While the New York Mets await the lockout to end, it gives them ample time to review their current roster and contemplate what other moves need to be made before Opening Day, whenever that ends up being.
Before the lockout commenced, the team acted aggressively, inking players like Starling Marte, Eduardo Escobar, and Mark Canha to multiyear deals. The signings gave them a true center fielder that they had not had in the while, a potential third baseman who could lock down the hot corner for the first time since David Wright, and a corner outfielder who was younger and could take the place of Kevin Pillar.
With these signings, the Mets entered the lockout period in a good position regarding their infield and outfield depth. However, their pitching staff, following the departures of Marcus Stroman and Noah Syndergaard, took a massive hit.
The New York Mets decided not to bring Marcus Stroman back, which was a curious decision, given the team’s need for reliable starting pitching.
In particular, it was surprising that the Mets let Stroman go. He served admirably for them in 2021, making 33 starts and compiling a 3.02 ERA. In a year that saw the team deal with interminable injuries, Stroman was one of the only staples in the rotation, a much-needed anchor of stability when Jacob deGrom was on the IL. Stroman may not be the power pitcher that most teams look for nowadays, but he has a complete arsenal of six pitches that he throws to varying degrees, allowing him to mix up his pitch selection depending on the hitter.
What also made Stroman’s departure surprising was the money. For a team that was willing to throw money around before the lockout began, they still let Stroman get away for a reasonable 3-year, $71 million deal with the Chicago Cubs. Are you telling me that the Mets couldn’t match that? Considering Stroman was initially looking for a payday close to $200 million, the fact that he got a contract for close to one-third of that indicated that his market was not as robust as he originally expected. Yes, the Mets are paying Max Scherzer $130 million over three years, but Steve Cohen made it clear that he’s willing to spend to win. Even with Scherzer in tow, the Mets are still thin in the starting rotation.
It seems unfathomable that the Mets, a team that is starved for consistent, solid pitching outside of deGrom and Scherzer, would let an above-average pitcher walk out the door that easily. But they did, and now they will have no choice but to participate in the scramble when the lockout ends to fill in the remaining holes in their rotation. Who that pitcher ends up being remains to be seen, but the number of quality pitchers who remain is not high.