You own a house. You love the house. It is the keeper, the one you bought with the plan to raise a family there.
But you also paid attention in Economics 101 the day the professor mentioned that when supply is low and demand is high, prices soar. Now, this scenario is playing out in your neighborhood. Thus, you have a decision to make: Do you stick with the original strategy and ignore the market place? Or do you see how far motivated buyers go when inventory is low?
Because you know it is worth $1 million, so if someone offers that or even $1.2 million or $1.4 million, thanks, but no thanks. However, what if someone in this environment bids $2 million or $2.5 million? Doesn’t that, at minimum, necessitate big-picture thoughts about how it can set up your family for years to come?
Now, say you have Jacob deGrom. If you are the Mets, you love deGrom. He is a keeper, the one you planned to stick with throughout his prime.
But you are Sandy Alderson, and you notice the supply for top starters is thin and the demand great. Do you stick with the original strategy and ignore the market place? Or do you see what he is worth?
Because you have an idea of the value, but say a desperate team is willing to double that value, better positioning your team for years to come. And, lo and behold, five teams with arguably top seven or eight farm systems need someone just like deGrom – the Yankees, Dodgers, Astros, Brewers and Braves.
Remember, putting the house or player on the market does NOT mean you have to unload it. This is merely an exercise in seeing how far a hungry suitor might go.
I tried to make this case recently for the Tigers with Michael Fulmer and the Cardinals with Carlos Martinez. I would make it also for the Mets with deGrom and the Mariners with James Paxton. Right now, if you have a reasonably priced elite starter in his prime with years of control ahead of him, you can expect a staggering return.
With Jose Quintana off the market, Sonny Gray, a free agent after 2019, is the best starter available. DeGrom is a grade or two better, already has proven himself in the postseason and has an extra year of control (free after 2020).
To get three full years of control of Chris Sale on a team-friendly contract, the Red Sox last offseason gave the White Sox two elite prospects and two good ones. To get 3 1/2 years of control in the midst of a pennant race, the Mets’ opening request should be three elite prospects and two good ones and see what happens with aggressive bidders. Again, if you don’t get the exorbitant return, don’t even consider selling the house.
But for those saying don’t even find out … why? That pitching is fragile only should encourage teams to be open-minded. Most would have called it crazy to even think about trading Matt Harvey at the 2013 deadline, Andrew Cashner at the 2014 deadline, Garrett Richards in 2015 and Danny Salazar last year. What are their values today?
Or you can just look at the Mets. They were the envy of all in 2015 because of their young rotation talent. Yet, here we are still waiting for deGrom, Harvey, Steven Matz, Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler to do even one turn around the rotation as a group. Having them under control through at least next year might give the Mets the belief they have a puncher’s chance to get to and through the playoffs. I get it. But so far that has been mainly fantasy.
Every one of those guys has had Tommy John surgery except Syndergaard, who is in the midst of missing months with a lat injury.
But here are the Astros, who have never won a World Series, needing an ace. Would they begin an offer with Kyle Tucker and Forrest Whitley? The Dodgers have not won since 1988 and know Clayton Kershaw can opt out after next year. Would they head a package with Alex Verdugo and Walker Buehler? The Braves might be able to sneak into a wild card this year and want to make a strong charge going forward. Would they package Ronald Acuna and Kolby Allard? To hold on in the NL Central and think contention the next few years, would the Brewers begin with Lewis Brinson and Luis Ortiz?
How about the Yankees? Would they put Gleyber Torres and Clint Frazier in the same deal? Torres and Amed Rosario would give the Mets David Wright and Jose Reyes 2.0 on the left side of the infield, and those two with Frazier, Michael Conforto, Dominic Smith and Yoenis Cespedes would move the Mets toward a long-term powerful lineup to compensate for lost starting pitching.
Maybe none of these teams would be willing to surrender this much. Maybe even if they did, the Mets would need more. I get that deGrom is low-maintenance, low-cost, high-performance, homegrown – everything a team would want.
But what is the downside in finding out – when supply is low and demand staggering – just how much you can get for a mansion like deGrom?
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