Harper: Mets, Yankees Could Swap Miller, Gardner For Wheeler

MLB News: Columnist Suggests Mets, Yankees Swap Miller, Gardner For Wheeler

The New York Yankees and New York Mets should get together on a trade that would send Andrew Miller and Brett Gardner to the Mets in exchange for the triumvirate of Zack Wheeler, Rafael Montero, and Alejandro De Aza, says John Harper of the New York Daily News.

It has been no secret that the Yankees are willing to entertain the idea of trading either one or both of Miller and Gardner. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe wrote in his own column on Saturday that the Yankees are looking for a young starter in return for Miller. But no team has been willing to meet that asking price thus far.

Also, Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman has stated that the team is likely to keep its left-handed flamethrower, per Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York.

But Harper believes such a trade would benefit both teams. The Mets would receive a dynamite option in the bullpen to pair with closer Jeurys Familia. Also, the Mets would receive a capable leadoff hitter in Brett Gardner who could step in as the team’s primary centerfielder.

[Image by Mike Stobe/Getty Images]
Brett Gardner [Image by Mike Stobe/Getty Images]
Last season, Miller appeared in 60 games for the Yankees, pitching to a 2.04 ERA and saving 36 games in 38 attempts. As for Gardner, he hit.259 with 16 HR and 66 RBI in 151 games but struggled mightily after the first half — hitting.196 with five HR and 20 RBI in 58 games from July 29 onward, per Mark Feinsand of the NY Daily News.

Despite his second half struggles, Gardner has been a vital piece of the Yankees’ lineup in recent years. He would also be an upgrade over both Juan Lagares and De Aza — the latter of which the Yankees would receive in this proposed trade. Between the Orioles, Red Sox, and Giants in 2015, De Aza hit.262 with seven HR and 35 RBI in 114 games.

De Aza was just signed to a one-year deal by the Mets, per an earlier report from the Inquisitr. Therefore, De Aza would have to approve a trade to another team until June, as Harper noted.

The main piece headed back to the Yankees would be oft-injured, soon-to-be 26-year-old Zack Wheeler. The hard-throwing righty missed all of 2015 due to Tommy John surgery and is not expected back till about midseason in 2016. Therefore, he would likely not be much help to the Yankees in early 2016 but could be a major contributor for years to come.

“In 2017 a rotation of Wheeler, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, and Nate Eovaldi could look awfully impressive, with all five starters age 28 or younger.”

Wheeler still possesses tremendous upside due to his age and past performance.

During his two healthy seasons in 2013 and 2014, Wheeler made a combined 49 starts, going 18-16 with a 3.50 ERA in 285-and-one-third innings.

[Image by Mike Stobe/Getty Images]
Zack Wheeler [Image by Mike Stobe/Getty Images]
With Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Steven Matz in the fold, Wheeler becomes sort of “expendable” as Harper writes. But the potential of having Wheeler develop into an ace pitcher with the team’s crosstown rival Yankees might be too big a risk.

The final piece of this trade would see right-hander Rafael Montero headed to the Bronx. Montero missed most of 2015 with what Harper described as a “mysterious” shoulder injury. In parts of two seasons, Montero has shown signs of promise and could be utilized as either a starter or reliever. In his career, Montero has appeared in 15 games (nine starts).

Despite the trade having potential benefits for both teams, it’s a long shot, at best. Having a super rotation made up of five starters 28 years old or younger may be too enticing for the Mets to pass up. Also, the Yankees will likely want players who can contribute immediately if they part with Miller/Gardner.

[Featured Image by Al Bello/Getty Images]