Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |
In an unexpected move, the Mets have reportedly inked Rick Porcello to a one-year deal worth $10 million. While the signing itself was surprising, the potential ramifications are even more intriguing.
Since the Mets now have an excess of starting pitchers and 42 players for 40 spots (and are brushing up against the luxury tax), more moves have to be coming. So what happens now?
Are the Mets going to trade a starting pitcher?
With Porcello and Michael Wacha on board, the Mets seemingly have six starting pitchers for five slots.
Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen said on Wednesday -- while speaking about Wacha in general terms since the deal wasn't official -- that he expected Wacha to be a starting pitcher.
Of the 165 games Wacha has appeared in during his career, 151 have come as a starting pitcher -- including 24 of 29 this past season. Unless Wacha or someone else is moving to the bullpen, it seems logical that the Mets would be open to trading a starting pitcher.
It won't be Jacob deGrom. And Van Wagenen said Thursday he fully expects Noah Syndergaard to be a Met in 2020. Marcus Stroman only has one year of control left. So perhaps Steven Matz -- set to make just over $5 million in 2020 and under team control through 2021 -- is the most likely to go.
Is a move coming to clear payroll?
By adding Porcello (guaranteed $10 million) and Wacha (guaranteed $3 million), the Mets are now brushing right up against the $208 million luxury tax threshold and they presumably still need to add relievers to a bullpen that was so dismal in 2019 that it likely cost them a shot at the playoffs.
The Mets also have 42 players for 40 spots, so they will need to clear two spots one way or the other when the Wacha and Porcello moves become official.
Before the Porcello signing, there was already talk of the Mets potentially trading Jed Lowrie and/or Jeurys Familia, which SNY's Andy Martino has reported on. Lowrie was linked to the A's and Astros on Wednesday night, so maybe he's the next domino to fall.
Meanwhile, the Mets have been in active discussions with teams about Dominic Smith, who could potentially be a sweetener in a deal that dumps salary.
It should also be noted that the Mets don't need to stay under the luxury tax. If they exceed it in 2020, the penalty would be minimal. And they would theoretically be able to drop right back under the threshold in 2021.
Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman seem ticketed for the bullpen
Van Wagenen has said multiple times this offseason that Lugo and Gsellman were options for the rotation in 2020 and that they would prepare for that eventuality.
Whether the Mets trade a starting pitcher or not, the need in the rotation no longer exists. That could be impacted if there is an injury or two, but it seems all but certain that both Lugo and Gsellman will remain in the bullpen unless something drastic happens.
Potentially moving one of them (particularly Lugo) to the rotation never seemed ideal, and with the Mets not having yet added a potential impact reliever this offseason, they can easily keep their incumbents as-is in the bullpen.