It was revealed that the New York Mets’ and Chicago Cubs’ trade talks never got serious but if they did, the Mets would have likely traded Noah Syndergaard to acquire Addison Russell, John Harper of the New York Daily News writes.
With the Mets having an abundance of young and talented pitching, partnered with the Cubs’ influx of young bats, the two teams seemed like ideal trading partners. The obvious match also yielded its fair share of rumors, with names such as Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Addison Russell, Starlin Castro, and others mentioned as potential names to be traded.
However, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York confirmed two days ago that both teams never gained any “traction” in their talks.
Alderson said there was never a point in past couple of years where Mets and Cubs had traction toward trade (position player for pitching)
— Adam Rubin (@AdamRubinESPN) October 16, 2015
But Harper says that GM Sandy Alderson was curious to see if he could “pry” Russell away from the Cubs. The 21-year-old infielder was acquired by the Cubs from the Oakland Athletics last season as part of the blockbuster Jeff Samardzija trade. He made his Major League debut this year and while his numbers don’t jump out, he still had a productive 2015 season.
Splitting time between second base and shortstop, Russell hit .242 with 13 HR and 54 RBI. But Russell hurt his hamstring in the NLDS and is expected to miss the NLCS versus the Mets. He was replaced on the roster by speedster Quintin Berry, via ESPN Chicago.
Much like Russell, Syndergaard made his Major League debut in 2015. Originally acquired as the centerpiece of the R.A. Dickey trade, Syndergaard’s blazing fastball and nasty off-speed pitches helped him rise quickly through the Mets’ farm system. However, the Mets had their doubts on Syndergaard after his underwhelming season in 2014, as Harper notes.
The Mets’ concerns were in Syndergaard’s “ability to handle adversity.” But after being called up this season, Syndergaard showed himself to be mature beyond his years and capable of not just throwing hard but being a complete pitcher. In 24 starts, the 23-year-old finished 9-7 with a 3.24 ERA, while striking out 166 batters in 150 innings.
One scout who observed him during the Dodgers versus Mets NLDS told Harper that Syndergaard’s stuff is top notch and possibly the best on the Mets’ entire staff.
“He’s not afraid to throw his off-speed stuff behind in the count, and he can throw it for strikes when he needs to, or off the plate in good counts. He threw the perfect curve ball on an 0-2 count to (Justin) Turner the other night (in relief) and got him to chase it for the strikeout. Right now he probably has the best pure stuff of any of their starters, and that’s saying a lot.”
Noah Syndergaard to start NLCS Game 2 after relief appearance in Game 5 of NLDS http://t.co/n1s4OaKN8V pic.twitter.com/Zvf6uhOEBE
— CBS Sports MLB (@CBSSportsMLB) October 17, 2015
At this point, it’s hard to say whether or not the Cubs and Mets made the right choice to hold onto their respective players. They’re both still young and only have one full Major League season under their belt. They’re also both instrumental pieces in their teams’ success in 2015.
As Russell watches from the dugout and Syndergaard faces Jake Arrieta in game 2 of the NLCS, Alderson told Harper he’s happy the team didn’t trade their flame throwing right-hander.
“We’re happy we didn’t make a trade. And they probably feel the same way.”
[Image by Al Bello/Getty Images]