Rotation relief from Jon Gray
Jacob deGrom’s injury was a punch in the gut and with the other injuries to the rotation, the Mets have put the weight of the playoffs on the shoulders of Taijuan Walker, Marcus Stroman and potential rookie-breakout candidate Tyler Megill. Carlos Carrasco is set to come back soon after his recent rehab appearance, but there’s no reason the Mets shouldn’t be in the market for rotation help. While losing deGrom isn’t the equivalent to the loss of Ronald Acuna to the Braves and the Mets’ World Series take a serious hit if Jake isn’t in the rotation on a consistent basis.
Considering this, the Mets are going to need to bolster their rotation with multiple pieces. This is where Jon Gray begins to make sense. Gray was the Colorado Rockies third pick in the 2013 MLB draft and since then, Gray has failed to live up to expectations. While showing flashes of talent sporadically, Gray generally has fallen short of the kind of results you’d expect from a third overall pick, but it’s not to suggest that the talent isn’t there. Many have prescribed his career to the confines of Coors Field, but that’s a bit overstated. His career ERA is actually slightly lower at home than it is on the road.
If this isn’t sounding like a good sell on Gray, just wait for it. Gray is obviously not the answer to deGrom’s health issues. However, he’s a fairly durable arm that could benefit from the pitcher-friendly dimensions of Citi Field. From 2016 to 2019, Gray average 150 innings pitched. Baserunners have been an issue historically, but a strikeout rate of almost nine strikeouts per nine innings could bode well for the backend of the rotation. Gray has also pitched better this season with an ERA under 4.00. While his strikeout percentage is in the bottom half of the league, he’s in the 86th percentile in barrel rate percentage as well as the 67th percentile for hard hit percentage.
Additionally, Gray seems like the perfect “change-of-scenery” candidate. Having spent his career with an under-performing franchise, being thrust into a playoff race in a big market could be a spark for the right-hander. The raw stuff is there, but what makes Gray even more appealing is the potential low cost in regards to prospects. Trevor Story, if traded, will prove to provide a big, big return. Gray, on the other hand, would yield a much lower cost than some of the other big name pitchers that have been rumored to be available. Add in the fact that Gray is a free agent at the end of the season and the Mets could end up with a steal in terms of talent cost for the hard throwing righty.