Mets 2019 reality check
By the 2019 trade deadline, the Mets rotation was a mess. With the exception of deGrom, Wheeler and Matz struggled in the first half, as Syndergaard held strong. Harvey’s replacement, Jason Vargas, may have bounced back after a poor 2018, but the Mets still felt the need to acquire Marcus Stroman.
The move worked, as Mets fans got to enjoy the high of the Mets ultimate starting rotation. In the second half, deGrom, Syndergaard, Wheeler, Matz, and Stroman dominated in their own stretches. With an improved offense and bullpen, the Mets went 46-26 in the second half of 2019 but still fell short of the playoffs.
After 2019, the departures of the Mets starters began to hit home. Zack Wheeler signed with the Philadelphia Phillies and become one of the top starters in baseball in 2021. Wheeler went on to have his prime elsewhere is something that for the Mets, who had high hopes of this core having their primes in Queens, hit hard.
Wheeler leaving via free agency was just the beginning of the departures, as the Mets had enough of Matz’s inconsistency (in large part due to injuries). New York traded Matz to the Toronto Blue Jays prior to the 2021 season, where Matz would finally find his footing. He stayed healthy, as his 3.82ERA in 29 led him to sign a four-year deal with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Meanwhile, Syndergaard signed with the Los Angeles Angels for more than the $18-million qualifying offer the Mets gave him. To see 2015 hero “Thor”, who is a Cy Young caliber pitcher if healthy walk, has been the most gut-wrenching loss from the 2016 Mets staff to date.
Only Jacob deGrom is left
Entering 2022, the lone pitcher from the fabled 2016 New York Mets starting rotation remaining is Jacob deGrom. Compared to the others, nobody has come to touch the resume that deGrom has amassed.
Fast forward to today, where all four are healthy and ready to go for the 2022 season. deGrom is the best pitcher in baseball, with Wheeler being a Cy Young finalist in 2021. Matz has proven to be a mid-rotation starter and Syndergaard is expected to return to his elite form.
The truth is one will never know what the Mets mid-2010s starting rotation could have accomplished when healthy. But it would have been something special.