As the MLB trade deadline approaches, the New York Mets have two main trading chips. One is veteran starter Bartolo Colon, and the other is their deep contingent of young pitching prospects. Trading away Colon might paint the Mets more as sellers, but by trading away either the Mets would be hoping to bring back a young position player to help them make a playoff push this season and help them become a contender in 2015 and beyond. Trading away either Colon or young pitchers would be fine, but the Mets can’t do both.
It makes a lot of sense for the Mets to trade Colon, which is why he’s rumored to be their most likely player to be moved before the deadline, but there are also good reasons why they shouldn’t. Colon is under contract for next season, and even though the Mets could easily fill out a five-man rotation without him using pitchers like Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Jon Niese, Dillon Gee, Jacob deGrom, as well as prospects like Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero, the Mets could use a veteran like Colon to help stabilize their rotation. That’s especially true if they make a serious playoff push, which they obviously hope to do. In that sense, it could make more sense to trade some of their young pitchers for the chance to land an impact bat and take their chances with the ageless Colon next season.
If the Mets were to use one of their young pitchers like Wheeler, deGrom or Syndergaard as a trade chip, they’ll have to hang on to Colon. It’s well known that the Mets have a deep contingent of pitching prospects, which will allow them to trade one or two of their pitchers if the opportunity to trade for an impact position player comes along. But if the rash of injuries to pitchers this season, specifically pitchers undergoing Tommy John surgery, has taught us anything, it’s that there’s no such thing as too much pitching.
Even trading away one or two of their young pitchers could be rolling the dice if the Mets were to be hit with injuries to their rotation next season. In that sense, it could make more sense to trade Colon, whose effectiveness is almost inexplicable considering his age, and take their chances with their young power arms.
Obviously, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson will have to weigh the risks of both of these approaches as the trade deadline approaches, because despite a seemingly excess of pitching, the Mets can’t afford to trade away Colon and one of their young pitchers without risking their chances of competing in 2015. It’s important that Alderson realizes that it’s one or the other: The Mets can either trade Colon or one of their top pitching prospects, but they can’t trade both.