An instant poll of Mets fans suggest their team did not have a shot against the Yankees even with Jacob deGrom starting Friday night. After all, the Mets have lost six of their eight starts from their ace, so it’s hard to blame them for feeling that way.
It turned out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. deGrom pitched another excellent game, but once again, he was the losing pitcher in the Mets’ 4-1 loss to the Yankees at Citi Field.
Here’s why the Mets fans expected this outcome: The Mets have not hit well when he started. Shoot, they haven’t hit well no matter who was on the mound for the Mets. The Mets starters have to pitch perfect to be in a position to win a game, and that was the unenviable task deGrom had against the mighty Yankees. For five innings, he was just that, but then he gave up the tying run in the sixth inning and then a two-run home run to Brett Gardner in the eighth inning to give the Yankees a 3-1 lead.
When Brandon Nimmo hit a leadoff home run to give the Mets an 1-0 lead in the first inning, deGrom had to know this is the best it was going to get for him. He couldn’t expect his slumping teammates to keep hitting. After all, this was a team that scored two runs in the last 42 innings prior to Friday’s night game against the Yankees. He had to be perfect the rest of the way, and he did not get it done. He lost control of the strike zone in the sixth inning, and the Yankees were able to do what they do best, which is fouling off pitches.
The Mets’ inability to give deGrom and their other starters run support suggests they don’t have the hitters that can take good at-bats or get a big hit. This is what happens when the Mets have so many hitters that are in their 30s, and this is what happens when they have young players that are not ready to play in the Major Leagues such as Amed Rosario.
It’s no wonder baseball experts want the Mets to consider trading deGrom and Noah Syndergaard to get young players that are ready to play in the Major Leagues. This farm system and this roster need replenishing in the worst way.
Trading Syndergaard shouldn’t be a problem because he is not durable, though teams that want his service would doubt his ability to be healthy. His start for Sunday was scratched because his index finger flared up following a game of catch. He is good, but he is not as good as deGrom. He is not a starter that can go deep in games. He might fetch something good.
Trading deGrom is another question. The Mets are damned if they trade him and damned if they don’t. They need to trade him and get some good young players in return, so the Mets can build around them. But here’s the problem with this idea: There’s no guarantee that the prospects or young players will develop with the Mets. Plus, if they trade their star, what’s the incentive of going to Citi Field to watch the Mets?
deGrom is one of the best starters the Mets ever have. Right there with Dwight Gooden and Tom Seaver. He still has two years to go until he becomes a free agent, so there shouldn’t be any rush to trade him. Trading him for the sake of trading him would be an irrational move that serves no purpose for the Mets. If they trade him, they better be sure they know what they are getting.
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson may have a hard time trading him since he has no idea how to determine who’s talented. Outside of trading R.A. Dickey for Syndergaard and Travis d’Arnaud, he has not made great trades that made the team better. He is also deliberate when it comes to making moves. He may not want to be the guy that wants to trade deGrom. Even the Wilpons would be hard-pressed to make a franchise-changing move since they would be criticized for failing the Mets that facilitate them to make this move.
There are no easy answers for the Mets. This is not a good baseball team when the Mets starters have to be perfect to be in this game. They can’t stand pat when they have become predictable of losing games since they can’t hit.
Logic says the Mets should do something when they have lost seven straight and 12 of 14. Losing nine consecutive home games for the first time since 2012 suggests action has to be taken.
deGrom or any other Mets starter should not be forced to pitch a perfect game just to avoid a no-decision.