Yankees and Mets: The stars are aligned to make them swap partners

Lucas Duda Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Lucas Duda Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

The Yankees and Mets, as cross-town rivals, do not have a long history of making trades with each other. But this year, the stars are perfectly aligned in ways that could dramatically alter that.

The Yankees and Mets rarely get together as swap partners. In 2001, the Yankees sent David Justice to the Mets in exchange for Robin Ventura. And in 2004, Mike Stanton came over to the Bronx, and Felix Heredia moved to Queens. But generally speaking, deals between the two teams are not anything to write home about.

In 2017, however, each team is on a divergent path from the other, and each may have what the other is looking for.

Whether or not they are inclined to admit it, the Mets could mail in the rest of the season, and no one would notice the difference given the way they have been playing. They are umpteen games behind the division-leading Nationals and even further behind in the Wild Card race.

And despite the miracle that manager, Terry Collins, pulled off last season, to expect it is happening twice is just not in the cards given the rash of injuries the team is dealing with, especially with regards to their once heralded pitching staff.

Each has what the other wants, and that’s where dealmaking begins.

Meanwhile, the Yankees sit here with a team that is already playoff bound and fighting for a division title at the top of the AL East standings. But, they have some holes to fill.

Unlike Brian Cashman, Mets General Manager, Sandy Alderson, has never impressed with having an overall plan to guide his team forward. Alderson, in fact, usually crawls with the speed of a crab in the sand before he makes a move to improve the team. And more often than not, he does nothing.

But if Alderson finally sees the writing on the wall, the Mets may well be in a position to conduct a fire sale that will make the Chicago White Sox look like a brush fire.

And what makes this interesting is that the Yankees have what the Mets need if, in fact, they decide to quietly move into a rebuilding mode – and that’s prospects. Cashman has remained adamant about not selling the farm for the sake of one year, but all plans are subject to change without notice.

So, from where I sit as an observer on the outside, two moves seem to make perfect sense for both teams.

The big arm in the rotation

Matt Harvey, more than anything else, needs a change of scenery and the Mets know it. Since day one back when all that testosterone and bravado was part of Harvey’s everyday schtick, Harvey let it be known that he was destined for the Bronx when his free agency rolled around.

That time will come at the end of the 2018 season, and it unlikely that the Mets, or even the Yankees, will be bidding for his services when his agent, Scott Boras, takes charge of things. But a trade is another matter, and it would appear that both teams have a vested interest in making one happen now.

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The Yankees will argue that Harvey is damaged goods and he could be. At the least, that will reduce the need for the Yankees to give up top-level prospects in exchange for Harvey.

And at this point, the Mets are in no position to argue and will take what they can get and run away from this guy who has caused them so much pain and energy with his antics over the years.

Obviously, Harvey still has a tremendous upside, if only he can get back on track both physically and mentally.

A move to the Bronx will, at the very least, recharge his batteries and give him a fresh start and a chance to revitalize a career that’s now descended, can you believe it, to a pitcher with a 33-31 lifetime record in the big leagues.

Before any deal is done, though, the Yankees will want to have their team doctors give Harvey a complete examination, and while they’re at it, maybe throw in some psychological tests as well (just kidding). And the other question facing the team will be how much Harvey can help the Yankees this season, given his current stint on the DL.

But as they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Oh my, that right field porch

The second player in the Yankee’s sights should be first baseman Lucas Duda, who once again is peppering the ball with power (13 home runs) and his standard high on-base percentage (.365) for the Mets this season.

And when you put him at Yankee Stadium with that friendly porch in right field, oh my, the possibilities are endless.

Like virtually all Mets these days, Duda has a history of nagging injuries that cause him to miss an inordinate number of games from season to season. This year is no different as Duda has managed to appear in only 50 of the Mets 73 games.

But again, when you look at his upside, you take him if you get him and hope for the best.

Other possibilities

Beyond Harvey and Duda, the Mets don’t have much else to offer the Yankees. Unless you believe that the team that once traded Tom Seaver is now ready to part ways with Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard.

Michael Conforto figures to be a keeper for the Mets as he should be.

Jose Reyes to the Yankees to plug the hole at third base? Please, I hope not. Besides, Chase Headley still has a lot left to give the Yankees this season.

At the very least, though, you can bet that these two teams will be talking to each other for the first time in a long time. Each has what the other wants, and that’s where dealmaking begins.