In early-September, Mets GM Sandy Alderson told reporters he will look to add a reliable, veteran, starting pitcher to his rotation for next season...
"I think if we were able to find a Bartolo Colon-type, who fits in the three-four spot and semi-guarantees 180-200 innings, that would probably be something that would stabilize our rotation," he explained. "So, yes, I think it's something we'll look at."
It was reported that free-agent Mike Minor has agreed to a deal with the Rangers to be a starting pitcher. Terms have not been reported, but the buzz in baseball has it around $20-25 million for three years.
This is important because the Mets had interest in Minor, according to reports. However, they wanted to him to be a reliever, which is a role he succeeded in last season with the Royals.
However, Minor had been telling teams he wanted to return to being a starting pitcher, which is where he thrived prior to having shoulder surgery in 2015. As expected, his new team, the Rangers, have agreed to use him in their rotation, according to reporter Ken Rosenthal.
As a starting pitcher, Minor should be a bargain at three years and $21 million. Meanwhile, the Mets seemingly need a starting pitcher. The fact that they were unwilling to give Minor three years to be a starting pitcher tells me they have zero interest in acquiring an established arm for their rotation.
In the wake of learning Shohei Ohtani will not be signing in New York, MLB.com's Anthony DiComo went so far as to report the Mets are now unlikely to pursue any starting pitcher this winter.
This is a mistake...
I understand if Alderson's budget (and opinion) restricts him from signing Yu Darvish or Jake Arrieta to five- or six-year deal. But, given what transpired at Citi Field in 2017, given how far the season was thrown off track by arm injuries, having another reliable, consistent, veteran in the rotation is seemingly as much of a need as anything else.
The current crop of free agent mid-rotation starting pitchers includes Jason Vargas, Alex Cobb, Lance Lynn, CC Sabathia, Mike Fiers, and others, all of whom are expected to land contracts between two and four years.
In the event the above is still too costly, pitchers like Yovani Gallardo, Wade Miley, Bartolo Colon, or RA Dickey, among a dozen others, should be able to be had -- eventually -- for a one-year deal. And, as the winter goes on, it would not surprise me if a bargain can be had by giving out minor-league deals.
In either case, I just can't believe Alderson is foolish enough to think he can avoid helping his rotation. He and new Mets manager Mickey Callaway have repeatedly said they intend to use more statistical evidence to help determine the correct time to pull a starting pitcher from a game. Because this could mean limiting the starting pitcher from facing the opposing lineup for a third time in a game, the Mets have said they must add at least one, and possibly two, established late-inning relievers. The thing is, a sixth starting pitcher/long-man could also help space out the rotation and make up missing innings in a meaningful way.
So, my hunch is this is just short-term public relations to signal their immediate needs to the market. And in time, the Mets will look to pick up at least one or two people to fill in the rotation, because their Triple-A depth is far from sensational. They need arms, and the more the merrier...
By the way, by signing Minor and Doug Fister, the Rangers have now added two free-agent pitchers that prefer to start, but who can pitch in relief. This looks, to me, like they're setting up their staff to be able to handle Ohtani, who will only pitch every sixth day and likely need random off-days depending on how he's hitting and fielding.
Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) is lead writer of MetsBlog.com, which he created in 2003. He also hosts the MetsBlog Podcast, which you can subscribe to here. He recently left his position as Executive Editor and Dir. of Digital Content for SNY.TV to help sports brands build their own digital content businesses...