As the New York Mets continue their Steven Cohen-led overhaul, the franchise recently completed a minor trade that secured a back-of-the-rotation caliber pitcher.
New York agreed to a deal that sent Miami Marlins starter Jordan Yamamoto to Flushing in exchange for prospect Federico Polanco.
How did the Mets fair in this transaction? Here’s the good, the bad, and the ugly.
New York Mets: The Good
Overall, this seems to be a solid move for New York. On a positive note, the team has a dangerous stable of starters in superstar Jacob deGrom, Carlos Carrasco, and Marcus Stroman. They also expect star Noah Syndergaard back at some point during the 2021 campaign.
On the negative side, the back end of their depth chart features unproven names such as second-year starter David Peterson, former Padre Joey Lucchesi, and utility arm Seth Lugo. The Mets may (and in my opinion should) still search the market for another MLB-ready arm. However, should the team elect to move forward as currently constituted, Yamamoto will give New York another experienced arm.
The former Marlins’ presence on the roster also represents an important depth piece. Last season, the Mets started the year with what felt like an abundance of rotation arms. However, as the season progressed, Syndergaard suffered an injury, Stroman opted out due to COVID concerns, and Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha were both tragically inconsistent.
We desperately hope a similar situation will not reoccur in 2021. But, should injuries occur, Yamamoto will be a valuable addition.
New York Mets: The Bad
Yamamoto had an encouraging rookie campaign in his first season in Miami. The unspectacular prospect rose to the occasion during his first major league opportunity. He finished the season with an impressive 4-5 record, 4.46 ERA, and 82 strikeouts in 78.2 innings pitched.
However, Yamamoto dropped off in a drastic way during a shortened 2020. He was designated for assignment following just four starts. The reason? He posted a ghastly 18.25 ERA.
The starter also faced another major hurdle. Because of the COVID cancelation of the minor league season, the young pitcher has not had an opportunity to pitch in a professional game since.
There is a chance that Yamamoto, like many other major leaguers, was affected by the odd 2020 season as well as general concerns surrounding the global pandemic. The condensed season, lack of a natural spring training schedule, and discontinuation of video recording in the clubhouse were all factors in a fluky statistical season.
Despite that potential excuse, it is clear that Yamamoto has a long way to go to recapture the promise he showed in 2019.
New York Mets: The Ugly
These struggles by Yamamoto put the Mets in a potentially dangerous situation heading into a critically important 2021 season. If the team does not tap into an increasingly barren free agent market for an additional starter, the franchise could find themselves in a difficult spot as they await the return of Syndergaard.
Yamamoto is a major question mark and Lucchesi posted a 7.94 ERA in 2020. Both are great emergency starters and depth pieces. However, neither should be relied on as a major part of the season-long rotation until they prove they have bounced back in a sufficient way.
The Mets should be applauded for their Yamamoto trade. While it certainly does not move the needed in the same manner as some of their other offseason moves, it does give the franchise a young, professional, arm.
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The fact that a very low-level prospect was the only cost is also equally notable. They would also be wise to couple this move with the addition of a more established starter. However, in a vacuum, Yamamoto will be a welcome part of the Mets system in 2021 (and, if things break right, beyond).