Neither the Mets and Cubs have serious aspirations of competing for the playoffs this season. However, the prospects are bright in 2015 and beyond for both clubs. These teams line up perfectly to swap their respective best prospects for each other.
The Trade of the Week: P Noah Syndergaard for SS Javier Baez
The Cubs have a glut of young hitters including Baez, Kris Bryant, Albert Almora, Arismendy Alcantara, Jorge Soler, and Dan Vogelbach who are all 21 or under. Chicago's starting shortstop - who happens to be under contract through at least 2019 - is only 23. Offense will not be a problem.
Their pitching prospects, however, leave a lot to be desired. Its a system littered with number 3 through 5 starters but no ace. They tried signing Masahiro Tanaka this offseason to be their number 1, but he opted to sign with the Yankees. Could Jeff Samardzija be the top of the rotation starter they need? Possibly, but his name has been in countless rumors and the chances he's dealt increase every day he doesn't sign long term. Personally, I'm not sure he can be the ace of the staff.
He has protypical size (6'6", 240 lbs.) and stuff (98mph FB, hammer curve) to sit atop a staff for the next 10 years. After being acquired as part of the R.A. Dickey deal, he struck out 10 batter per 9 IP across two levels in the minors and sky-rocketed to the top of all the Mets prospect lists. He's a stud.
The Mets have the opposite dilemma: all pitching, no bats. A healthy Matt Harvey will - hopefully - return in 2015 to lead the Mets rotation with Zack Wheeler, Jon Niese, and Rafael Montero filling in as the 2, 3, and 4 starters. But where will the offense come from? Aside from David Wright and Curtis Granderson, the 2014 squad will be devoid of any consistent power. This team was painful to watch last year, and it started with the circus at shortstop. Ruben Tejada? Omar Quintanilla? Please make it stop.
I'm giddy thinking about the possibility of a guy that has 30-homer upside (he hit 37 last year in the minors) manning the left side of the infield in Flushing for the next decade. I would be more than happy with some below average defense at the position if it meant I would actually be excited to see someone swing the stick at Citi Field on a regular basis. Someone with bat speed? In the Mets lineup? Sign me up.
It's a great match that makes both teams better.