Please us this thread to comment on any Mets-specific topic you wish.
In the offseason, it was thought that the Mets had so much pitching depth that they traded Steven Matz for three minor leaguers. Woops. But even without Matz, there were eight pitchers for five spots, even if one of them wasn’t going to be ready for the start of the season. Then Carlos Carrasco went down, Noah Syndergaard‘s return date kept getting pushed back and Joey Lucchesi, David Peterson and Jordan Yamamoto came down with season-ending injuries. On top of that, there was an IL stint for Taijuan Walker and multiple ones for Jacob deGrom.
All of those injuries, combined with a boatload of doubleheaders, have meant that 16 different pitchers have started a game for the Mets this season. What would you have thought in March if someone told you that before the end of July, Tylor Megill would have six starts and Jerad Eickhoff would have four? And that the club would be in first place by 3.5 games after losing two out of three to the Braves?
Yesterday, David lamented the injuries to Franklyn Kilome and Harol Gonzalez, robbing them of chances to get starts in the majors. Lets add another one to Gonzalez, Kilome and Matz – Walker Lockett. The Mets DFAd him in late August, right after he pitched two shutout innings in relief. Lockett wasn’t great and the reason he was DFAd was because he was out of options. But here’s a partial list of players that the Mets kept instead:
Lockett was claimed a few days later and pitched in relief the remainder of the season for Seattle, posting a 4.32 ERA in 8.1 IP. Again, nothing special or anything to be upset about in a big way. Lockett followed the path of another former Mets pitcher, Chris Flexen, and went to pitch in Korea this year. Flexen put up a 3.01 ERA in 116.1 IP in Korea last year and now has a 108 ERA+ in 108.2 IP in the majors. Sometimes what these Quad-A pitchers need is a chance to pitch every fifth day. This year in Korea, Lockett has a 2.38 ERA in 79.1 IP over 13 starts.
Certainly, after watching Eickhoff allow 24 R and 19 ER in 19.2 IP, it’s hard to imagine that Lockett would have been worse. No one thought Eickhoff would be pitching this much for the Mets in 2021. Did the Mets offer a spot in the minors to Lockett? Maybe they did and he thought Korea was a better option for him. But if they didn’t and they prioritized Eickhoff over him, you’d have to say – with perfect hindsight – that it was a mistake. Maybe not as big of one as trading Matz but a mistake nonetheless.