While we may dream of a rotation of Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Carlos Carrasco, Marcus Stroman, and Taijuan Walker, the reality is that only three of those pitchers have even taken the mound to date and their depth replacements – David Peterson, Joey Lucchesi, Jordan Yamamoto, Robert Gsellman, Corey Oswalt, et al – have all landed on the IL too. Who knew someone named Tylor Megill would play such an important role in the 2021 season. Our bullpen is being worked to death and our hold on first place is slipping. The Mets rotation needs reinforcements STAT! Luckily, the trade deadline is approaching and the Mets have all the right ingredients in place to make it work – a deep-pocketed owner, a shrewd President of Baseball Operations, a savvy GM, and even some attractive trade chips. So, who’s out there?
Jose Berrios is the first name that comes up. He’s young, under control for another year, and has front of the rotation stuff. Most important, he’s durable. However, he won’t come cheap. Minnesota is in sell mode, but they may choose to keep players like Berrios and Byron Buxton, who can easily fit into their building plans. If Berrios can be had without going totally overboard, the Mets should pounce.
Kyle Gibson of the Texas Rangers is an intriguing option. The 6’6″ righty is fairly durable and having a terrific season (2.86 ERA through 18 starts), but his track record is uneven. He’s under contract for next season at a reasonable $7.66 million and given his age (33), the Rangers would move him for the right package. While not as appealing as Berrios, Gibson would seemingly cost less in prospects.
Jon Gray of the Rockies has a similar profile – having a solid year (3.68 ERA through 17 starts), but has had an up and down career. The 29-year-old is in his walk year and shouldn’t cost much to get.
Mets scouts were spotted checking in on the Diamondbacks’ Merrill Kelly this week. The 32-year-old late bloomer is only in his third MLB season. On the plus side, he’s made a league-leading 20 starts and durability is very appealing for this MASH unit right now, however his results have been less than stellar with a career ERA of 4.26. Kelly will be arbitration eligible for the first time this off-season so this could present a longer commitment than some of the other options.
Pittsburgh lefty Tyler Anderson fits this same profile – age 31, available in trade, pending free agent, having a decent season (4.35 ERA through 18 starts). However, the journeyman who’s looking for his fourth team, has hardly been a model of durability or consistency.
Royals lefty Danny Duffy, a pending free agent having the best season of his career, might have been a good option, but he just landed on the IL with a forearm strain.
A more getable Twins pitcher might be veteran and former Yankee Michael Pineda. The big righty has been really good at times in his career, but he’s been susceptible to injuries and inconsistency. This season he’s posted a 4.11 ERA through 12 starts. Though it seems he’s been around forever, Pineda is 32.
The Twins may also be looking to unload the enigmatic J.A. Happ. The lefty has been wildly inconsistent in his career; at times looking like a Cy Young candidate, and at other times looking like he doesn’t belong in the league. This season falls into the later category for the 38-year-old pitcher who possesses a ghastly 6.15 ERA through 17 starts. The league is hitting nearly .300 against him – ouch.
Speaking of inconsistent veteran lefties, the Tigers’ Matthew Boyd could be available. His career’s been a bit of a roller coaster, but he’s a 30-year-old lefty with big league experience and that alone has value. Boyd has one more year of control remaining.
There may be other options available as more teams throw in the towel. If the Mets can pad their lead a bit over the next week, the Braves (Drew Smyly, Charlie Morton) and Nationals (Jon Lester) might add a few veteran pitchers to the available-in-trade pool.