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NEW YORK METS PART I: DON’T TRADE COLON OR MURPHY

Kallas Remarks by Steve Kallas – With the trade deadline approaching (Thursday at 4 PM) and GM Sandy Alderson making cryptic remarks (are the Mets buyers or sellers or neither?; it’s hard to tell), the Mets should obviously be looking towards 2015 and should not weaken their 2014 team (and, thus, next year’s squad) by trading either Bartolo Colon or David Murphy.  The Daily News reported that the Mets are trying to trade Colon but, so far, seem to have no takers.

If you want to be a playoff team next year, it says here Bartolo Colon can and should be a big part of that.

 BARTOLO COLON: ROCK OF THE STAFF

While Colon’s numbers haven’t been great this year (10-8, 3.88 ERA, 1.165 WHIP), they haven’t been awful either.  Colon can lead this staff by example and, when you look forward to next year, the Mets will need what the former Cy Young winner and playoff experienced pitcher has:  leadership by example, an innings eater (he might get to 200 innings this year, a big deal in the 5-6 inning pitcher world we live in) and, most important, he can still pitch a big game if needed.

Colon’s last two starts have been ultra-impressive: on July 23 on the road in Seattle, Colon retired the first 20 batters he faced and beat the Mariners, 3-2, going 7.1 innings and giving up two runs and three hits.  This past Monday, he held the Phillies scoreless for 7.2 innings and got the win.

While many say this has only increased his trade value (Colon has one year left on his two-year, $20 million deal with the Mets), it says here that these starts should have the Mets thinking twice about trading him.

Next year, the Mets, if healthy (the huge if for every team in today’s MLB), have an excellent pitching staff.  But they need that guy who is an innings eater, who can dominate a team, who can win a big game, who has pitched in the playoffs, who has won a Cy Young.

That guy is Bartolo Colon.

If Matt Harvey comes back healthy next year (and he should, as he will have essentially 18 months to recover from his Tommy John surgery), he obviously is the number one starter.  And the Mets do have an abundance of pitching. With Jacob deGrom looking like the real deal (yes, a small sample), with Jon Niese and Dillon Gee as proven pitchers (although Gee has struggled since his return), with Zach Wheeler maybe ready for prime time next year and with (maybe) the emergence of Noah Syndergaard and/or Rafael Montero as major league pitchers, the Met starting pitching future is bright.

But of all the ifs and maybes above, the one guy who you can hang your hat on to pitch, pitch fairly well, pitch a lot of innings and not be afraid to pitch in big games is Bartolo Colon.

They simply shouldn’t trade him.

DANIEL MURPHY:  PROFESSIONAL HITTER

Say whatever you want about Daniel Murphy as a second baseman, but the reality is that, on a team with very few professional hitters and virtually no hitters who can hit for average (no starter other than Murphy over .275), Daniel Murphy, essentially, stands alone.

When this writer was asked numerous times earlier in the season about whether the Mets should trade Murphy, the answer was simple: 188 hits.  In 2012, Daniel Murphy hit .286 (658 at-bats), a very respectable 13 homers and 78 RBIs with 23 stolen bases.  He also played (and this is very important today when someone goes on the DL virtually every week) in 161 games.

This year isn’t much different.  Counting today’s half-game stats versus the Phillies, Murphy is hitting .295 with eight homers and 42 RBIs (with a little more than two months left in the season).  You would hope that his OBP would get better (now a respectable .340) but the reality is that this is the best hitter (for average, for hit totals, for his ability to play plenty of games) that the Mets have this season.  Like last year, he rarely misses a game and has only not played in three games this year (and don’t forget the stupid flap created by dopes when Murphy took time off to go see the birth of his child; come on, fellas, it is 2014).  The point being this guy plays every day and has become a bit of an iron man in a league where they don’t exist anymore.

The Mets, a team desperate for hitting (Citi Field has ruined David Wright as a power hitter, even after the realignment of the field), shouldn’t give up their best hitter even if he is a defensive liability.  At this point, after a lot of hard work, maybe he’s an average second baseman.  He still has a chance to get better defensively and made a tremendous play last night against the Phillies, angling to his left onto the outfield grass to make a diving play on a grounder and get the out at first, not something he really could do in the past.

Professional hitters are few and far between.  Daniel Murphy is one of them.  Don’t trade Daniel Murphy.

Part II tomorrow

© Copyright 2014 by Steve Kallas. All rights reserved.

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