DailyNews: PHILADELPHIA — When the Marlins traded Jose Reyes and Josh Johnson to Toronto last November, Mets officials began asking one another questions that remain in their minds today: Can we get Giancarlo Stanton? Would we trade Zack Wheeler to do it? According to three team sources, the Mets then spent time at the winter meetings debating whether to make Wheeler available in a variety of trades, including for Arizona’s Justin Upton and Kansas City’s Wil Myers. Neither of those outfielders seemed worth the organization’s top pitching prospect, but Stanton is in a different category. Although they do not know if the Marlins will move him (Miami declined to shop Stanton even after the outfielder tweeted about being “pissed off” after the Reyes trade), the Mets continue to monitor the situation, fully realizing that any deal would almost certainly have to include Wheeler and top catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud. Would you trade those blue chippers for a guy who might become the premier slugger of his generation? I say, hell yes, duh, no-brainer, but let’s hear from people whose opinions actually matter. “In a heartbeat,” said one Mets official, who is not in Alderson’s inner-circle of decision-makers, but has a voice in discussions. The guy then snapped his fingers. “Nothing against those kids, but it’s Giancarlo.” Said another Mets official, also not in the top tier of decision-makers: “If you could do that, you would have to. You trade the pitcher for the everyday player almost every time.” And what about d’Arnaud, the catcher of the future acquired in December for Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey? “You can figure the catching out later,” the official said. “You have John Buck now, and hey, Brian McCann is going to be a free agent.” Added a scout familiar with the players in this still-fictional deal: “Wheeler and d’Arnaud for Stanton? I would say the Mets might have to give up more than that.” Have the Mets and Marlins actually discussed a trade like this? That depends on who you ask. One source said that Alderson and Miami GM Larry Beinfest, sitting on golf carts at a minor league game in Jupiter, Fla., this spring, engaged in a preliminary chat about Stanton, which was lighthearted and informal, and not in any way a serious negotiation. A second source said that the two talked while sitting in the carts, but not necessarily about a trade, or Stanton, or any of this. Alderson did not return a phone call on Wednesday. OK, let’s step back for some context. First of all, a mea culpa. Back in February, a rumor popped up online saying that the two clubs were discussing these players. It was roundly dismissed by reporters, myself included. That, in fact, is how this revelation came about. I was chatting with a Mets person recently, and alluded to that rumor in a dismissive way. The guy shook his head and said, “There is heat there.”
Poor Mets’ fans. How wet are they right now thinking about this pipe dream being a possibility? I mean yea, obviously the trade would make so much sense for them and Stanton would become the next big face of the organization, but let’s keep in mind that Murphy’s Law applies to the Mets. Whether it’s pitcher’s arms falling off (Johan Santana), huge busts (Jason Bay), or the organization losing money (Madoff scandal), the Mets can never catch a break. Let’s think of a few scenarios that would probably play out in this trade:
Stanton gets hurt after trade. Trade is complete and Wheeler and d’Arnaud are sent to Florida. Giancarlo signs an 8 year deal worth $160 million. He’s shagging balls in batting practice and pulls a Mariano Rivera. Tears his ACL back pedaling for a popup. Season over and career is never the same.
Stanton cracks under NY pressure. Baseball is a completely different sport under the scrutiny of the NY media and fan base. When some players are put under the microscope and an entire city looks up to one player, they can’t always step up. Stanton turns out to be one of these guys after the trade. Every other night is a golden sombrero and he finishes the season with 15 homeruns. Fans boo him every time he steps into the box and his name is discussed in the same sentence as Jason Bay, Mo Vaughn, and Victor Zambrano.
Zack Wheeler and Travis d’Arnaud turn out to be better players. Trade is done and Giancarlo Stanton ends up putting up the expected numbers he’s been putting up in Miami for the past few years. Only thing is that Zack Wheeler is now a Cy Young candidate winning 20 games and Travis d’Arnaud makes John Buck look like a minor leaguer. Marlins look in the rear view as they pass Mets in standings.
Yankees Swoop in last second and trade for Stanton. The least likely of any scenario but who couldn’t see the Yankees trying to pull it off? As Mets’ fans go to bed thinking the deal is done, they wake up in the AM to find out Stanton got traded to the Yankees for Brett Gardner, a number of prospects and draft picks, cash, gold, a few cars, Steinbrenner’s yacht, a year’s worth of bats, and a 2009 World Series ring. The suicide rate in Long Island and Queens sky rockets as well as riots bigger than the Rodney King riots. New York is burned to the ground.
So now we just step back and watch as the Mets try not to fuck this one up. Not to say it’s going to happen but it sounds like it makes sense for everyone involved. Time will tell…