Among Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, and Zach Wheeler, there was a combined 477.1 innings pitched. The most disturbing part about that total is that 42.2% of those innings came from deGrom, who was the best pitcher in the rotation by leaps and bounds. The 2018 Mets flaunt those pitchers as their strength moving into the season. As we have come to find out however, only deGrom can be counted on to make it through a full season. The second closest innings total to DeGrom came from someone outside of the group mentioned before, Robert Gsellman with 119.2 innings pitched.
With that being said, it should be essential that the Mets add an additional starter. While it may seem crowded at first, we should remember that Wheeler could easily be moved to the bullpen, opening up a spot for a quality veteran. Many will bring up the point that the Mets have pitchers like Gsellman and Seth Lugo to fill that spot. I personally am not comfortable with either of them in that fifth spot. All you need to see is that both had sky high ERAs, and WHIPs that aren’t much better.
With the way that the free agent market has gone so far, I don’t see why the Mets can’t sign someone like Lance Lynn to a short contract just to add depth to the roster. For those of you who say the Mets won’t spend any money this offseason, they have already spent $55 million between Jay Bruce, Anthony Swarzak, and Jose Reyes. That’s in the top ten across all of Major League Baseball, so it is not like the team in unwilling to spend.
Lynn would be a terrific fit for the rotation. The main reason for his addition would be for his work horse quality. Over the past five seasons he has pitched, Lynn has averaged 190 innings per season. Adding another reliable starter to the rotation alongside deGrom would put many minds at ease. Lynn will be 31 entering 2018, so there should be no reason he should slow down. On Baseball Reference, Lynn is projected to pitch 153 innings. I see that number ending up being higher however, as he was good for a league-leading 33 starts in 2017.
Alternatives to Lynn come in the form of Alex Cobb and Jason Vargas. Cobb and Vargas are both innings eaters, and Vargas even led the American League in wins last season (18). I would still prefer Lynn over those two however, because Lynn has been in the National League and knows some of the teams and their sluggers well. An addition of any of these three would be wise for the Mets however. They cannot depend on the likes of Matt Harvey and Steven Matz to give them even 100 innings without breaking down. Play it safe, and add a quality veteran that will eat some innings. They’ll not only be able to avoid getting starts from guys like Rafael Montero, but they’ll be getting good, experienced pitching in the process.