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The Mets only hurt themselves when they refuse to “help” the Yankees

The Mets should stop pretending “cross-town rivalries” matter in baseball decisions.

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at New York Mets
“Can I use this mask to plan my escape?”
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

It was late Monday night when someone decided to light the hot stove. They didn’t just fan the flame, either. They straight-up poured gasoline and the stove was fully lit. It all started when Jon Heyman listed the Yankees as one of the seven teams with the best chances to land Marlins’ star catcher, J.T. Realmuto. It got wild from there when he followed that saying the team still has faith in Gary Sanchez and could be a “conduit” in a three-team trade.

That’s when the dream began.

Trades in general are difficult to pull off. Teams will always overvalue their commodities and try to come out ahead. Finding value that two sides agree on is always difficult. Multi-team trades, for that reason, become even more difficult. But when three teams match up in their needs, it can almost become a thing of beauty.

The Yankees need and desire for elite starting pitching is public knowledge. The Marlins rebuild and Realmuto’s desire to leave Miami is well-known. And with the acquisition of Robinson Cano, the Mets declared they’re trying to contend now and they finally seem ready to move on from Travis d’Arnaud. A potential trade would, in theory, check off boxes for all teams as long as they could find an agreeable package. If any team were to say no, however, it would probably be the Mets.

If they’re really trying to contend next year, trading away their second-best starter may not be the best idea. And if that were the only reason, that would be perfectly fine. No one would bat an eye. Yet, that’s not exactly the reason the Mets wouldn’t want to do this deal.

This isn’t the first time this has come up either. Near the trade deadline during the season, rumors were going around that the Mets could deal either Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard but the idea of the Mets dealing one of their start pitchers to the Yankees came up as a hurdle. They wouldn’t want to help their “cross-town rival.” Now once again, it’s the same thing. Obviously we don’t know how these conversations went or are going, so there are probably other obstacles, but that this is even one of them is ridiculous.

It’s all fun and games when MLB likes to hype up the yearly Subway Series and force-feed it to the fans. It becomes less amusing when the actual baseball teams let it affect their decision-making process. Yet, for whatever reason, they do. We see it all the time. A tanking/rebuilding team won’t trade its star player to a contending division rival. Teams would actually consider getting worse value as long as it doesn’t help their “enemy.”

Within divisions this only makes sense to a degree, but between the two New York teams? I can’t imagine why anyone would care. I hold no animosity towards the Mets. They’re just there. The Yankees play them four to six times a year depending on the schedule and that’s just about it. Sure they’re technically in the same city but they play not just in different divisions, but different leagues. There’s no reason that the Mets should keep up with this farce of not wanting to help out their rivals.

They only end up hurting themselves in these cases. If a trade like this were to fall through, the Mets would end up exactly where they are, but the Yankees would end up landing on their feet. As of writing this, the Yankees are already working to finalize a deal with J.A. Happ (which supposedly won’t stop them from still pursing other starters). Happ is no Syndergaard, but the team still improved their starting situation.

If the Mets were to deal Syndergaard, they’d still have a lot of talent in their rotation headlined by Cy Young-winner Jacob deGrom. They wouldn’t be filling one hole by creating another. Again though, losing someone of Syndergaard’s caliber would hurt and that would be a perfectly acceptable reason not to pursue this trade. Not pursuing this because seeing Syndergaard in the Bronx would hurt though? That’s not a good reason to not help your team.

It’s a great start that the two teams were even engaged in talks this big, but if the Mets really want to be taken seriously, they have to stop pretending cross-town “rivalries” matter. And even more, they need to stop letting that affect their baseball decisions.