Stashes beyond 2022: Joey Lucchesi, Thomas Szapucki, J.T. Ginn
Anyone hoping for Lucchesi and his slurve to return in 2022 will likely be disappointed. Optimistically, the lefty’s recovery timeline from Tommy John surgery puts him on track to return late 2022 at the very earliest. As we saw most recently with Noah Syndergaard, however, setbacks are common, and even the slightest delay would dash any chance of Lucchesi pitching in 2022.
Szapucki and Ginn popped up last summer as the Mets became desperate for bodies to take a turn in the rotation. This was more a product of the team’s situation at the time than an indication of each one’s readiness to contribute at the Major League level – Szapucki had logged only 145 minor league innings prior to last season, while Ginn was just getting his minor league career going. Szapucki pitched briefly for the Mets before his season ended due to injury, while Ginn’s strong 2021 debut between St. Lucie and Brooklyn now has him ranked fifth on MLB.com’s Mets top prospect list.
Bottom Line: The Mets must proceed as if Lucchesi will not pitch in 2022, while prospects like Szapucki and Ginn really need another full minor league season under their belts.
Taking everything into account, the Mets rotation is obviously much better than it was prior to Scherzer’s signing. If 2021 taught us anything, though, it’s that building quality depth is the key to surviving a full season. Look for the Mets to accomplish that by bringing in a couple more veteran arms before Opening Day.
These additional signings may not be splashy, but if the Mets hope to compete with the likes of the Braves and Dodgers atop the National League, they are critical and would put a bow on their offseason.