The Mets swung a trade for Rays reliever Wilmer Font on Monday, and while Font could help a depleted relief corps that is currently without Jeurys Familia, Justin Wilson, and Luis Avilan. he could also be an option for the starting rotation.
Font has a 5.79 ERA (3.50 FIP) and 1.42 WHIP this season and has struck out 18 batters in 14 innings (10 appearances). He had a 1.67 ERA (3.98 FIP) and 0.96 WHIP with 20 strikeouts in 27 innings for the Rays last season.
Here's the gist on Font...
Font as a fill-in for Jason Vargas or Steven Matz could make sense
With Jason Vargas and perhaps Steven Matz both dealing with what the Mets believe are minor issues that could cost each pitcher as little as one start, Font -- who started five games in 2018 -- could be the team's best option to fill in.
Since the Mets have an off-day on Thursday, they would only need one spot-start if Vargas and Matz miss just one start each. And giving that start to Font would be doable since he is already a bit stretched out, having thrown 59 pitches over 3.0 innings on May 1 during what was his last relief appearance.
The Mets' other options would be internal (Seth Lugo perhaps) or from Triple-A Syracuse (Chris Flexen could be the likeliest choice, and it wouldn't be an inspired one).
Font has a three-pitch mix with a fastball that sits in the mid-90s
Font's fastball, which he has thrown just over 50 percent of the time this season, has averaged 94.2 MPH. After throwing his fastball roughly 66 percent of the time in 2018, Font has mixed in his slider and curve a lot more this season.
Font has thrown his slider 24.7 percent of the time this season with it averaging 85.1 MPH (3 MPH faster than last season). The curve, which Font has thrown 22 percent of the time this season, has averaged 76.2 MPH (1 MPH faster than last season).
Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs wrote a semi-glowing piece on Font last year, while also including several caveats. In the piece, Sullivan compared Font to Tyler Chatwood:
"Chatwood is a risk, even independent of his health, because he doesn't get many strikeouts, and he doesn't limit walks. It's a bet on either stuff or soft contact. Font would be a different sort of risk, again independent of his health, because he's dominated Triple-A opponents, but he's barely faced anyone in the bigs. Some people think that's hugely important, and others figure that Triple-A success tends to be pretty telling. Font should probably get a chance in a major-league rotation. His course has been unusual, but he's still not old, and he comes with six years of club control. He's an atypical prospect, but he's also ready today."
Whatever the Mets envision as Font's role, it seems he is a pitcher with upside to keep an eye on.