The main piece in the Gerrit Cole trade might be on the block again in 2020. The Pittsburgh Pirates are not contenders and will get a lot of interest for their ace, Joe Musgrove. In 2019, Musgrove had his first 30 start season and pitched well. He went 11-12 with a 4.44 ERA striking out 157 in 170 innings.
At first glance, these numbers don’t look so great. However, Musgrove had a FIP of 3.82. This means he likely got very unlucky which is the reason his ERA was high.
The Pirates, according to FanGraphs, were 25th in defensive runs saved at -54. They were also dead last in the league with a -54 UZR. The Pirates were awful last year and they certainly did not help Musgrove out. Musgrove allowed just 1.1 home runs per 9 innings, the same amount as Gray and guys like Flaherty and Corbin. He had a 4.03 strikeout to walk rate which was ahead of guys like Lucas Giolito and Zack Wheeler.
He is someone who keeps the ball in the ballpark and doesn’t walk many. He really did just get unlucky last year which explains his high ERA. He would be a solid middle of the rotation arm for the Mets to get this season.
The 35-year-old is in the final year of his contract with the Giants making $16 million. He is coming off of a very solid 2019 season in which he went 11-12 with a 3.52 ERA. While the base numbers were good, his peripherals weren’t as good as he only struck out 6.9 guys per nine innings and had a FIP at over a run higher at 4.59. Samardzija has been an innings eater his entire career and likely would be a solid fifth starter for the Mets for this season who could give them five or six innings and allow three or four runs.
With the lineup the Mets have, that should be good enough most of the time. Because he’s in a contract year, in his age 35 season, and on a rebuilding team, it will likely take close to nothing to acquire him. However, the Wilpons have always been reluctant to take on the burden of a big contract even if it is just for a third of a season.
All four of these guys would help the Mets for the 2020 season, and three of the four will help next year as well. The Mets have little to no depth and if someone in their current rotation of deGrom, Matz, Porcello, Wacha, and Peterson gets hurt, that will be very bad.
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Because of this, the Mets should add quickly and make an upgrade to a very questionable rotation and push for contention in the 2020 season.