By Steve Kallas
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With the non-waiver trade deadline fast approaching and GM Sandy Alderson making cryptic remarks — are the Mets buyers, sellers or neither? — the Mets should obviously be looking towards 2015 and should not weaken their 2014 team by trading either Bartolo Colon or Daniel Murphy. Multiple reports have suggested that the Mets are trying to trade Colon, but there seems to be no serious takers.
If the Mets want to be a playoff team next year, Colon can and should be a big part of that.
BARTOLO COLON: ROCK OF THE STAFF
While Colon’s numbers haven’t been great this year (10-8, 3.88 ERA, 1.165 WHIP), they haven’t been awful either. Colon can lead this staff by example and, when you look forward to next year, the Mets will need what the former Cy Young Award winner and playoff-experienced pitcher has. He leads by example, eats innings and can still pitch a big game if needed.
Colon’s last two starts have been ultra-impressive: On July 23 in Seattle, Colon retired the first 20 batters he faced and beat the Mariners, 3-2. He gave up up two runs on three hits in 7 1/3 innings. And on Monday, he held the Phillies scoreless for 7 2/3 innings and got the win.
While many say this has only increased his trade value — Colon has one year left on his two-year, $20 million deal — these starts should have the Mets thinking twice about trading him.
Next year, the Mets — if healthy — will have an excellent pitching staff. But they need that guy who can eat innings and win a big game. Oh, and a guy who has pitched in the playoffs and has a Cy Young Award to his name.
That guy is Colon.
If Matt Harvey comes back healthy next year, he obviously is the No. 1 starter. And the Mets do have an abundance of pitching.
With Jacob deGrom looking like the real deal, Jon Niese and Dillon Gee providing a veteran presence and Zach Wheeler continuing to blossom — plus the emergence of Noah Syndergaard and/or Rafael Montero the future is bright.
But of all the ifs and maybes, the one guy who you can hang your hat on to pitch well consistently is Colon.
They simply shouldn’t trade him.
DANIEL MURPHY: PROFESSIONAL HITTER
Say whatever you want about Murphy as a second baseman, but the reality is that on a team with very few professional hitters and virtually no hitters who can hit for average, Murphy stands alone.
When I was asked numerous times earlier in the season about whether the Mets should trade Murphy, the answer was simple: 188 hits. In 2012, Daniel Murphy hit .286 (658 at-bats) with a very respectable 13 homers, 78 RBIs and 23 stolen bases. He also played 161 games.
This year isn’t much different.
Murphy is hitting .295 with eight homers and 42 RBIs with a little more than two months left in the season. You would hope that his OBP would get better — it’s now a respectable .341 — but the reality is that this is the best hitter on the club. Like last year, he rarely misses a game. This guy plays every day and has become a bit of an ironman in a league where they don’t exist anymore.
The Mets, a team desperate for hitting, shouldn’t give up their best hitter — even if he is a defensive liability. At this point, after a lot of hard work, maybe he’s an average second baseman. He still has a chance to get better defensively.
On Tuesday night he made a tremendous play, angling to his left onto the outfield grass to make a diving stab on a grounder and get the out at first. He’s really improved.
Professional hitters are few and far between.Murphy is one of them.
Don’t trade him.
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