At each position this year, the Mets have at least two or three guys that could start that position on Opening Day. This Spring Training has proved that having that kind of depth is a good problem. Injuries are something that happen to every team and they need to be prepared to handle that kind of problem. Lucas Duda did not swing the bat for a few days because of an oblique problem and if this was during the season then Michael Cuddyer or even John Mayberry Jr. who has started 75 games at first base in career, could start in place of Duda. Daniel Murphy was out of the lineup for a few days and the Mets have Ruben Tejada or they can slide Wilmer Flores over or call up Dilson Herrera. If an outfielder goes down Kirk Nieuwenhuis steps up from fourth outfielder as he has been pretty hot this spring. The Mets biggest depth “problem” is their pitching staff, especially in the rotation.
Before even getting to any prospects, the Mets have six pitchers who could all be in the rotation on Opening Day. Then on top of them are Rafael Montero, Noah Syndergaard, and Steven Matz who will all be playing in Triple-A at the start of the season and will be ready very soon. Alderson is going to need to make decisions quickly about rotation. The most likely candidate for trade is Dillon Gee and most of the talks have been around him. The Rangers were interested at one point, but do not seem that way anymore. If the Mets held onto Gee, Jon Niese, and Bartolo Colon that would not be a bad thing. Each of the Mets pitchers have something that could easily call for having a sixth starting pitcher stashed in your bullpen. Colon is getting older, and even though he has been a hard worker and does not strain himself a lot, he will turn 42 at the end of May. Some have had some concerns about Jon Niese’s health and having that pitcher who can easily fill in is a good thing to have. The three young pitchers are not perfect pictures either. Matt Harvey is coming back from Tommy John surgery, Zack Wheeler had problems going deep into games, and Jacob deGrom needs to avoid a sophomore slump and has only started 22 games in the majors.
Gee is someone who the Mets can rely on to spot start for any five of these guys while the Mets prospects continue to develop in Vegas. Carlos Torres can be the guy to spot start if needed, but he is best used as the bullpen work horse. It is not ideal to have some one that goes out there pretty much every day, and his stats show it, but of Torres’ 72 relief appearances, 42 of them came on no days rest or one day of rest. Unless Montero is brought up the rest of the Mets bullpen are not pitchers who are going to spot start. Jenrry Mejia can, but as of right now he is going to be the Mets closer. Gee provides nice depth until the other pitchers are ready to come up and by then someone may trade for Niese or Colon freeing up a rotation spot and allowing the Mets to slide one of the prospects in. Gee is making around five million this season and Niese around seven million, so neither of them are breaking the Mets bank and the Mets are not going to go out and pick up a twenty million dollar contract. Plus they need to save that money because within the next few years the Mets are going to need to pay Wheeler, Harvey, deGrom, Juan Lagares, Travis d’Arnaud and Herrera if they want to keep them all.
Ultimately, the Mets should not feel rushed to trade away any of the six starting pitchers they have so far. They are better off waiting until one of the prospects forces their way into the major league in case at some point someone goes down. Unless the Mets are going to get a starting shortstop, which for Gee or Niese or Colon is unlikely to happen, and the player(s) that they would receive are probably not going to be immediate help in the majors. Alderson can bide his time make the deal he wants to make when he wants to make it.