If the 2020 version of the New York Mets taught us anything, it is that you simply can’t overstate the importance of quality starting pitching. Starters for the Mets last season compiled an ERA of 6.07. This is not the standard that we are used to seeing from the Mets rotation, as for the past few years we have been dazzled by excellent performances. Save for Jacob deGrom and David Peterson, there was nothing to write home about in terms of starting pitcher effectiveness. Sure, the rotation lacked the presence of Noah Syndergaard, but there was still no excuse for how low quality of a rotation was presented. For that reason, it is extremely important that the Mets bring back Marcus Stroman.

The “Stro Show” came into town on July 28th of 2019, and put up solid numbers for the Mets, pitching to a 4-2 record with an ERA of 3.77. Prior to the 2020 season, Stroman tore his calf, which sidelined him. He then announced on August 10th that he would forego the rest of the 2020 season, causing many to speculate on whether or not his short tenure with the organization had come to a close. If you look back at the team starting pitching stats for the Mets, you’d hope it wasn’t the end of the “Stro Show” in Queens.

The Mets could use all the depth that they could get when it comes to starting pitching. While Stroman does not provide eye-dazzling numbers, he is at least a quality pitcher. He is a quality pitcher that on the occasion, can put together a number of excellent starts as well. He will never be the stud of a starting rotation, especially a Mets rotation that features deGrom, but he is certainly an excellent complement to that. With a healthy Syndergaard added to the mix, the Mets would have a very potent top three punch in their rotation, with the flexibility to add a pitcher via free agency. Throw in Peterson at the back end, and you are looking at a rotation that might be able to pitch competitively.

When people debate against the idea of signing Stroman, they usually lean on the fact that he relies heavily on contact to make outs, and that the Mets don’t have enough infield talent to be able to support a pitcher like that. While Stroman does rely heavily on groundballs for outs, (he had a groundball rate of 54.6% in 2019, and the MLB average was 42.9%) that argument is simply not valid anymore. To start, he’ll have elite talent up the middle in Andres Gimenez. Gimenez was always known to have an elite glove, but his bat gave more reason for Luiz Rojas to start him moving forward. With more starts, Gimenez showed off those outstanding defensive skills, registering an OAA of 6, good enough for 16th in the Major Leagues.

Alongside Gimenez at second is Robinson Cano, who proved to have a renaissance season. His bat and mitt looked young again, which means the middle will be covered for the Mets. Once they figure out what to do at third base and at center field in terms of defense, the team should be ready to field at least a competent defense.

Should Steve Cohen assume ownership of the Mets, the prospect of resigning Stroman should be too lucrative to pass up. His asking price should be lower than it normally would be, considering he missed the entire truncated 2020 season. In addition to that, the glaring hole from the 2020 season was that the team lacked starting rotation depth. You don’t need the new analytics team that Cohen is bringing in to know that things need to be switched up there. Stroman seems like a natural fit to help plug that hole. If this rotation can be quickly rebuilt, the Mets can realistically return to prominence in the NL East. After all, the Mets had the highest batting average in the major leagues in 2020 with a mark of .272. In addition to the increased offensive production from the lineup, the Mets also saw a resurgent year from Edwin Diaz, who pitched to the tune of a 1.75 ERA, and had more than half the number of strikeouts than he did last season, and he did it in 40 less games. Bringing back the electricity that Stroman brings to the team, as well as the consistency that he provides on the mound, would push the Mets a bit closer to contention in 2021.

The ERA of Mets starting pitchers last season was 6.07
Stroman had a roundball rate of 54.6% in 2019
The Mets team batting average in 2020 was .272

18 comments on “Bringing Stroman back can help push Mets to contention

  • TexasGusCC

    While a n y good pitcher can help push the Mets higher in the standings, I don’t think Stroman is necessarily the best option. It is rare that a pitcher that pitches to contact to have good years continuously because he doesn’t know where the ball will land. Historically, I find it hard to remember too many pitchers that were not strikeout pitchers but were good year after year. Therefore, I’d expect Stroman to not accept a QO and search for a good deal because if his luck changes, he’s doomed. Probably the biggest reason he didn’t want to risk pitching this year is there wasn’t any upside to his leverage. The guy is a lifetime 3.76 ERA pitcher that was as good as 2.96 in 2018, and as bad as 5.54 in 2017. So, which one are you getting. Sorry Dalton, but I pass. Too, even offering a QO or not would cause quite a dilemma.

    • Rob

      Your comment made me think of those mid 80s cardinal teams. They didnt have many strikeout pitchers but amazing defense all around. But agree will he be the best option for them.

      • TexasGusCC

        Back then Rob, pitchers weren’t counting K’s. Actually, Tudor was a good K guy for the times. Andujar was pretty good too. I don’t remember the rest.

    • Bob P

      Gus I think Stroman will accept the QO if he gets it. If he doesn’t accept he’s going to have a tough time getting a good multi year deal when spending is expected to be down. If he has a QO attached that will make it all that tougher with teams having to give up a draft pick. I’d like to se the Mets give him the QO because I think he’ll take it and $19M or so for one year is not a huge risk.

      • TexasGusCC

        I’m get you Bob and I’m kind of in the fence in mind about it. Some days, I say sure. Some, I say save the money for elsewhere and sign Gausman for 3/$40.

  • Mike W

    The Mets severely need starters. Beyond Bauer, there is not much there. Unfortunately, most teams need starters, so there will be lots of competition.

    So, it will boil down to how much and how long.

  • John From Albany

    I would give him the qualifying offer then see wat happens. If he accepts the offer, you have him for one year and can decide longer after that. If not, you get the draft pick.

    • TexasGusCC

      He’s going to want the security for sure because he’s been banging the drum for a while. But, his agent should talk some sense into him. He’s not getting $19 in this market when Wheeler got $17 in a much better economy and only BVW thinks they’re comparable.

      • Metsense

        Wheeler 2020 salary is $21,500M. He signed for 5 / $118,000M.

        • TexasGusCC

          Oops, thank you Metsense.

  • Chris F

    Stroman is Arguably the #2 free agent starting pitcher available. I don’t see any chance he takes a QO. He won’t have any issues getting a multi year contract, which I can’t see the Mets doing.

  • Metsense

    Stroham should be signed at to a muti year contract because the Mets need starting pitching and he is the #2 free agent starting pitcher. The Mets don’t have a minor league ready to step into the rotation and their second best starter, Peterson, is inexperienced. Syndergaard is recuperating from TJ and can’t be relied at the start of the season. Dalton makes a strong case of Stroham’s attributes. They should make a QO to depress his market and secure a draft choice. Stroman would get the Mets closer to contending and would be a good fit.

  • Mike W

    What if we pass on Stroman and look at back end veteran starters like Quintana and Tanaka. Will still need a really good number two behind Jake.

    Yeah, it would be great to be really competitive next year, but we have to look at it with two, three and four year glasses.

    Either way, it should be a really fun off season. So, I expect a lot of activity and transactions.

  • Remember1969

    I might argue that Stroman is the #1 free agent pitcher out there. There are a lot of reasons not to like Bauer. I won’t get into that in this post, but in my opinion, Stroman should absolutely get the QO. I agree with Bob P. above – I think he takes it. $19M is not that huge a risk for the Mets and too big a risk for him not to take in this upside down world. I see overall spending down in the FA market this year because of it.

  • NYM6986

    Look where we have come that $19 million is not enough for pitcher who bailed on the team last year? I would offer the QO and take the year for him to get his head on straight. If he declines them I would not move off of 3/$51. Let’s hope who sits in the GM chair can trade wisely and get a #2 behind Jake as Noah will need more time. There will be loads of teams wanting to cut payroll after all of the revenue losses so some strong arms should be available. Cohen’s money will be great and we should not be outbid unless that’s what we wanted but let’s make sure we strengthen our scouting and build back the decimated minors.

    • Remember1969

      Just a comment on your assumptions that Stroman bailed and does not have his head on straight. I cannot begin to put myself in anyone else’s shoes when it comes to this damn virus. I understand that MLB put together a lot of procedures to protect the players, coaches, umpires, and other staff and in general they worked out well. However early on, teams such as Miami and St. Louis had breakouts causing them to postpone games. The virus is terrifying and I cannot hold it against anyone for their actions when it comes to self or family protection. They sacrificed a lot more money that I can even contemplate earning to stay safe. I have to take their word on the reasons for it and not hold it against him/them. Quite a few others, including Buster Posey, David Price, and Ryan Zimmerman all did the same thing for the same stated reasons. Nobody knew back in July where this thing was going or whether baseball would be successful in fending off the spread of this deadly disease. Perhaps Marcus was the one that did have his head on straight at the time. If there were other reasons for Stroman and he doesn’t really want to be with the Mets, so be it, he does not need to accept a QO or negotiate with them for a new deal, but I for one would welcome him back with no strings or hard feelings.

  • NYM6986

    No disagreement with you. I really expected the season to be cancelled for everyone’s safety and thought it was a bit ghoulish watching games and waiting to see who would get Covid. And I would have no issue with him on the team. The difference with the others you mentioned were they were basically at the end of the careers and have made countless millions and walking away was much easier for them and their families. I don’t recall Stroman making any statements or offering explanations other than I’m opting out. Maybe that’s all he had to say. I certainly don’t begrudge him from taking the stance he did.

  • Name

    Everyone assumes that Stroman wants to play next year… but is that really the case?

    If Stroman is indeed legitimately spooked by the virus, then any team that signs him has to seriously consider the fact that he will again opt out next year as the virus certainly won’t be eradicated by spring training and will be around in some fashion for years.

    I don’t know what will give him peace of mind to play again – is it a vaccine or a transmission rate under a certain threshold or a bubble environment – but it adds another layer of complexity to any team that is considering to sign him. It would suck for someone to pencil him in to a starting rotation and then have to dip to starter #6 before the season starts because he opts out again.
    Unfortunate for him, the narrative that Stroman has incurred because of opting out means that he is a liability next year so while Stroman may be considered a #1 or #2, i think in this offseason a team that signs him needs to view him as a #4 or #5 so that way your team’s chances of winning are not reliant on him.

    Or this could all just for financial reasons and a big fat contract or salary gets him on the field again.

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