With the All-Star break over and the second half of the MLB season well underway, the New York Mets (46-52 as of July 20) and the New York Yankees (50-47 as of July 20) find themselves in the same situations each team is accustomed to at this time of the season.
The Yankees are in the middle of the AL East Division title while the Mets are scrapping for every win possible to stay relevant in the NL East.
But while the record says one thing, reality says another. The Yankees are facing a myriad of injuries, a major one being their ace Mashiro Tanaka out for six weeks, and the Mets have displayed some winning prowess going 9-4 since July 4th. Hiroki Kuroda is the only gleaming light of a battered pitching rotation for the Yankees while the Mets pitching rotation have thrown solid games throughout the month of July.
There's a lot to be said of each team as the trade deadlines loom and the dog days of August beckon closer so let's take a look at each team and break down what each have to do if they want be in the hunt for the playoffs come September.
Pitching hasn't been a problem all year. Well, starting pitching hasn't been a problem all year. The Mets' starting rotation has had quality start after quality start, but lack of run support and an inconsistent bullpen--two factors that have plagued the Mets since Omar Minaya's departure--offset these great starts. Because pitching has been a plus for the Mets, pitching must be the focal point of the trade deadline.
The Mets have reported Bartolo Colon is on the market for suitors to take, but according to a report from the New York Post, no one has bit. So how can the Mets sweeten the deal for Colon? Add a prospect like Eric Campbell or Matt den Dekker or an expendable player like Chris Young or Eric Young. Colon can help a team's playoff run like he did with the Oakland A's last year. While he's been 0-3 his last four starts, some teams (say, for instance, the Yankees) are in need of starting pitching due to injuries.
Whoever decides to be the suitor, the Mets' No. 1 priority should be trading Colon to free up space for free agency and extending Daniel Murphy's contract at the end of the season. After that, seeing if anyone would be interested in Eric Young and Chris Young would follow. John Harper of the New York Daily News explained why the Mets should go after Chicago Cubs short shop Starlin Castro: with Ruben Tejada showing no progress, this would be another avenue to look toward in case the Mets can't send Colon to the Yankees. In this case, the Mets would have to give up one of their prized-pitching prospects.
The trend here is the Mets rely heavily on pitching and w hile pitching is invaluable and will help you suppress runs from your opponent, if your offense doesn't produce runs, your pitching isn't valuable. This was apparent in pitcher-friendly Petco Park, and before the month of July, was apparent with the Mets in the confines of their home, Citi Field. So Harper's argument for Castro works because the Mets need run production. If the Mets can acquire a player who will improve the offensive, the Mets have a chance to make something out of nothing for the next two months ahead.
But the obsession with prospects needs to cease. If not, Alderson's approval ratings will continue to dip lower than they already are with the Mets' faithful.
For the fabled Yankees, they are three games back of the first-place Baltimore Orioles and, as mentioned, are in need of some pitching. The offense is stout, but the pitching woes are pouring out any chance the Yankees have off heading into the postseason.
The starting rotation for the Yankees before the season started looked like this: CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Ivan Nova, Masahiro Tanaka, and Michael Pineda. Now, the only constant is Kuroda and the other four days are a cast of new faces that shouldn't be trusted with getting the Yankees into the postseason. Sure, they swept the Reds this past weekend, but the Yankees need reliable pitching for a run into the postseason.
Enter potential deals: Mets with Colon, division rival Tampa Bay Rays with David Price, and the Philadelphia Phillies with Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, and Kyle Kendrick. The Yankees have a plethora of options to acquire a pitcher before the trade deadline. The only problem is who does Brian Cashman and the Yankees front office get rid of?
Dellin Betances looks appealing after being selected to his first All-Star team, but he would be an important piece in a run at the playoffs. Carlos Beltran is not having a great season, but who would want to eat his fat contract? Or do the Yankees use their top prospect Gary Sanchez as a trade chip to get the pitching they need to make a run?
The Yankees need to make a bold trade if they want to stay in the race and keep Derek Jeter's final season alive. Without a trade, the Yankees are waving the white flag, because teams in the AL East, with the exception of the Yankees, seem to be hitting their strides now. The Yankees displayed their prowess early in the season, but with the mounting injuries, they have displayed a lack of depth.
It would be in both New York teams' best interest to work with one another. The Mets have starting pitching but need bats and relievers. The Yankees need starting pitching and have bats and relief. Alderson and Cashman would be wise to work together for the homestretch of the regular season.