After you’ve read the headline and clicked through to this post, understand this: I am not saying this has been reported somewhere else. This post is based off an idea that I have kicked around for at least the last six weeks and recent events have only made me more convinced of what I am about to write. But first, some background.
As you may or may not know, I am the Editor of an Arizona Diamondbacks’ blog named venomstrikes. I have written about the D-backs need to sign center fielder A.J. Pollock to a contract extension. In fact, over a year ago, I wrote that the time was right to lock up the now-Gold Glove center fielder. His price has only gone up since he put up numbers in 2015 that rank among the game’s best. About three months ago, it seemed both D-backs’ management and Pollock were looking to keep the latter in Phoenix and sign him through his first couple of free agent seasons. Stunningly, that hasn’t happened yet and I think I know the reason why.
I believe the D-backs will be asking the New York Mets about Matt Harvey and offer Pollock straight up.
I have no idea if the Mets are even entertaining this scenario. What I do know is that the relationship between Harvey and management is, to say the least, frosty. There is a sentiment that when he becomes a free agent, Harvey is going to leave New York. The feeling among fans and perhaps general manager Sandy Alderson and others in in the organization is, why not trade him now and get a really good bat for him? This is why I believe that D-backs’ general manger Dave Stewart may make the Mets an offer for Harvey and the lack of a contract extension for Pollock indicates to me that he will be the name offered up. According to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the D-backs turned down a deal for Atlanta Braves’ pitcher Shelby Miller because, in part, Atlanta wanted a big-time player from Arizona’s roster, namely Pollock. This bit of information renews my thought process that the D-backs are going to pursue Harvey.
However, I feel a Harvey for Pollock deal is wrong for both teams. The Mets should keep Harvey until he becomes a free agent. The window to have him, Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom remain on the same staff is for the next three years. We already know as a group they are good enough to reach the World Series. While we hope Steven Matz is every bit as good as the other three and hope that Zack Wheeler can be just as productive after Tommy John surgery as he was prior to it, the truth is we don’t know that. The dropoff between Harvey and an unproven Matz and a questionable Wheeler is stark. The best chance for the Mets to be repeat as World Series contenders year after year is by keeping that starting rotation intact even at the expense of turning down a game-changing player such as Pollock.
As for the D-backs, they need to assemble a competent starting rotation while building around a core of Pollock and Paul Goldschmidt. There may be no more lethal one-two punch in baseball and with Goldschmidt already playing at a bargain basement rate, the time is long past to lock up Pollock. The Snakes were not only tremendous on offense but also were named the Wilson Defensive Team of the Year. Both of those facts are attributed to having having Pollock roam center field. The D-backs have some quality outfielders in David Peralta, Yasmany Tomas and Ender Inciarte but the difference between any one of those three and Pollock is significant. Why trade a guy who clearly wants to stay for the long haul for someone who you know will leave after three years? Like the Mets, their best chance is to keep the core, everyday lineup together for as long as possible.
With an additional bat, the Mets will have an excellent chance to defend their National League pennant. With a solid arm or two for the rotation, Arizona can be one of their challengers. However, the solution does not involve trading a piece of each team’s core parts to make it happen.