Unless the New York Mets do indeed end up adding another starting pitcher to the roster, it looks like it’s Joey Lucchesi’s chance to shine every fifth day for the team from Flushing. Brought in as part of a three-team deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Diego Padres in January, Lucchesi first joined the Mets believing he would have to compete for the fifth starter job with Steven Matz.
It’s amazing how quickly things can change. Less than ten days later, Matz was dealt to the Toronto Blue Jays.
For the foreseeable future, Lucchesi will slot in as one of the top choices for the Mets rotation.
Joey Lucchesi’s job is to hold down the fort for the Mets rotation
Of course, Lucchesi’s time as a starter may not last long this year. When Noah Syndergaard inevitably returns from Tommy John Surgery fully healthy and ready to help the team make a run, Lucchesi would seem to be the obvious candidate to move out of the rotation. He still has minor league options and may end up finding a job in the bullpen if all goes well with Thor.
This plan is a long way into the future and not really a concern for Mets fans. We can start to debate whether Lucchesi should lose his job or not once the time comes and Syndergaard is cleared to get back on the field.
Until then, I expect Lucchesi to build up his stock with the hope of winning a more permanent job in 2022.
Joey Lucchesi still has to prove himself to the Mets
Unproven as a big leaguer to the extent I would like, Lucchesi needs to view the 2021 opportunity as a year to showcase his future placement with the team. The Mets have two high-profile pitchers, Syndergaard and Marcus Stroman, in the final years of their contracts before free agency. Most likely, one of them walks.
This will open up a spot for a guy like Lucchesi to slot in, shine, and become a permanent fixture behind Jacob deGrom and the boys. Definitely more of a back-end arm at this point, it might be exactly what the club needs.
Steve Cohen may have more money in his bedside coin jar than I could dream of seeing. This doesn’t mean his budget with the team is limitless.
The Mets need affordable and controllable players like Lucchesi to step up. It won’t be long before pre-arbitration players start making millions and those already there begin to have some of the larger salaries on the roster.
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More than anything, the better Lucchesi pitches, the better the Mets perform. He saves them from having to search for an alternative option—something even money sometimes cannot buy.