The New York Mets finished 2021 with a disappointing 77-85 record. They missed the playoffs for a fifth consecutive season after spending most of the season in first place. Injuries and underperforming players were the main causes of that.
This offseason, the Mets have been aggressive on the open market and are showing the rest of the league that they want to compete. They signed Mark Canha, Starling Marte, and Eduardo Escobar to help bolster a lineup that finished towards the bottom in runs scored. They then added Max Scherzer to help bolster a rotation that already has the best pitcher on the planet in Jacob deGrom.
The Mets are an improved ballclub but the roster is not complete yet. Once the lockout ends, the Mets will make moves to improve on this roster. That means that guys who might have made the team if the season started tomorrow might have a different fate.
1. Mets starting pitcher David Peterson
The biggest surprise of the 2020 season was the emergence of left hander David Peterson. When Marcus Stroman tore his calf muscle and later on opted out of the season, Peterson was the one who replaced him in the rotation, and he was the Mets second best starting pitcher that season.
He had a 3.44 ERA in his nine starts. He consistently kept the Mets in games as he only allowed more than three runs in one start. It seemed that whenever Peterson had to deal with baserunners, he was able to get out of jams.
With all of his success in the 2020 season, he had a guaranteed rotation spot in 2021. Unfortunately, things did not go as Peterson and the Mets would have hoped. The 26-year-old went 2-6 with a 5.54 ERA in 15 starts. He really struggled on the mound and then his season ended early after he suffered an oblique strain and later on fractured his foot.
Peterson has not shown the ability to limit walks in his two seasons thus far. He had a 4.3 BB/9 in 2020 and 3.9 BB/9 this season. That's his Achilles heel, even though he was able to be effective with the walk issues in 2020. In order for Peterson to win a rotation spot, he must improve on that.
Peterson's roster spot is very much in question right now. The Mets have four guaranteed starting pitchers on the roster in Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer, Carlos Carrasco, and Taijuan Walker. The fifth starter job appears to be between Peterson and Tylor Megill for now, but I expect the Mets to sign a veteran who will take over that job.
Peterson does have the advantage of being a left handed pitcher as he might be useful in the bullpen. The Mets only other left handed arms are Joey Lucchesi and Thomas Szapucki who are either injured or just not ready to pitch in the bigs.
Peterson could be headed to the bullpen, but I'd expect the Mets acquire a lefty or two for the bullpen in free agency or via trade. This means Peterson would be sent down to the minor leagues, which is what I hope happens as the Mets could use rotation depth very badly with the injury histories in the current rotation. It also gives Peterson the opportunity to make improvements.