11 Mets starting pitcher trade candidates ranked from the bottom to the top

New York Mets v Philadelphia Phillies
New York Mets v Philadelphia Phillies / Hunter Martin/GettyImages
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If the New York Mets are going to swing a major trade, it’s probably going to land them a starting pitcher. The rotation has its questions beyond the top two. As we witnessed in 2021, losing even one ace can have a detrimental effect on your team’s fortunes.

Luckily, the trade market is as fresh as it ever was. The MLB lockout put a hold on transactions and while many of the best free agent starting pitchers have been signed, there are a lot of trades left to make.

Based on who is rumored to be available and a few names people have been discussing or writing about in relation to the Mets and other teams, these are 11 starting pitchers for Billy Eppler to kick the tires on ranked from the bottom to the top.

11) NY Mets trade target Dallas Keuchel

Number 11 on our countdown is Dallas Keuchel. Only a few years ago he was a guy every fanbase in need of a starter wanted their club to sign. However, due to the attached loss of a draft pick associated with him, Keuchel missed the first two months and ended up signing mid-year with the Atlanta Braves. He was pretty good. The following season, now with his current Chicago White Sox squad, Keuchel finished fifth in the Cy Young vote during the shortened 2020 season.

It was a far different story for the veteran lefty in 2021. In 30 starts and a pair of relief appearances, Keuchel went 9-9 with a 5.28 ERA after a season of going 6-2 with a 1.99 ERA. It was his age 33 season. On a staff of mostly much younger arms putting together much better numbers, he was the odd man out.

The White Sox are a team hoping to contend in 2022 and they can do it without Keuchel on the roster. Definitely available, it’s his contract and performance that has me concerned.

Keuchel is owed $18 million in 2022 and has a $20 million team option the following season. Although money doesn’t matter much to Steve Cohen, it’s the Opening Day budget that will limit the Mets from a free-for-all. I can see them doing something nuts mid-year to ensure they capture a playoff spot. In the offseason, I think they’d be a little more modest. Plus, you have to ask, is Keuchel really enough of an improvement?

The Mets could do a lot more to improve their rotation than add Keuchel. The rest of the names on this list are either better or younger with their best days possibly ahead of them. In Keuchel’s case, I can’t say the same.