Zack Wheeler is set to become a free agent after this season, while Noah Syndergaard is under team control through 2021, yet the New York Mets might keep the former and deal away the latter before the July 31 Major League Baseball trade deadline.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported Thursday, citing sources, the Mets are considering trading Syndergaard and signing Wheeler to a contract extension, which would help New York acquire significant assets without depleting the club’s major league starting pitching depth for 2020.
This flies in the face of conventional wisdom, as Wheeler seemed like the more likely trade candidate based on his impending free agency. Syndergaard, meanwhile, is having an uncharacteristically mediocre season — perhaps hurting his trade value to some extent — and theoretically could be part of New York’s core moving forward despite recent rumblings suggesting he’ll be traded in the coming days.
The Mets clearly see an opportunity, though, and there’s no denying Syndergaard would fetch a larger return in terms of prospects thanks to his upside and the two-plus seasons of club control remaining on his contract. ESPN’s Buster Olney even reported Thursday, citing rival evaluators, that the Mets definitely want to trade Syndergaard.
Of course, New York could trade both and look to re-sign Wheeler this offseason. But that’s risky if the Mets really want Wheeler back next season, as it’s hard to predict how a player will feel about a possible reunion months after being shipped out of town.