Conforto’s success continues, then it is case closed. However, if the Mets are back to square one, then a trade for Brett Gardner makes sense.
This trade would force the Mets to make a decision on Curtis Granderson, since Gardner would take his position in his scenario. The Yankees could take Granderson back since this is the last year of his contract, but they could simply call up Clint Frazier if they feel he is ready. For Matz, this goes back to the idea that the Yankees need arms and Matz would fill a need. Since Matz comes with more injury risks than Wheeler, the Yankees do not need to add in a prospect or need to take on money, since Gardner is worth his $11.5 million salary in 2018.