The New York Mets would be unwise to decide to switch to a six-man rotation. It’s a thought people seem to always have at the beginning of each season. The adjustment would throw a wrench in how players like Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander have prepared for more than a decade.
The addition of Kodai Senga, however, adds a new element. Japan uses a six-man rotation with each starter going once per week. Nothing has suggested the Mets will look to revolution to their rotation and do what the Los Angeles Angels have with Shohei Ohtani. They don’t need to because they have two pitchers who can help out.
Lurking behind the current starting five are Tylor Megill and David Peterson. Each has minor league options left. Both should get spot starts on a semi-regular basis throughout the year.
How should the Mets use Tylor Megill and David Peterson this year?
Between off-days, rainouts, and the inevitable blizzard that will hit Denver when the Mets are scheduled to play the Colorado Rockies, there’s going to be plenty of adjusting on the fly for Buck Showalter and his starting staff. Doubleheaders can create some extra chaos. The presence of Senga, who is used to pitching less frequently, may also have the team planning differently.
One of Megill or Peterson should always be on the Mets roster as long as they’re healthy. Each can go multiple innings. Neither has shown enough to be an effective short reliever which is why they’d be strong candidates to take on the Trevor Williams role this season. Williams effectively gave the team length both as a starter and reliever last season. We can’t expect either current Mets pitcher to do anything at his level. Years like that are rare for a pitcher.
Megill and Peterson can mix into the rotation regularly throughout the year, giving all pitchers the occasional extra day of rest. The players and coaches need to communicate honestly and openly. When someone needs to be pushed back or skip a start entirely, he should voice it as soon as possible.
The Mets can plan ahead, too. They do play eight straight games to begin the year which means that Senga should probably be the fourth starter in the rotation to at least give him the additional day of rest. Pitching him on the second and eighth of April solves the question temporarily. The Mets can also get away with not pitching him again until the 14th, one day after their next off-day. It’s the week after when the first decision may need to be made.
It’s no mistake the Mets have held onto all of these starting pitchers. Peterson floated up and down between the majors and minors all year in 2022, pitching pretty well in the process. Megill was able to step in and start on Opening Day. Unfortunately, an injury early in the year knocked him to the sidelines for a good chunk of the season.
The pair can serve a purpose this season even if their roster spot isn’t locked in. We may be seeing the Mets prepare in a different way. Between Senga, the age of several of their starters, and suitable options behind them like Megill and Peterson to turn to for help, it’s safe to expect the Mets to plan for more than a five-man rotation.