Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Tulowitzki to Mets Trade Will Wait til Offseason

There is a flawed sense of destiny flowing from somewhere in New York right about now. That flawed feeling is emanating from tiny Citi Field in Queens, New York. Yes, the pit of hopeless dreams, invisible fans, and bad baseball, the New York Mets think they are players again.

Specifically, the New York Mets "think" they are now ready to make a big time splash and land either or both Colorado Rockies superstars Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez.

Years ago such a notion would be a move that former GM Omar Minaya would get done in his sleep, no matter how deep it would plunge the Mets into salary cap hell. Yet here were are at a crossroads in the Sandy Alderson era. Are the Mets really ready to spend big bucks? Are the Wilpons ready to open the safes and checkbooks again after watching them get burned by Bernie Madoff and a bad product on the field?

Well, if the rumors that have run rampant this week are true, then the answer is, YES! The Mets want to make a move, but according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, such a move probably won't happen until the off-season, after talks "never got off the ground."

Any thought of bringing in one or two great players should bring about a lot of cheer, and hope, but this feels more like a desperate attempt by a bad franchise to gain attention when there's nothing to talk about.

For starters, both Tulowitzki and Gonzalez are under contract; meaning that if the Mets were to acquire them, they would be on the hook for the remainder of their long term deals, something the Wilpon's have been hesitant about committing to in the recent past.

How about this tidbit. Tulowitzki is owed a minimum of $118 millon through 2020, and Gonzalez is owed $53 million over the next three seasons, starting in 2015. That's $171 million in contracts on two players, who are not always sure bets to stay healthy throughout a season. Both Gonzalez and Tulowitzki have spent significant time on the DL this season. The Mets who have been pinching pennies since 2009 are not going to suddenly change course and spend like bandits again.

Those days are over. The Wilpon's have run this franchise like a defacto small market club. They are running it they way they have always envisioned since they got full control in the early 00's. It took Minaya to convince them to spend in 2005, and Alderson is not as persuasive as Minaya was.

In addition, the Rockies want a kings ransom for one or both players. The Mets who have a plethora of young starting pitchers probably would have to part with Noah Syndergaard, along with Rafael Montero, Jacob DeGrom, among others.

There was speculation that the Mets would be willing to trade a prospect like Syndergaard, but that would mean they are sold on the likes of Jon Niese and Dillon Gee at the major league level. Which, if they were smart, they should not be.

While the Mets say they are willing to part ways with their prospects, I will believe it when I see it. Eventually the Mets will trade a few of their top guys, but I highly doubt Syndergaard will be involved, unless a team like the Rockies is desperate.

That's the key word there, the Rockies are in no rush to trade Tulowitzki. He is the face of their franchise, and people come out to Rockies game to see him. Trading him would be viewed as a PR disaster in Colorado. 

Finally here is the 3,000 pound gorrilla in the room: are the Mets ready to contend? Acquiring Tulowitzki and Gonzalez would be a great move for a team like the Yankees, or the Pirates, or the Orioles, Tigers, A's, Giants -- you get the picture -- teams that are really ready to contend for a championship.

The Mets are not a player or two away from being NL East championship contenders. They are not even a player away from being a .500 team. This club has struggled to stay within five or six games under .500 all season. They have had their ups and downs all year, but really are not making much progress.

The Mets will head into 2015 having to answer this question about whether they believe that the DeGrom's, Gee's Niese's, Wheeler's, Duda's and D'Arnout's of the world are indeed the pieces to the puzzle. In other words the same questions they had coming into this year. David Wright will be 32 years old, his prime is over, and he's now on the downside of his career. Curtis Granderson is not in his prime either.

The only shinning light for the Mets is the pending return of Matt Harvey, and possibly the call up of Syndergaard. But that is not enough to make me believe that this team will make a leap from playing .470 ball to playing .570 or better in 2015. In the NFL, teams can go from being sub .500 to Super Bowl contenders with the flick of a wrist. That world doesn't exist in Major League Baseball.

Tulowitzki, 29, and Gonzalez, 28, are no spring chickens. They want to be on a winner. Tulowitzki has gone as far as to say he wants out of Colorado so he can play for a team that has a shot at a World Series ring. The Mets are still light-years away from even being a wild card team.

In another time, there would be no question that the Mets should pursue these two guys, but until they actually show a true commitment to winning, don't bet on it.

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