The emergence of Seth Lugo and David Peterson as capable rotation arms give the New York Mets no excuse to build a cheap rotation in 2021.
Nobody knows for sure what the New York Mets starting rotation will look like in 2021. One thing we can demand is that they don’t go the cheap route.
Whether Steve Cohen is already calling the shots or someone else, the Mets have no excuse. The 2021 rotation will need at least one highly-paid outsider. The payroll department can thank the rise of David Peterson and the success of Seth Lugo as a starting pitcher for this.
It’s realistic for us to expect the Mets to open the 2021 season with a rotation of Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Seth Lugo, David Peterson, and one well-paid free agent. Even if it’s not a free agent and just a high-salary player brought in via trade, the Mets have room.
Rick Porcello, Michael Wacha, and Marcus Stroman’s combined salary is coming off the books after 2020. With Lugo still making very little and Peterson on a rookie contract, the Mets have plenty of wiggle room to fit in a star pitcher and upgrade everywhere else they need to.
This brings us to the most important question of all: who could they sign to fill this role?
Re-signing Stroman is always a possibility, but I would expect the Mets to go in a different direction. Trevor Bauer is the early favorite to take home the biggest paycheck. As one of the biggest personalities in the game, will the Mets find him a little too outspoken?
One of the biggest free agent pitchers set to hit the open market this winter is someone baseball fans in New York are very familiar with. New York Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka is at the end of his deal. Could we see him swap boroughs?
In addition to these few free agents, there are 29 teams out there with starting pitchers that could get moved. A rebuilding team could look to dump some salary. The Mets shouldn’t balk if the deal is right.
“Right” would include not taking on the deals of players way past their prime. Instead, the Mets should look to be a destination team where teams looking to punt next year can move some cash.
The payroll situation opens up for Amazins this winter. Endless possibilities will enter our minds.
In the starting pitcher department, there’s every reason to spend. Among all positions and roles on the team, it’s the one you have zero chance at winning if it’s a weak point.
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We can thank Lugo and Peterson when the Mets sign a big-name free agent starter or trade for one. They’ve stolen any excuse the front office can possibly muster up.