The New York Mets brought in David Stearns to be the franchise's first President of Baseball Operations. Stearns will be expected to bring the Mets back to glory, and all of the tough work begins this offseason.
The area Stearns absolutely must address is the rotation, as with both Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer gone, the starting pitching is depleted. Kodai Senga and Jose Quintana figure to play a huge role in 2024, but the rest of the rotation is full of question marks.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post acknowledges that the Mets must sign three starters while making the Tylor Megill's, David Peterson's, and Jose Butto's of the world depth instead of arms they're relying on. One of those arms he says the Mets should sign is Yoshinobu Yamamoto. No argument there. The other two pitchers he believes the team should sign is where I believe he goes wrong.
Joel Sherman's mock NY Mets rotation is flawed at the back end
A rotation that consists of Yamamoto, Senga, and Quintana as the top-three should be among the best in the National League. Senga has worked his way into the NL Cy Young conversation with an outstanding rookie season, Quintana has been consistently solid, and Yamamoto has been dominant in the NPB. There's no reason to believe his stuff wouldn't translate to MLB.
Sherman suggests the Mets sign both Luis Severino and Hyun Jin Ryu to one-year deals to round out their rotation. His thinking here is the Mets would fortify their rotation for 2024 while not inflating future payrolls. Again, not a horrible idea, but there're reasons both of these pitchers would be commanding one-year deals.
Severino's 2023 season was, to put it simply, disastrous. He didn't make his season debut until late-May due to injury and he had a 6.65 ERA in the 19 appearances (18 starts) that he did make. His season was then recently ended prematurely due to yet another injury.
Injuries have been a common theme for this right-hander who has eclipsed the 30-start mark just twice in his eight-year career. He hasn't done it since the 2019 season. In fact, he has made just 45 appearances (40 starts) since 2019 and has a 4.45 ERA in that span. Nobody is doubting the stuff, but Severino hasn't put together a good full season in four years. He very clearly is not who he was.
Hyun Jin Ryu, unlike Severino, has been successful when he's pitched. He has a 2.62 ERA this season, but the problem with that is he's made just nine starts. He made 31 starts in 2021, but that's Ryu's only MLB season doing so in 10 years. Entering his age-37 season, how likely is it that he'll actually be healthy when the Mets need him?
The Mets would be gambling on these two pitchers not only being healthy, which neither has done, but also being effective. Sherman also projects a five-man rotation for New York which means starting both Senga and Yamamoto on four days of rest instead of five, something they have no experience doing.
With Steve Cohen at the helm, betting on bouncebacks shouldn't be what the Mets are doing. Signing one of these arms makes sense, but having them make up 40% of the rotation does not. The Mets don't have to sign Yamamoto and another top starter, but they shouldn't be bargain hunting for two starting pitchers either. At that point it almost makes more sense to see if your younger arms are any good.