The signing of veteran lefty Jason Vargas prompted GM Sandy Alderson to say the team is "pretty much where we want to be." But the signing has left some on the Mets' pitching staff wondering where they stand within the rotation.
The Mets have always been looking for another starter this offseason, and Vargas doesn't only fill that void, but he brings with him veteran knowledge and leadership to a young talented group of pitchers in the starting rotation.
"Not only do we have another guy that can go out there and pitch effectively, we've deepened our team," manager Mickey Callaway noted. "We've added to our depth and probably strengthened our bullpen in a role. He brings a lot not just to the dynamic of our team, but team leadership."
Now, Vargas isn't a definite to make the starting rotation come Opening Day. But there definitely isn't room to house every starting pitcher at Spring Training in one of the rotation slots, so Alderson and Callaway have a simple solution: Bullpen or Triple-A.
"For those guys who are competing for the rotation and ultimately not successful we have two outlets: One is the bullpen and one is Las Vegas," Alderson said. "They are going to be valuable to the team in either role."
So, who are those pitchers currently stuck in limbo? Hurlers like Zack Wheeler, Rafael Montero, and Robert Gsellman highlight that group, and Wheeler has already expressed his disliking of the Vargas signing depsite apologizing to the media after being very silent during questioning about it. These pitchers have no clue what is in store for them, or what their role is expected to be at the moment.
"No one has really said anything to me," Gsellman said.
The front of the rotation isn't what any of these pitchers are aiming for, though. Those spots are obviously taken by the likes of Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, and Matt Harvey. It is the fourth or fifth slot they will vie for this spring, and whoever doesn't get the spot, it will be up to Callaway to see who will work well out of the bullpen.
"We have to think about who needs to stay stretched out, who can bounce back, who has the pitches that can perform out of the bullpen versus starting," he said. "There's a ton of factors that are going to be taken into account and just because one of these starters doesn't end up being in the bullpen and end up in Triple-A doesn't mean it's not that big of a deal about how we feel about them. We're just trying to put ourselves in the best position to win every game."
No matter what happens, these Mets pitchers are willing to do what it takes for the team to win, because at the end of the day, that's the ultimate goal.
"I'm coming in with an open mind," Gsellman said. "All I want to do is win, because losing? That sucks."