Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |
When the Mets lost Noah Syndergaard to Tommy John surgery, it didn't just impact the 2020 season. With the recovery from the surgery likely to stretch into the 2021 season, New York -- which was already facing an uncertain situation regarding their rotation in 2021 and beyond -- is now looking at a potentially dire one.
While the 2020 Mets can simply slot both Steven Matz and Michael Wacha into a rotation that should also include Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman, and Rick Porcello, the 2021 Mets are looking at just two returning rotation members they can count on at the moment: deGrom and Matz (who will be in his walk year, along with Syndergaard).
There are two important things to note when it comes to the Mets' starting rotation in 2020 and beyond...
The first is that Wacha and Porcello, though they have a history of success, cannot be counted on due to injury concerns (for Wacha) and performance concerns (for Porcello).
The second is that regardless of what happens in 2020, the Mets will almost certainly need an infusion from outside the organization to help the rotation in 2021 and after.
For a team that is hoping to contend "now and in the future" as GM Brodie Van Wagenen likes to say, the Mets should be placing an emphasis on finding rotation help. And that should include weighing trade options (and acquiring someone as soon as this season), free agent options, and what they have with their internal options.
Here are five potential pitchers they could turn to, either via trade, free agency, or the farm system...
The 29-year-old left-hander's name has been floated in rumors for the better part of a year, but he has so far remained with the Detroit Tigers -- a team that likely has no hope to contend any time soon.
Because of that, Boyd -- who is under team control through the 2022 season -- is probably more valuable as a trade chip than a member of the Tigers' rotation.
But while Boyd's strikeout rate in 2019 (11.56 per 9 in a career-high 185.1 IP) and 3.88 xFIP suggest he could be close to a breakout, he has so far been wildly inconsistent during his career. And that could be part of the reason why the Tigers' asking price for him hasn't yet been met.
Unlike Boyd, who is locked up for the next three seasons, Ray can be a free agent after the 2020 season. That would likely make him a one-year play for the Mets, though he'd almost certainly come at a much lower cost via trade than Boyd.
Ray, 28, has had eye-popping strikeout rates of above 12 per 9 over the last three seasons, but his ERA has risen from 2.89 to 3.93 to 4.34 each season during that span.
Still, he's a high-upside guy who could potentially fit nicely between deGrom and Stroman in 2020 while also giving the Mets the ability to move Wacha to the pen.
Peterson, a 24-year-old who profiles as a back-end of the rotation starter, could possibly be ready for his big league debut at some point in 2020. However, with things up in the air regarding the minor league season, it's unclear if that will impact his ability to get ready.
While Peterson could potentially max out as a mid-rotation starter if things break right, he is not someone who can be counted on to pitch near the top of a rotation. And that's what the Mets will need with Syndergaard on the shelf.
But Peterson still has immense value as a young, under-control starting pitcher who should hopefully be a solid rotation piece.
Acquired from the Phillies during the 2018 season, Kilome underwent Tommy John surgery shortly after the trade that cost him the 2019 season. Now back in action, Kilome may profile more as a reliever down the road.
However, he's only ever worked as a starter during his professional career and could be an option for the Mets in the rotation if he builds off what he did in the rotation for Double-A Binghamton shortly after being acquired.
Kilome's Mets debut could come in 2020, but he'll be on a strict innings limit -- and will likely also have his innings still limited a bit in 2021 as he continues to get back to full strength.
An outspoken guy with incredible ability, Bauer has floated the idea of only ever signing one-year deals. And he'll have a chance to do so again after his current one-year deal with the Reds expires after the 2020 season.
The Mets, as recent history has shown with Yoenis Cespedes, are more than willing to give players very high average annual value deals if those deals don't extend beyond four years.
Simply put, Bauer could be a perfect fit.
He profiles as a top of the rotation guy, would very likely not shy away from pitching in New York, and might not be looking for a long-term deal.