LAS VEGAS — If you were surprised by the news that the Yankees and Mets were working together to try to pull off a three-team deal that would bring J.T. Realmuto to Flushing and send Noah Syndergaard to the Bronx, you weren’t alone.
According to two people who were in the Marlins’ suite at the time, they were completely “shocked” when the news was tweeted out late Monday night. The Marlins did not deny that the idea of a three-team deal with those players involved was talked about, but they spent most of the first night of the MLB Winter Meetings downplaying the prospects of that deal going through.
“The Mets-Marlins? A trade could happen there,” one source said, “but this three-team deal, that was maybe mentioned (to the Marlins)? I’d be shocked if that actually happened.”
Most of baseball would be shocked if it happened at this point, but it raises some interesting possibilities for both New York teams.
The Mets should definitely be listening to offers on Syndergaard, no matter the fan blowback. If they can get a quality major leaguer and good prospects in a deal for Syndergaard, they should not be afraid of pulling the trigger on that deal. Remember, they still have Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz with the ability to go out and buy another quality No. 4 starter on the free agent market.
Mets first-year GM Brodie Van Wagenen has been clear that he would need a perfect deal to consider moving a piece like Syndergaard, but he also said he is open to all possibilities.
“If we’re going to move a player of significance on our current roster, it’s going to put us in a position to win this year,” he said. “So, the flexibility remains the same as it has been from the beginning. We’re looking at any and all ways to get better.”
So then it makes sense that the Yankees should definitely be trying to engage the Mets in acquiring one of the top arms available on the trade market. Brian Cashman has not been shy about advertising to everyone in baseball he wants another quality starter and is actively working the free agent and trade markets.
“You’re always interested in acquiring an impact starter, whether it’s free agency or trade wise. If there’s an impact starter that’s available, period, it’s going to get your attention,” Cashman said. “Trying to…match up is a more difficult part of the process. But when there’s any of them that do become available, there’s a party line.”
And while this three-way, blockbuster deal was dying on the vine Tuesday, and we still are skeptical that they could agree to a big trade, the Mets and Yankees should have open dialogues about trades. It never made sense to limit the possibilities of improving each team because they were afraid of an angry fan base.
“I’ve been around a long time and I’ve done deals with the New York Mets in the past,” Cashman said. “Steve Phillips, Jim Duquette and Omar Minaya and I have matched up and done various deals before (Robin Ventura, Armando Benitez, Mike Stanton). So, anyway, I know every time you make decisions, whether it’s acquiring a free agent or matching up with a trade partner, none of them are ever easy. They’re very difficult because they’re educated leaps of faith. You have to obviously feel like you’re making good, sound decisions but there’s always that risk when you’re making them.
“But that’s why you have so many conversations and explore all opportunities and options.”
As of Tuesday night, however, all the options were still on the table. The bottom line is the Yankees and Mets have done a lot of talking, but they were left with the same holes on their rosters they came to the Mandalay Bay Resorts and Casino this week looking to address.
The Mets are looking to upgrade behind the plate and are still aggressively pursuing Realmuto, but have made contact with representatives of 30-year-old free agent Yasmani Grandal, a source confirmed. They were also expected to meet with free agent catcher Wilson Ramos, who is at the Winter meetings.
“At this point we have a variety of ways to accomplish it and we’re exploring them,” Van Wagenen said.
And Cashman continues to be aggressively working every angle to find a starter — even if that means he may have to part with a talented, young and controllable major league player. He confirmed reports that teams have been asking for American League rookie of the Year finalist Miguel Andujar in trade talks — and the Yankees are listening.
“I’d rather say some are more touchable than others,” Cashman said when asked if the third baseman is off the table. “But Andujar is part of a young nucleus of players that we’re excited about and obviously we don’t get to 100 wins without…I feel the booster rockets of Andujar and (Gleyber) Torres at third and second last year really propelled us in the second half and hit that win column all the way to 100.