The Tampa Bay Rays put a copyright on “the opener” because of their budget. A growing trend for even the freer spenders in the game, it’s something we have seen the New York Mets occasionally use but mostly only in a situation where they were short on arms. The 7-inning doubleheaders made it a little more possible to get away with.
My inner old man isn’t a big fan of openers and many other outside of the box ideas. The six-man rotation is one of those often discussed in relation to the Mets. Why steal away 30 innings from Jacob deGrom?
A six-man rotation puts him on a schedule to start once every six days and pushes him to wait an entire week when days off pop up on the schedule. It’s an idea that works only in theory. There’s a reason why no team has committed to it for a whole year. Perhaps more than anything, it’s tough to find six starting pitchers you can truly trust.
The Mets don’t need to tinker with originality
The Mets have a benefit most teams don’t. They have an owner willing to spend money. Filthy-rich Steve Cohen has made it known that he’s happy to buy the Mets a championship. Unlike his art pieces, you can’t just Venmo the cash over and call it a day. You need to build a winner—something this franchise has been unable to do since 1986.
Fortunately, the Mets haven’t shown any signs of trying to reinvent the game. They may occasionally push a starter back and give him a sixth day. They probably will continue to turn to an opener in their time of need. The way they have built their roster isn’t unconventional. If anything, they’ve done exactly the opposite.
The easiest way to do anything is to do the obvious. They signed the best starting pitcher and center fielder on the market. They added to other areas of need as well. It’s different from what we have seen in the recent past. Trying to turn Dominic Smith into a left fielder didn’t work to perfection. Finding a spot for J.D. Davis hasn’t been successful either. Rather than try teaching these men on the job, the Mets appear to have pivoted away and stolen guys who have figured it out defensively.
It’s not exactly the same as putting a middle reliever in the game to start. Most teams deal with defensive liabilities. This club seems determined to rid itself of many of those concerns.
In a way, I feel the Mets are cutting themselves with Occam’s razor. This is good! The principle behind it is “entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity.”
To put it in baseball terms, do what makes the most sense. Get the best players and keep them where they belong. Keep it simple.