In the post-Yoshinobu Yamamoto scramble, the New York Mets will look at alternatives. Blake Snell is obviously at the top of the list. But with the qualifying offering penalties attached to him and a sometimes up-and-down career between his two Cy Young Awards, he’s not exactly the solution the Mets should be looking for.
Two other pitchers out there for the Mets to consider are Lucas Giolito and Jordan Montgomery. Coming off of completely opposite seasons, the one who makes more sense for the Mets is the guy who actually finished poorly.
Montgomery had an awesome season in 2023 and helped the Texas Rangers win a World Series. Giolito, meanwhile, pitched for three ball clubs that missed the playoffs. He got worse at each stop. Why him over Montgomery?
The Mets should look for the short-term gamble on Lucas Giolito rather than the long commitment to Jordan Montgomery
Giolito has about 250 more innings of MLB experience despite only starting his career a season earlier and being about two years younger. He can afford to sign a shorter deal this offseason. Whether it’s a one or two year contract, it’s what makes sense for a pitcher who had a 4.88 ERA last season and a 4.90 one the year prior.
Those numbers from Giolito are a bit misleading. Prior to the trade away from the Chicago White Sox, he was performing well. In 21 starts there, Giolito was 6-6 with a 3.79 ERA. His numbers were equivalent or better compared to what he has done for his entire career. Although he’ll carry with him a pitiful 4.43 ERA in his career, a terrible 2018 campaign is to blame for a large part of. The White Sox threw him on the mound 32 times and accepted the 6.13 ERA to go with his league leading 118 earned runs and 90 walks.
That’s the ugly. From 2019-2021, Giolito was pretty darn good. ERAs ranging from 3.41 to 3.53 and a top 11 or better finish in the Cy Young race tell us last year’s batting practice he tossed with the Los Angeles Angels and Cleveland Guardians is not the expectation.
Mets fans will be far more familiar with Montgomery who spent most of his career across town with the New York Yankees. Some injuries early on limited him from stardom. Since leaving New York, he has managed to stay healthy and boy has he gotten even better.
Entering his age 31 season compared to Giolito at 29, Montgomery will be seeking a long and expensive deal. He’s a commitment and not exactly one of those pitchers we should project to be a candidate for an opt out in his contract although he may receive it anyway.
The Mets aren’t trying to lose next season, but they are exploring alternative routes to a parade. The signing of Luis Severino left open another rotation spot for the 2025 free agent class. Getting a jumpstart on filling out the rotation with Montgomery in advance isn’t such a bad plan, but we should be alarmed at how much he’s likely to receive.
Sign Montgomery for five or six years at a price over what he is worth or see if you can sneakily get a lot out of Giolito in 2024 and maybe 2025? Sure, we want them to do something better. Those choices are limited right now.