Would the Mets trade Jacob deGrom, even if it means trading him to the Yankees? Sure they would. It doesn't mean Mets fans want that to happen. Doesn't mean I want it to happen. But the Mets once traded Tom Seaver, the best player they've ever had, after he'd won
Would the Mets trade Jacob deGrom, even if it means trading him to the Yankees? Sure they would. It doesn't mean Mets fans want that to happen. Doesn't mean I want it to happen. But the Mets once traded Tom Seaver, the best player they've ever had, after he'd won one World Series for them, helped pitch them to another, won 210 games in New York and had five 20-win seasons. Seaver was 33, four years older than deGrom is now, when the old Mets made one of the worst trades in baseball history and sent him to Cincinnati.
Still: If the Mets could trade The Franchise, they can trade deGrom. And they could get a whole lot more than they did for Seaver back in the day.
Of all the pitching stars in the history of the Mets, two stand out above all others: Seaver and Dwight Gooden, when Gooden was young. The Mets made a choice on Seaver, one that turned out to be a bad one. Gooden's own choices eventually landed him with the Yankees, for whom he pitched a no-hitter in 1996 and even started a game in the American League Division Series in '97, before he ended up out of baseball for good.
There have been other young star Mets pitchers since. None has been as talented as deGrom is right this minute. So there is a lot of chatter these days, and growing chorus, saying that not only should the Mets move deGrom, or Noah Syndergaard -- probably not both -- as a way of getting younger and better and replenishing a farm system that looks more like a roadside farm stand these days.
When the Mets played Game 5 of the 2015 World Series at home, the starter that night another star young pitcher -- Matt Harvey -- who has ended up in Cincinnati the way Seaver did. The next year, the Mets played themselves into the National League Wild Card Game against the Giants. Syndergaard got the ball in that one. The Mets lost to the Giants in the ninth inning that night. Since then, everything that could go wrong has gone wrong, which is why they are closer to the Marlins and last place in the NL East than they are to first place, despite an 11-1 start.
After this weekend's play, the Mets are nine games under .500 after 67 games. Their record since 11-1 is 18-37. That's hard to watch. It is why there is the chatter, is the growing chorus, about trading deGrom and hitting the reset button.
But would they trade deGrom to the Yankees? I believe they would. I also believe that the only way that they would deal deGrom to the Yanks, or Syndergaard, is this:
The Yankees would have to offer more than anybody else is offering. A lot more.
There would be no certainty that the Mets would be trading the Yankees into the World Series if they traded them deGrom. But when you look at the field in the AL, see where the Yanks and Red Sox are and the way the Astros have been playing lately -- they were just unbeaten on a 10-game road trip -- and the way the Mariners stubbornly refuse to go away, you can at least create a narrative in which deGrom really is the last piece for the Yankees the way Justin Verlander was for the Astros last season.
(Yankees fans, by the way, will always wonder how baseball history might have been altered, and pretty dramatically, if their team had gotten Verlander and not the Astros.)
The Cubs were willing to trade Gleyber Torres, among others, to the Yankees in 2016, even knowing how gifted Torres was. They made a calculation that the next 10 years or more of Torres were worth ending 108 years of waiting on the North Side of Chicago. They needed a closer, and they got one in Albertin Chapman by sending Torres to the Yanks.
The Mets wouldn't just want one prospect like Torres from the Yankees, or another team. They would want two. It is a lot to ask. But they know that deGrom might be well worth it to a contender, now that he has become one of the truly elite pitchers in the game, even with no record to show for it.
Would the Yankees trade Torres for deGrom? They would not. Would they be willing to trade Miguel Andujar, the other Baby Bomber in their infield? That is only slightly more likely. Andujar is 23. deGrom turns 29 on Tuesday. There are a lot of talented young infielders in baseball this time. There are far fewer ace starting pitchers like deGrom.
Somebody might be willing to give up a lot to get an arm like this. The Yanks sure might be willing. They have to know they would have to give up a lot more than everybody else. Think of it as just another big New York City tax.
You know Yankees fans would sign off on a deal like this in a New York minute. But would Mets fans? Would they be willing to help the Yanks to help save themselves? Yeah, it would be tough watching deGrom pitch in pinstripes. Just not as tough as watching their own team lately.
Mike Lupica is a columnist for MLB.com and the New York Daily News and is a best-selling author.