Mets need to invest in starting rotation

It is universally acknowledged that the New York Mets have a talented pitching roster. Their top three starters, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Zack Wheeler combined to form an electric 1-2-3 trio that would make any opposing lineup tremble. After those three however, things start to go downhill. Quickly. Behind the power three, Steven Matz and Jason Vargas could easily switch in and out as the 4-5 in the rotation, which should be an issue to anyone who reads those names. The two lefties combined to form a 12-20 with a 9.74 ERA. With the display of the ugly numbers out of the way, it goes without saying that the Mets need to invest more into their rotation.

The NL East has become an arms race in terms of starting pitching, especially when it comes to the Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals. Those two teams have each brought in an elite pitcher in the last off-seasons. Last off-season, it was the Phillies bringing in Jake Arrieta for three years and $25 million. This past December, the Nationals inked Patrick Corbin for $140 million over and extremely back-loaded six years. With both teams also gunning for the talents of Bryce Harper this offseason, the race to spend the most money before Spring Training features the Nationals and Phillies neck and neck. The Mets should not be shy to strap on their sneakers and get in the race, and make a run for Dallas Keuchel.

Keuchel, the 2015 AL Cy Young Award winner, is supposedly looking for a five year contract. This is asking a lot for a 31 year-old, especially with the way the market has trended for players on the wrong side of 30. It is not likely that Keuchel will get signed for that long, and that is something that the Mets should take advantage of. In signing the lefty, the Mets would receive a player who hardly ever misses a start, and has the ability to be an ace when needed. A signing of Keuchel would give the Mets an advantage in the battle for the best rotation in the NL East, and give the Mets one of the best top four starters in baseball.

The Mets have also invested in their rotation by spending money on the bullpen. By creating a strong bullpen, the Mets have essentially given the starters the ability to breathe. During the 2018 season, starters essentially could have no confidence that their bullpen cold hold a lead to end the game. The Mets bullpen single handedly created a reason for there to be a discussion of whether or not deGrom should have won the Cy Young last season, by costing deGrom that many wins.

With the Mets significantly under the luxury tax threshold, and supposedly not pursuing Harper or Manny Machado, there is no reason that they shouldn’t spend money to bolster their rotation. Whether it be Keuchel, or adding another dynamic bullpen arm, the Mets should make an investment in what could possibly be the best part of their team in 2019.

12 comments for “Mets need to invest in starting rotation

  1. January 26, 2019 at 8:22 am

    Give the Metsies credit for improving the BP.
    Signing Justin Wilson is a good move to go along with the group they have. I agree that another starter would be wise. Everyone knows that the starting 5 won’t go unscathed the entire year.
    Pitching is a violent motion…someone…at sometime…will go down, just a matter of fact as history of all teams would demonstrate.
    I say bring on a reliable innings eater that knows the division well.
    Gio, Gio, Gio !
    The Mets are like at $155M- $160M with the Justin Wilson signing. Perhaps $7.5-8M per year on a 3 year deal brings Gio Gonzalez into the fold ? That would still put Mets well under the $206M MLB Salary threshold and fortify the starting 5 with a crafty vet that has a good health history for durability.
    One more starter of this caliber and let’s get it on NL !

  2. MattyMets
    January 26, 2019 at 8:50 am

    I agree that the Mets need rotation depth but there’s a different way they need to go about it. As of right now, the Mets have five starters guaranteed spots in the rotation so there is no opening. To sign Keuchel or Gonzalez we’d have to first trade one of the others.

    Right now our backup plan is to pull Lugo out of the pen, followed by calling up Cory Oswalt or Hector Santiago from AAA. For a scratch start that’s fine but last year Oswalt got 12 starts and that’s not cool.

    We can see which of the remaining veteran FA starting pitchers not named Keuchel or Gio might be willing to settle for a minor league deal and at the same time sign someone like Adam Warren so the bullpen can better handle the eventual loss of Seth Lugo.

    Remaining FA starters (ages) from MLBTR:
    Brett Anderson (31)
    Clay Buchholz (34)
    Bartolo Colon (46)
    Doug Fister (35)
    Yovani Gallardo (33)
    Gio Gonzalez (33)
    Miguel Gonzalez (35)
    Jason Hammel (36)
    Jeremy Hellickson (32)
    Edwin Jackson (35)
    Nate Karns (31)
    Dallas Keuchel (31)
    Francisco Liriano (35)
    Wade Miley (32)
    Ervin Santana (36)
    James Shields (37)
    Chris Tillman (31)
    Josh Tomlin (34)

  3. Mike Walczak
    January 26, 2019 at 8:53 am

    I completely agree on adding another starter. I think adding one more decent starter really solidifies this team.

    Didn’t put a lot if thought into Keuchel, but now as we get late in the off season, maybe we can get him at a better price.

  4. NYM6986
    January 26, 2019 at 9:09 am

    I think Matz turned the corner staying healthy. At times his stuff is dominating. I think they will look to an in season trade deadline to pick up a back of the rotation arm as by then question marks on the moveable pieces – Frasure, Smith, tDa, Lagares will be answered. This is a very deep team and that will allow them to withstand injuries without having to bring up a not quite ready AAA or AA player. How can you not be psyched for SP to start??!!

  5. TJ
    January 26, 2019 at 9:24 am

    I agree 100% with Matt. I have (and will continue to be) a major critic and skeptic of the Wilpons. Justin Wilson is far from Ottavino or Andrew Miller, and far from a given, but he is a reasonable depth piece at a modest price. At this point, it is not a stretch to claim they have enough in the pen.

    Machado and Harper aside, there is still opportunity to strengthen the team at the back end of the rotation. The problem is that the available free agents aren’t a great fit. Keuchel has the best resume but is a big risk given his recent performance. It would make more sense to invest those dollars in their own top 3 guys, imho. Giving guaranteed money, especially more than one year, to guys in the next rung that may or may not outperform Matz or Vargas is not wise. So, what to do? To me, a guy like Warren or Minor would make sense for the reasons given above, freeing up Lugo as a starter should the need arise. But, if they are high on some of the young pen pieces, like Smith or Bashlor, they may be hesitant, and that is understandable. And, with Minor, word is that they backed down given the price in prospects. That may also be wise if they prefer to hold some chips in order to deal for a starter in season, should the need arise and they are in a position to contend.

    At this point, the best choice may be the least interesting, find some non-roster depth guys that will challenge during spring training, and maybe grab a Warren type on a good deal. Overall, though, at this point, I have to give Brodie a solid “B” for his performance. They aren’t favorites, but they are solid enough to be in the conversation for the NL East.

  6. Artie
    January 26, 2019 at 9:46 am

    Pitchers break down. Especially older pitchers, that’s one reason starters aren’t asked to go 8 innings or even 7. That’s why the super BP is the new thing in baseball. 5 years for Keuchel seems like a bad idea. How many innings has Wheeler pitched in the last 3 seasons? Remember Harvey? Gonzales sounds like a good fit for me. Maybe Hellickson,Shields or Liriano.

  7. Chris F
    January 26, 2019 at 10:39 am

    Who is Justin Wilson? This has Alex Torres written all over it. Maybe Frank Frank, or his buddy Rauch. I dont see this as more than cheap filler.

    Last year many argued for SP depth. It still holds. Like it our not we will need 8 SP this year. The non starting five will get 20+ starts, the difference between 90 and 70 wins. As far as Im concerned Keuchel would be welcomed even pushing Syndergaard to 3. I think the lack of SP depth should be a concern.

    I like BVW shaking the tree and bringing in new faces. No doubt, this will be a different clubhouse, but I thin the utility player at every position is an experiment Im not buying yet. But very curious how it plays out.

    • January 26, 2019 at 12:28 pm

      The Mets got in the neighborhood of 300 innings from relievers last year with an ERA over 5.

      In 412 lifetime games in the majors, Justin Wilson has a 3.33 ERA, including a 3.46 mark last year and a 3.41 slate in 2017. He’s a marked improvement over what they had previously, especially if they don’t force feed him into being exclusively a LOOGY.

      Edit: Forgot that some of those guys functioned as SP, too. The actual number is 227 IP.

    • Chris B
      January 29, 2019 at 11:19 pm

      I agree with your comment that the Mets will need innings from 10 starters this year. I have the impression that the club believes in the flexibility of Lugo, that’s 6. Maybe the coaches can harness something productive out of either Felxen/Oswalt, 7. After that the options are unreliable or too far away in the minors. The Mets absolutely need to add a proven starting arm to the 40 man and at least a minor league option with an invite to ST.

      • Chris B
        January 29, 2019 at 11:20 pm

        *8 starters

  8. Mitchell
    January 26, 2019 at 2:58 pm

    Why doesn’t the Mets swap Vargas and Lugo spots. Seth Lugo should be starting and Vargas should only pitch an inning from bullpen only once in a while.

  9. Mark
    January 27, 2019 at 1:21 pm

    It would be a good idea to strengthen the rotation or bullpen
    They should also get a real good and healthy true center fielder

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