Mets GM: Four young arms not available

Alderson seeks offensive help, keeping emerging rotation intact

Mets GM: Four young arms not available

NEW YORK -- With the July 31 Trade Deadline eight days away and the market suddenly starting to shape, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson made two declarative statements Thursday in reference to his strategy and goals for improving his team.

The first came firm and fast.

"We're not trading the four young players in our rotation," Alderson said. "That's not going to happen."

The second centered around what has proved a formidable obstacle for the Mets' front office in recent years: financial flexibility. When asked if the Mets possessed the capability to take on a player with a "major contract," Alderson replied: "Yes."

"Now, none of you will believe me, OK?" Alderson continued. "So I'm not sure why you asked the question and insisted on the answer."

Entering Thursday night just three games behind first-place Washington, New York is desperate for offensive help to support its emerging dominant pitching staff. The Mets are 35-5 when scoring four or more runs in a game and 14-41 when they don't, in large part due to a lineup hitting an MLB-low .235. Manager Terry Collins' Thursday lineup featured four players hitting below .200 (including Nos. 4 and 5 hitters John Mayberry Jr. and Eric Campbell).

It has long been believed the Mets would need to include at least one of their young hurlers in a package to acquire a legitimate offensive difference-maker. Alderson insisted that while he won't give up Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard or Steven Matz, he's still looking.

Potential trade partners were not available earlier in the month, Alderson said. Two trades were completed Thursday that Alderson said could spark the rest of the market. Oakland traded Scott Kazmir to the Astros, and the Pirates acquired Aramis Ramirez from the Brewers.

Meanwhile, New York continues to match consistently excellent pitching with inadequate offense. In this light, Alderson was asked if that dynamic could be viewed as wasted bullets from those precious arms.

"Is there a window [for success]? Yes, there's a window. But, as I said, it's not a few weeks wide. It's the longer view that we have to take. It doesn't mean we're not going to do anything. It doesn't mean we're not trying to make a deal. We're certainly aware of the team that we have and the imbalance that we have right now between pitching and offense."

Joe Trezza is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.