It should first be pointed out that at this point, the "five aces" moniker is more of a reference to what the five pitchers listed below were supposed to be -- not what they are now.
But with the uncertainty surrounding Jason Vargas, the Mets' "five aces" -- Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, and Steven Matz -- may be lined up to make a turn through the rotation together for the first time ever.
Syndergaard, deGrom, and Harvey were always locks for the rotation. And now that Vargas is likely to miss at least one start due to surgery to his non-throwing hand, Matz and Wheeler are expected to slot into the rotation for the first week of the season.
Harvey debuted in July of 2012, with Wheeler debuting in June of 2013 during a doubleheader in Atlanta that Harvey started the first game of. DeGrom debuted in May of 2014, followed by Syndergaard in May of 2015 and Matz in June of the same year.
But while the "five aces" have been teammates for parts of three seasons, they have never taken a turn through the rotation together -- mainly due to serious injuries that have derailed multiple seasons for Wheeler and Harvey. Matz has also had his fair share of injury issues, while Syndergaard missed the majority of last season after tearing his lat.
Syndergaard and deGrom are aces, and that is unquestionable. Harvey was an ace in 2012, 2013, and 2015, but may not reach that level again. Meanwhile, the 27-year-old Wheeler and 26-year-old Matz are full of potential but haven't yet had a chance to put together a full season.
Still, if the above five pitchers are healthy, it's fair to believe the production will be there. Perhaps not ace-level for anyone beyond Syndergaard and deGrom, but certainly enough to help carry this team to the playoffs.
And after nearly three years of waiting to see what it would look like if Harvey, Wheeler, deGrom, Syndergaard, and Matz made up the Mets' rotation, we may finally find out.