Kodai Senga injury has made one player a more realistic contender for an Opening Day roster spot

A longshot not that long ago, the open spot in the rotation is his to snatch.

New York Mets Photo Day
New York Mets Photo Day / Elsa/GettyImages

There’s a reason the New York Mets were actively adding to the roster all offseason through every means necessary. The waiver wire was constantly providing the team with new players. Many have already been designated for assignment and some even traded away. One who has made it this far is a guy who is now suddenly a much more realistic contender for the Opening Day roster.

The Kodai Senga injury now opens up a competition for the number five spot in the rotation. The team had already planned to deploy a six-man rotation at times this year and even with Senga out, they will probably experiment with their starting pitching depth. What use is having these arms all they do is wait around until it’s too late?

As Rising Apple’s John Flynn ranked yesterday, the Mets have three top contenders for the spot. Right behind them is a fourth option, Max Kranick. A waiver claim by the Mets from the Pittsburgh Pirates, the out-of-options starter is now someone who can more realistically compete for an Opening Day roster spot.

Max Kranick will have a realistic chance to “wow” the Mets this spring and earn an Opening Day roster spot

Plenty of factors will go into the final decision as to who the Mets carry on their Opening Day roster. Thanks to some early off-days, including right after Opening Day barring weather pushing back game one of the season, they’ll have one immediately built-in. This can lead the team to carrying only four starters to begin the year and an extra reliever. It would probably be the wise decision to make if Jose Butto, Joey Lucchesi, or Tylor Megill is the obvious front-runner for the spot. With Kranick, they don’t have the same luxury of simply sending him down to the minors without first passing through waivers.

All things equal, the Mets may want to see how Kranick actually performs in big league games before making him available as the Pirates did this offseason. Tommy John Surgery in 2022 has cost him most of the last two years. Add in the cancellation of the minor league season in 2020, Kranick hasn’t had a whole lot of time to pitch.

The competition for this rotation spot will begin early on with three of those depth pieces projected to start for the Mets in their first three games of Grapefruit League action.

An opportunity has opened up for Kranick to enter a competition that never existed. The benefit of choosing him over any of the optional pitchers is they can ride any success he has at the big league level for as long as possible. If designated for assignment right now, Kranick might be someone who’d pass through given the same limitations he’d have on any other ball club’s roster.

This competition should boil down to performance more than anything. The intrigue of a new face, and one who grew up a Mets fan, has a wonderful script in the process of being written. A longshot until the devastating Senga news, Kranick is suddenly a real consideration.