Mets in the market for an ace like Cole Hamels or Zack Greinke?

The Mets are 42-36 as the All Star break draws nearer.  It’s become clear that they will be in the market for one or more relievers, with their eyes on a closer who might be more effective than the hit-or-miss Frank Francisco.  They also need to be a little worried about the rotation as pitchers like Gee and Young cannot be counted on long-term and Johan’s arm is not going to last forever.  Before we focus on what could be, let us focus on all the good things that ARE.

Storylines: 

Now… let’s take a peak at what COULD be if the Mets were to jump into the starting pitcher market in search of… and Ace.  In my estimation, there are three Aces who will be available:  Cole Hamels, Zack Greinke and Jake Peavy.  There are a number of other quality arms but those are the BIG IMPACT names on the market right now.

Cole Hamels: Born in 1983, the 6’3” lefty has been a Philly his entire career.  He came up in 2006 to some fanfare and proceeded to improve his game in 2007 and 2008.  2009 was a stumble of a season for Hamels whose ERA rose above 4.00 for the first time since his rookie campaign.  Since 2010 he’s righted the ship and continues to be one of the most consistent Aces in the game of baseball at the crisp young age of 28.

Why We Want Him:  Hamels is, HANDS DOWN, the best pitcher who might be on the market.  He’s a lefty with great stuff and he’d be coming from a division rival.  Hamels could even re-sign with the Mets but after a number of things he’s said in the past… that might not be realistic.

What It Would Cost:  The Phillies nightmare scenario is that they trade Cole Hamels to the Mets, get prospects that don’t achieve and Cole helps the Mets win now… AND re-signs.  For this reason, the Phillies would want MORE from the Mets than from other teams outside the National League East.  The question becomes: What is a pitcher in his walk year worth?  I think that the Mets could afford to part with Reese Havens who might still be attractive to the Phils who are staring at the reality of the twilight of Chase Utley’s career.  That is only a smaller part of a larger deal.  The larger part would likely have to be one of the Mets 4 big pitchers or two more notable prospects from deeper in the minors.

Opinion:  I refuse to trade any of the big 4 for anyone this season.  The chances of them all succeeding are low but you also want to have better odds of one (or more) of them succeeding with the Mets by having them all still with the Mets come 2013.  If the Phillies would take Havens, Tapia and Gorski/Cohoon for the Hamels rental, I’d do it.  I don’t think he’d be that cheap.  I would bet the Phillies would demand AT LEAST Familia or Mejia.  When it comes to that… I would only trade if Hamels would re-sign with the Mets before the deal processed.

Zack Greinke: Slightly older (2 months) than Hamels, Greinke is the second best option in terms of talent.  That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s the second best option for the Mets though.  Greinke came up in 2004 and had a little Rookie of Year hype.  He lost to Bobby Crosby… go figure.  2005 was a rough year and in 2006 he spent most of the year in the minors but by 2007 he seemed to turn the corner into a steady MLB pitcher who had some potential for strikeouts.  2009 was THE year for Zack who seemed to come out of nowhere and turn into a Cy Young overnight.  He hasn’t recaptured that magical season but since that point he’s certainly been an Ace.

Why We Want Him: He’s a definite Ace who the Mets could count on every 5th day.  He also might be more likely to re-up with the Mets beyond 2012.  That is the biggest reason that the Mets might be more intrigued by Greinke than Hamels.

What It Would Cost: Center Field is a perpetual hole for the Brewers so… Matt Den Dekker might be a name that intrigues them, I just don’t know of Matt would be enough of a star prospect to headline the deal.  More likely we are again talking about one of the big 4 pitchers (Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia).  The smallest package I could imagine involves Collin McHugh, Matt Den Dekker and another farther away prospect.

Opinion: You still cannot trade one of the big 4 and not have a guarantee that Zack will return beyond 2012.  I might not even trade Den Dekker without that kind of assurance.  The reality is… the Mets weren’t supposed to be nearly this good in 2012 and sacrificing our future for a 2012 run is just too risky.

Jake Peavy:  Slightly older, Jake Peavy has certainly recaptured the old hype he used to have in San Diego.  Chris Young’s former rotation buddy has a sub 3.00 ERA and over 90 K’s on the season.  He’s also expensive and significantly more of an injury risk.  There is a team option the Mets would be wise to decline of $22 Mil, but that isn’t to say Peavy might not be wooed into re-signing with the Mets beyond the 2012 season.

Why We Want Him:  He’s an Ace and he’s pitching like it.  His ERA+ (One of the more magical statistics) is 150, only 8 points lower than his Cy Young year of 2007.  Add that Citi Field would be a better fit for him and that he’d get to pitch to pitchers again and who knows…

What It Would Cost: The key with Peavy is that he’d be cheaper, no question.  Sure the White Sox will expect 2+ quality prospects but the Mets could cross off: Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Wilmer Flores, Jeurys Familia, Jenrry Mejia and Matt Den Dekker off the list and still be in the discussion.  I would start the offer with Collin McHugh and another solid mid-tier prospect like Jordany Valdespin, Juan Lagares or Jefry Marte and see what feedback I got from Chicago.  Peavy’s price is going to scare away some suitors and the Wilpons are eager to prove to New York fans that they are still willing to act like New York is a big market city (at least I hope they would be).

Opinion: Here I think is the Met’s best chance to land an Ace to solidify their rotation.  I would happily move Gee into reliefand run out Peavy, Santana, Dickey, Niese Young as my starting 5.  In fact if you switch to a 4 man rotation in the playoffs… that front four is pretty slick.  The other thing to keep in mind is that the Mets could go on a losing streak and not look at themselves as buyers at all.  Sigh…

20 comments for “Mets in the market for an ace like Cole Hamels or Zack Greinke?

  1. Joe Gomes
    June 30, 2012 at 11:27 am

    Earth to David, Earth to David…..Please wake up…you’re having a nightmare. There is NO WAY that the Mets will trade their few bright prospects for a rental that would cost over 120M to sign. Why do you think the Phillies would trade Hamels? because he wants CC’s type money and they don’t want to pay that much.

    Somehow you think the cheap Wilpons who would not pay Reyes are going to pay for Hamels when they have Wright’s contract coming up? Ditto for Greinke. The Wilpons are more likely to trade Wright than to trade and sign someone like Hamels.

    • David Groveman
      July 2, 2012 at 9:07 am

      Somehow people think I am way more serious about this.

      Guys, I try to post things that encourage debate and get everyone a little riled up. Let’s enjoy ourselves.

  2. Mack Ade
    June 30, 2012 at 11:29 am

    Morning David.

    I can’t see changing the rotation right now. Frankly, Young and Gee are putting up numbers better than most SP4-5′s on team.

    I can see a small deal for a RP/8th inning guy until Frank2 returns. I’d leave Parnell as closer until then and build him some garbanzas.

    Trade pool (pick 1 from column A): Marte, Valdespin, Satin, Tovar, Vaughn

    (pick one from column B): McHugh, Owen, Cohoon, Olsen, Egbert, Germen, Peavey, Holt (please), Moore, Edgar Ramirez, Ozga, Fishr, Rivera, Sandoval, Shields, Pena, Torres, Tuisasopo, Lewis, Reyes, Martin, Zapata, Lagares, Harris, R. Fernandez

    • David Groveman
      July 2, 2012 at 9:09 am

      Mack,

      You are correct. My worries center on Young and Santana’s health and the lack of a reasonable backup in AAA.

      • 7train
        July 2, 2012 at 1:30 pm

        A trade of 3 players we may have liked to keep on the 40 man roster but won’t have the room in exchange for half a season of Hamels and 2 early round draft choices who won’t have to be on the 40 for 3-4 years might be worthwhile but there are numerous guys I wouldn’t include and the guys I would could be potentially really useful in 2013-2020 for us instead of having to face them 18 times a year.

        Even a deal of Gorski, Centeno, Marte and Havens could really help keep Philly above water for their up and coming young pitching

        Just not worth it for half a year of Hamels and two early round draft choices. Let ‘em crumble, take the picks and hopefully bust on both while we live with what we have this year. Pick up a relief rental and see what is out there in December.

  3. June 30, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    Couple of thoughts:
    1. No way Phillies trade their young stud to a rival, let alone a division opponent. I’d only send them Manny Acosta or Jason Bay if I was Sandy Alderson.
    2. Greinke has major anxiety issues. Not sure NYC would be good for him even if we had the resources to obtain him.
    3. Peavy certainly looks the most obtainable of the three, but I’m not sure I’d mess with a rotation as good as ours. Besides, who’s to say Gee or Young in the bullpen would be just as effective? The only arguments that could win me over is either a six-man rotation or making one of the starters a multi-inning reliever who pitches every game.
    4. Front office really needs to put resources into upgrading bullpen and adding another RH bat.

    • NormE
      June 30, 2012 at 12:57 pm

      I agree with Mike K. In addition, the Mets don’t operate in a vacuum. If the player is attractive (and starting pitching is always attractive)
      other teams will be in the hunt. What might they offer and do they have more to offer than the Mets? Good starting pitching is always
      a market priority and does not come cheap.

  4. Andrew
    June 30, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    Mets don’t need a starter. They might need a bullpen pitcher (I think the bullpen can turn it around after being victimized by poor defense, bad umpiring, Yankee home runs, and ineptitude) but I think that Ramirez, Parnell, and Rauch will be fine in the future.

    I LOVE the rotation at the moment. Dickey, Santana, Gee, Niese, and Young. Young can be as good as a number two starter anywhere in the league, and when Santana is number two, the Mets have a great rotation. Now, I want to see more consistency out of Gee and Niese, but they have been doing that as of late. The Mets are hitting right now and I think they have a bright future.

    • David Groveman
      July 2, 2012 at 9:10 am

      Come back to me with what happens if Young or Santana wind up on the DL.

  5. Frank
    June 30, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    These above posters mentioned everything i want to.
    Phillies WILL NOT trade Cole Hamels to the mets unless we are stupid and decide to massively overpay.
    Greinke can’t handle NYC and so i don’t want him here.
    Peavy is realistic, but like another poster said, we need BULLPEN help and RH bat before we consider SP.

    All in all, this is one of the more poorly written articles here.

    • July 1, 2012 at 2:45 am

      While I’m glad you and I agree on several points, can’t we all just disagree respectfully? Who knows, maybe Young hits the DL after they trade for BP and bench help ::fingers crossed that I didn’t just jinx him::

      • David Groveman
        July 2, 2012 at 9:21 am

        Thanks Mike,

        People can say what they like and be as insulting as they want. It doesn’t really say much good about them when they do.

    • David Groveman
      July 2, 2012 at 9:12 am

      Thanks for your opinion Frank.

      I see you share my penchant for CAPITAL LETTERS.

      In the blogging world… sometimes you post things you know will get a reaction. Kinda like when I blogged about Manny Ramirez.

      Try to smile a bit more today.

      K?

      • Frank
        July 2, 2012 at 3:12 pm

        Sorry if you were offended, but before reading your article i had read a few other articles pointing out “trade help” and they were also mostly filled with less than stellar information and i guess i was sick of reading about subpar articles and decided to take out my anger here.

        At least you have the balls and the energy to blog and post.

        • David Groveman
          July 2, 2012 at 3:18 pm

          Thanks Frank,

          No worries. When I am posting trade ideas I’m trying to be as creative as I can and as different as I can.

          The Mets COULD technically add an Ace. It was something I thought worthy of discussion, right?

          • Frank
            July 2, 2012 at 3:44 pm

            In my opinion, i don’t think the Mets have a chance at Hamels, but i’d love to get a Phillies fan opinion on whether they’d be willing to trade Hamels to mets and what they would expect in terms of prospects.

            I guess reading about something different is better than reading about the same content over and over again. And being optimistic isn’t bad because i just read an article on how Turner sucked balls and needed to be DFA (I think Turner has been great in his time with the Mets) and i just wanted to scream at that author.

  6. Metsense
    June 30, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    The Mets need a solid end of the bullpen man because it is unknown how long and if Fransisco heals from the oblique. If the Mets are picking up salary then the 4.5M spent on Street would solidify their hold on the wildcard spot. Second tier minor league pitching may do the deal. Money and future prospects would be poorly spent on an ace (even aces don’t usually pitch complete games)when the need in the bullpen is so desperate. They should also try to move a middle infielder for another veteran bullpen arm. Starting pitching is in the minors primed for 2013 and 2014 but if a starter went down, Harvey or Mejia would be moved up early as they are almost ready now.

    • David Groveman
      July 2, 2012 at 9:15 am

      Harvey and Mejia are the two guys who would be moved up, the question was more hypothetical. People need to stop assuming I’m as serious as they apparently think I am.

  7. Dan Stack
    July 2, 2012 at 5:20 am

    Just curious, but why would the White Sox deal Peavy. Arent they in contention for the playoffs?

    • David Groveman
      July 2, 2012 at 9:14 am

      You are right Dan, I was basing this purely on players in walk years and didn’t check all of the standings. That is my bad. Can’t follow all the MiLB affiliates and the AL Central apparently.

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