By Ed Coleman
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NEW YORK (WFAN) — It looks like the trading deadline will come and go, and the Mets will be neither buyers nor sellers. General manager Sandy Alderson met with the media on Monday, and spoke about what the team might or might not do by Thursday.
But what about Colorado Rockies sluggers Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez?
More on them later.
Alderson has been pretty pleased with the way the Mets have been playing — the last homestand, the recent three-city, umpteen-time-zone road trip, the fact that they’ve won 13 of 19 and are 11-3 in their last 14 at Citi Field.
As far as what teams are looking for from the Mets when it comes to trade talk, I think we can all spell this together: an eight-letter word that begins with “P.”
Alderson, however, disputes the notion that the Mets’ farm system is barren in position players. The GM asserts that the tide has turned in that regard.
The Bartolo Colon situation is an intriguing one. Colon won again on Monday night, giving up a lot of hits, yet keeping the Phillies off the board until the eighth inning. This followed 6 2/3 no-hit innings against Seattle last Wednesday. Colon has 10 wins, basically 20 percent of the Mets’ total for the season. You can trade him now, trade him before the waiver deadline at the end of August, or wait until the off-season to deal him. The latter seems to be Alderson’s preference at the moment.
I think he’s absolutely right for a couple of reasons. No. 1, Colon will cost $11 million next season, very affordable if he continues to pitch this way. The Mets would probably love to have that money to spend on other needs, primarily because of their great depth in young starting pitching. And there will be more teams bidding in the offseason, which may very well drive up the demand for reliable low-cost pitchers. And No. 2, if you keep Colon, it can help you manage the innings limits on some of your young pitchers, like Jacob deGrom, or Noah Syndegaard if (and more probably when) he is called up. He becomes a hedge against overuse in any particular situation.
Alderson certainly sounds like he intends to keep the rotund pitcher around for the foreseeable future.
And then there’s the Tulowitzki soap opera. (Oh, look, there’s Tulo in the Acela Club!) Alderson was asked if instead of trading prospects piecemeal for certain needs, had he considered or would he be willing to go all in. Would he trade several prospects for the big deal, and go after the big fish?
Sounds like a man willing to gamble, doesn’t it? But also, right time, right player, right circumstance. Not sure if the oft-injured Tulowitzki fits those parameters. Tulo will cost you $114 million for the next six years (five at $20 million and one at $14 million), plus $15 million or a $4-million buyout for 2021. Not exactly the kind of contract Alderson (three years, maybe you can squeeze me for a fourth) historically favors.
But then there’s Carlos Gonzalez.
My sources tell me that if the Mets are looking at a Rockie, they lean toward Gonzalez (also oft-injured) as opposed to Tulowitzki. The Mets need a shortstop and a corner outfielder with pop.
I like CarGo. I don’t love him, for several reasons.
Everyone always says CarGo has a very affordable contract, and at 7 years, $80 million, it certainly sounds that way. It averages out to about $11.5 million per year — that sounds great! He’s making $10.5 million this season. And if Colorado trades CarGo, it will have definitely got the better of the deal financially. The remaining three years on his deal are at $16, $17 and $20 million — back-loaded to the hilt. In other words, basically 2/3 of the money ($53 million) in the seven-year deal is due in the last three years of the contract.
The other factor — like Tulo — CarGo is often sidelined. He had a tremendous 2010 season — 34 home runs and 117 RBIs. Since then, he has not hit 30 homers nor has he knocked in 100 runs. This season he has played in 63 of Colorado’s 105 games. He’s averaged 124 games per season. You need a little more in my estimation.
But the other thing to consider is this: if you like CarGo, and believe he can stay healthy, are you going to find a free-agent outfielder at three years (Alderson’s type of contract), $53 million on the market? After you anted up four years, $60 million for Curtis Granderson this past off-season? Maybe, but not likely.
These are tough choices, but ones the Mets have to get right moving forward with all their good young arms.
C U soon
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