Michelle Ioannou, MetsBlog | Twitter |
The Mets have not put acquiring a starting pitcher at the top of their list, according to multiple reports. This is a bit of a tough pill to swallow after last season -- when the Mets went in banking on their starters, talking about World Series contention because of their starters… and then all of their starters (minus Jacob deGrom) went down during the season.
Having a new, solid starter coming into 2018 would only be beneficial - we need more reliability than just deGrom.
But let's remember that there have been several times where reports tell us one thing, and the Mets do something else (ie hiring Mickey Callaway when everyone else thought Kevin Long or Alex Cora was going to get the job).
Let's also remember who our current starting rotation is (well, at least the core) -- deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, and Matt Harvey. And when healthy and on their game, they are dominant. We've seen it before, and it's helped get us to the World Series.
I'm not going to get into 2017 Harvey or 2016 Harvey, as that would just be painful for all of us. But 2015 Harvey was dominant. And Callaway knows this, and will work with him. Will he be perfect or back to the Dark Knight? No, I've already talked about this. But Callaway knows what Harvey can do, and will try to bring out that potential.
2016 Syndergaard is a different story - 14-9 with a 2.60 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP. We saw how he pitched in his mini-return at the end of last season, coming off his lat injury. If he makes smart medical decisions, and actually does lessen his offseason training regimen, Syndergaard should be back on top of his game. I'm not too worried here.
DeGrom is deGrom. He was our saving grace last season, and has pretty much been a constant. His numbers last season were not his best -- a 3.53 ERA and a 1.187 WHIP, but he struck out a career-best 239 batters. In 2016? Prior to his injury, he posted a 3.04 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP. Not worried here, either.
Matz is the Wild Card. The kid can pitch, as seen by his 2.27 ERA in 2015 and 1.23 WHIP, or even his 3.40 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in 2016. But, can he stay healthy? Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like he can. And that factors in to whether or not he should be considered a reliable arm. Here, I am a bit worried.
From these quick glimpses, Syndergaard and deGrom will be carrying the rotation, with question marks everywhere else. So should the Mets still be going after a starting pitcher?
In one way, yes, because Syndergaard and deGrom will need help. Hopefully Seth Lugo or Robert Gsellman can step up, but their inconsistency in 2017 -- and in Lugo's case, injury issues -- should make the Mets pause. Zack Wheeler hasn't been counted on since 2014. I really don't want to see Chris Flexen, who is not ready, back in the starting rotation just yet, or Rafael Montero, or have another season of "who are we calling up to fill the hole in the rotation?"
With that said, while there are question marks, the Mets do have some options for the rotation, and there are more important holes to fill.
The Mets are in need of a first baseman who can also play outfield (yes, I basically just described Jay Bruce), relief help, and a second baseman. In a perfect world, we can have it all, but if that's not happening, the above issues are more important than the rotation issues.
Jeurys Familia, AJ Ramos, and Jerry Blevins need help in the back end of the bullpen, and that needs to be a priority. And if you think otherwise, please just take a second and remind yourself of Hansel Robles and his pointing.
Blevins himself has even said that he needs help. We've been hearing about Bryan Shaw for a while now. Just pull the plug and do it already, Mets. Shaw is a good reliever who has pitched and grown extremely well under Callaway already.
Let's not forget that we also need a bat, because well, Yoenis Cespedes cannot carry the team himself, as evidenced by last season. I already made it known that I am team Bruce, as he can play first base and the outfield, which the Mets have said they are looking for. And remember, when he was traded last season, he was leading the team in home runs, RBI, and hits -- so we know the guy will be an asset to the team offensively.
There's also that other hole that should be addressed -- the third base/second base hole, as Asdrubal Cabrera cannot play both at once, unless we want to see Travis d'Arnaud in the infield again, which I very much do not want to see. The Mets need to get another infielder. I know some people argue that Wilmer Flores is ready to take over every day, but would you really choose him over a Mike Moustakas or a Todd Frazier?
I am okay if the Mets are choosing to not go after a starting pitcher so they can focus on all of the above instead. Now is that the reality? We'll just have to wait and see.