NEW YORK -- Already, Mets assistant general manager John Ricco said, the Mets' four top young pitchers have proven to be "a hot commodity." Teams have come calling. Teams will continue calling. Everyone, as usual, needs pitching.
But perhaps Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said it best Tuesday, when he quipped that he's not counting on bringing Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard or Steven Matz across town anytime soon. Barring something remarkable, it seems, those four are not for sale.
"Our holes, I don't think, are as glaring as they were," said Ricco, subbing at the General Managers Meetings for GM Sandy Alderson, who is to undergo a previously scheduled medical procedure. "That's not to say we can't improve. We certainly have to improve and be better next year."
It's just that the improvements the Mets make this offseason are likely to be incremental -- not the types of blockbuster moves that would require trading frontline starting pitchers. Though Alderson was not quite so direct in his comments last week as he was last offseason, when he called all of his top young starters "untouchable," he went nearly as far down that road.
"I can't see it happening," Alderson said. "You never know what comes up, but I think it's unlikely."
Given Harvey's innings-limit drama late this summer, there has been plenty of speculation that Alderson could deal the righty. But Harvey and the team appear to have, at least on some level, made amends. There's also not much reason to trade any of the other three pitchers, who aren't yet arbitration-eligible.
If the Mets part with any starting pitcher this winter, it could be Zack Wheeler, whom they actually did deal in an ill-fated and ultimately called off July trade with the Brewers for Carlos Gomez. But with another four months of Tommy John rehab under Wheeler's belt, he is becoming more valuable to a Mets team that could gain value from him as soon as next July.
Then again, surprises do happen, and the Mets expect to gauge both the free-agent and trade markets slowly this offseason. Last year, when they made their first big splash by signing outfielder Michael Cuddyer in early November, the Mets were already more than a month into their offseason. This year, they're less than two weeks into it. They have yet to canvass things comprehensively enough to make meaningful predictions.
In the meantime, the phones will continue ringing.
"I would expect we'll have conversations," Ricco said of his week at the GM Meetings. "As to whether we do anything, I don't think we're far enough along yet to know what the overall plans are."