Future Mets offseason focus needs no recalibration amidst major pitcher injuries

Prepare for the worst, hope for the best, and don't get scared.
New York Mets v Miami Marlins
New York Mets v Miami Marlins / Rich Storry/GettyImages

Next offseason is supposed to be the period where the New York Mets get back in the mix for some of the biggest available free agents. They took a pass on many this past winter, instead settling for shorter term additions so they could recalibrate much more easily.

Among their obvious needs is a near complete rebuild of the starting rotation. Many of their pitchers are on expiring deals. Luckily for them, there are enough available arms to pick through and fight over.

That’s months away. The Mets are focused on the here and now. And the here and now includes an abundance of major pitcher injuries. Spencer Strider and Shane Bieber are already out for the rest of the year along with several others. It shouldn’t scare the Mets from changing their focus to be a team right there in the thick of signing big-time free agent starting pitchers.

How the Mets can prepare for the worst after signing the best

Let’s say the Mets are successful at signing two of the better free agent starting pitchers next winter. We’ll be feeling good about it. But then the tragedy happens. A hurt elbow in spring training. A funky feeling in another guy’s shoulder during a warmup. There goes the season, right?

The Mets may already be prepared for this. Their rations aren’t labeled, but they’re stacked in places like Syracuse and Binghamton. The Mets can more easily adjust for any mishaps next year with the starting staff by viewing their up-and-coming pitching prospects as depth for the full year in 2025.

Exactly what does this mean? Maybe a spot in the rotation could go to a pitcher like Christian Scott. But don’t reward him with anything more than the fifth starter role or sixth if the Mets choose to go in that direction more regularly.

The Mets are going to lose a lot of pitching depth between now and next season

Coming into this season, the Mets were already fully-loaded starting pitching depth. Between Tylor Megill, Joey Lucchesi, and Jose Butto, they had three clear cut choices to take over for Kodai Senga. They’ve already needed to use Megill and now Butto in Megill’s place. Lucchesi isn’t too far off from a spot start of his own if not as a replacement for anyone who gets hurt next.

The Mets won’t have this automatically in place for next season. Butto and Lucchesi are in their final option years which have already been used. David Peterson and Max Kranick could meet the same fate as they, too, have one option remaining. So unless they return and go straight to the majors and never get demoted, all four will either need to be on the MLB roster for the entirety of 2025 or face the DFA monster.

The timing for the Mets to sign two top free agent pitchers couldn’t be better even if the rash of injuries is alarming. They’ll still have Megill available as depth. By the time we get to next season, we should expect Mike Vasil and Dom Hamel to join Scott. Not far off will be Blade Tidwell and Tyler Stuart.

The eagerness to see a youth movement on the mound is something many fans have running through their veins. The Mets haven’t competently produced any young and exciting starting pitchers for years. Well, they’re coming. But in 2025, think of them as the odd men out. No matter how MLB-ready they may appear, viewing them as anything more than an alternative to a more proven player can have terrible consequences. 

Injuries are unavoidable, cannot be prevented, and expected. That’s the good news. The bad is you don’t know who goes down and when.