Should Injuries Shelve Long-Term Talks With Mets Pitchers?

For the past two years, signing the Mets’ young pitchers to long-term contracts seemed a paramount issue. Whom should they sign first, and for how much? Could they afford to sign two? In their wildest dreams, could they keep them all?

HARVEY: What's his market value now? (Getty)

HARVEY: What’s his market value now? (Getty)

With four pitchers coming off surgery, such talk now is but a whisper. We’re not hearing too much these days about Matt Harvey – who had shoulder surgery to treat thoracic outlet syndrome – leaving after the 2018 season for the Yankees or anybody else for that matter.

Steven Matz had surgery to repair bone spurs in his left elbow and Jacob deGrom, who had Tommy John surgery, is recovering from a second surgery to treat a nerve issue in his elbow. Then there is Zack Wheeler, who had Tommy John surgery and was supposed to ready by July but we didn’t see him all summer and nobody can say for sure when we will.

We won’t know for sure how they are until the spring, but the recovery forecast is looking good for the Mets’ surgically-repaired pitchers as doctors are telling the team they should be ready for the season. Even so, the Mets are likely to handle them all with kid gloves which is why they are interested in bringing back Bartolo Colon and draw relief with Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman.

The Mets have seven young arms – plus Colon – but we’re no longer hearing talk about contract extensions. Whom should they sign first? Can they afford to sign two or three at a time? Who should they trade to plug holes elsewhere?

However, with Harvey, Matz, deGrom and Wheeler, what’s their┬átrade value? Will teams risk dealing high-level prospects for damaged goods? Certainly, the Mets can’t command as much should they explore trading.

Conventional wisdom has the Mets backing off long-term contract talks as to avoid signing somebody who might not win, or even pitch for them. While their potential might be high, their proven production is not.

Then again, it wouldn’t hurt for┬áthe Mets to explore extensions now when their market value might not be as high as it could be in two or three years. It’s a gamble worth considering.

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2 thoughts on “Should Injuries Shelve Long-Term Talks With Mets Pitchers?

  1. This won’t be an easy task for Sandy moving forward. Overpay for damaged goods could end up a disaster. As for trade value, the Mets wouldn’t get anyone in return that they could have gotten 2 years ago. But the big advantage the Mets have is that all these guys will be pitching for their financial lives next season. Everyone of them know their stock has plummeted and the only way to command the big contracts is to stay on the mound for a full season and produce.

  2. Right or wrong, I foresee the Mets exploring long term deals with deGrom & Noah in the near future. They’re two players I see the organization willing to build around, despite the injuries both have encountered. Matz is a bit too young to begin exploring a longer term contract, so it’s not a pressing matter. And Wheeler hasn’t pitched in two years, so he’s on a journey to rebuild value.

    The question mark is Harvey. Pre-injury, I (and others) have insisted it will come time to move him for the best possible package as he nears free agency. That’s contingent upon his health holding up. Should he return to form, he’ll be back in line for a mammoth contract, and will have significant trade value in the middle of the summer. The Mets can’t see into the future, but they know Harvey has bigger dreams that don’t include Queens, and they simply won’t lay out what it takes to retain him.

    As the above comment notes, it’s not going to be an easy task. You have to have foresight, and you honestly have to get lucky. We can easily look back and say “that was a failure,” but we’re not in position to guess the health & productivity of human beings years into the future. We just have to hope it works out.