Grabbing a cost-controlled starter at the deadline always felt like a long shot for this particular Cubs team for a number of reasons (lack of prospect ammo, full rotation in the near-present and future, premium acquisition prices at the deadline, etc.). But it remained a possibility, nonetheless.
Indeed, as recently as this morning, Ken Rosenthal and Sahadev Sharma teased us with the possibility of the Cubs not just acquiring a cost-controlled starter before tomorrow’s deadline, but a top-of-the-rotation type at that. And maybe that’ll still happen!
But if it does, the Mets are signaling it won’t be from them:
Mets will keep deGrom, Syndergaard through deadline b/c they don't want to rebuild–which is also part of reason why they aren't lowering price on Wheeler. They intend to contend next year, and will need to round out their rotation, and looks like Wheeler will be part of it.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 30, 2018
When those Sharma/Rosenthal rumors came out this morning, our brains immediately lept to New York, where the Mets had a number of theoretically available front-of-the-rotation/cost-controlled starter types in Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, and (to a lesser extent) Zack Wheeler. Acquisition cost aside, Syndergaard and deGrom would easily slot into the top of the Cubs rotation, while Wheeler would’ve found a home somewhere. But according to Olney, they aren’t going anywhere.
To be clear, a move of this magnitude was always unlikely – at a minimum, the asking price was going to be prohibitively high for most teams – but now it sure sounds like the Mets have packed up their stand and are heading home.
But to be even more clear, I don’t really buy their reasoning. My guess is that the Mets were perfectly fine with moving one or more of those guys, but they just never got what they were looking for. So now they’re taking the opportunity to flex a belief in their team to their fans and generate some goodwill out of it. “SEE! WE’RE NOT REBUILDING!”
There are some related facts here, though. For one, not “rebuilding” might seem like a wise decision given the current trajectory of the Nationals, who may be losing Bryce Harper and a number of other key players at the end of the year. But at the same time the Braves and Phillies have officially arrived on the scene in the NL East, and should only get better while the Mets continue to straddle the line a bit. Beyond that, there’s also the lack of clarity at the top of the organization right now, and the difficulties/risks in making such a momentous move without a clear leader.
But whatever the arguments in either direction, this is where we are right now. The Mets are probably not moving deGrom, Syndergaard, or Wheeler, which would mean the Cubs are not trading for any of them.