Once again, under the reign of Steve Cohen, it has been a busy offseason for the New York Mets. The Mets made headlines on November 29th when they inked no doubt future Hall of Famer Max Scherzer to a three-year, $130 million dollar contract. With the signing, Mets owner Cohen has reaffirmed his commitment to winning, willing to shelve out hundreds of millions of dollars to high-profile players in the past seasons. The move brings the Mets to the top of the list of highest annual payrolls in baseball, over $20 million more than the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees.
While the Mets welcome Scherzer they also say goodbye to Marcus Stroman and Noah Syndergaard. Stroman was great in his two full seasons for the Mets, never having an ERA above 4.00. He departs to the Chicago Cubs on a 3 year $71 million dollar deal. Syndergaard, who was one of the most beloved Mets in his tenure, hadn’t pitched more than two innings for the Amazins since 2019 because of Tommy John surgery. He left for Los Angeles and the Angels after seemingly being ghosted by the Mets front office during free agency. Also on another note, the Mets were forced to say farewell to 41-year-old trade deadline acquisition Rich Hill and 2021 breakout relief pitcher Aaron Loup.
It is sure sad to see Stroman and Syndergaard go but the combination of deGrom and Scherzer gives the Mets the best one-two punch in baseball. The Mets will also still welcome back the rest of the starting pitching staff, Taijuan Walker, Carlos Carrasco, Tylor Megill, and David Peterson, filling out a solid six-man rotation. Trevor Williams is also still a Met and it’s possible, depending on performance, Megill, Peterson, or Williams could end up being a go-to long-relief option out of the bullpen.
The Mets top five starting pitcher combination of Stroman, Walker, deGrom, Megill, and Peterson’s combined 2021 ERA, accounting for discrepancies in innings pitched, was 3.62. By swapping in Scherzer for Stroman that starting five rotation’s ERA will improve to 3.44. Stroman and Scherzer were nearly identical in workload in 2021 with 179 innings pitched each. Both are healthy pitchers who can be relied upon every fifth turn in the rotation.
Mets fans will soon move on from the departed Stroman and Syndergaard if 26-year-olds Megill and Peterson can sustain pitching at their most effective levels.
Right now the only Mets relief pitchers under contract, aside from Trevor Williams, are Edwin Diaz, Seth Lugo, Trevor May, Miguel Castro, and Drew Smith. This leaves out Jeurys Familia, Dellin Betances, Robert Gsellman, and Brad Hand. The bullpen for the Mets will sure miss Aaron Loup who as mentioned earlier will be departing for Los Angeles.
Major Leauge Baseball is currently in a lockout so it remains in question whether the Mets will go after other free agent pitchers. Most of the best bullpen options have already been swept up but some are still on the market like Dodgers’ Joe Kelly and there are plenty of other strong options like Andrew Chafin. I hope the Mets will boost their bullpen with one or two strong arms.
With the already deep and strong starting pitching rotation and a couple more bullpen pieces the Mets are again in a position to threaten for the National League East title and make a deep playoff run.