Mets rotation needs to add a cheap veteran into the mix for insurance
By Richard Heaton
Throughout the offseason, it’s been apparent that the New York Mets plan was to acquire two starting pitchers.
Whether the Mets acquire one or two starters, their roster is left with a hole, in the form of Steven Matz. In 2020, Matz went 0-5 with a 9.68 ERA, and a 1.696 WHIP. Since August 2nd, 2019, Matz has given up 5 or more runs 7 of 20 times.
Here’s where the roster situation currently stands. In the rotation, Carrasco is likely to serve as Matz’s replacement while whoever else the Mets sign would serve as Noah Syndergaard’s replacement until he comes back from his Tommy John rehab.
Regardless of how you look at it, Matz will still be on the roster, even if he doesn’t play or sees minimum action. In the case that the Mets don’t acquire a second starter and Matz remains in the rotation, it would only be until Syndergaard comes back, and then he would still be pushed out.
Unless he can quickly recover from his dismal 2020 campaign, Matz will be taking up a virtually empty roster spot that will cost the Mets more than $5 million in 2021. This is why the Mets need to look into signing a third starting pitcher.
The Mets could greatly benefit from adding a cheap veteran pitcher to throw in the mix
Options could include Matt Harvey, Felix Hernandez, Cole Hamels, Rich Hill, Collin McHugh, or one of the many remaining options.
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Sure, from a talent standpoint, none of these options are great. But from roster and salary standpoints, signing one of these pitchers should work wonders for the team.
Harvey pitched to a 7.82 ERA since the start of the 2019 season. King Felix opted out of the 2020 season and won only one game in 2019 while missing half the season due to injury.
Most of these players can be signed for cheap, maybe to minor league deals or league minimum contracts. Obviously, they won’t upgrade the team, but if they end up being the same caliber player as what we’d get out of Matz, replacing him on the roster with one of these options would greatly help the team financially.
I don’t know about you, but replacing the player who is potentially the weakest link with a cheaper version of essentially the same player doesn’t sound like a bad idea. This is especially true when the team is still trying to make big moves while working under the luxury tax.
This move would also give the team the flexibility to try and shop Matz before the season. Of course, not that many teams would be interested in a $5.2 million pitcher that could easily post a 5 ERA. However, the Mets could use him as a salary offset in a bigger deal, which could help the team even more.
The Mets would greatly benefit from this win-win move
They replace a possibly regressing Matz with a far cheaper option, then they have the flexibility to trade him. If the team doesn’t do this, or something similar, they will be stuck with Matz.
Think about it. If they add another starter, they will have a six-man rotation once Syndergaard comes back, and that’s without Matz. If they keep Matz in the rotation and don’t acquire another starter, he will only make a handful of starts before being pushed out of the rotation to make room for Syndergaard.
At that point, he would only have a couple of months left before becoming a free agent and the Mets may be forced to shop him at that point. On paper that would be the worst-case scenario if he doesn’t rebound.
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Long story short, the Mets need to sign a cheap veteran starter. They don’t have to be good, they just need to serve as a cheaper version of the Mets’ weakest link.