Thursday Thoughts on Justin Verlander, Jose Quintana, and Ronny Mauricio

Chevrolet Home Run Derby
Chevrolet Home Run Derby / Mark Cunningham/GettyImages

The New York Mets have had an absolute roller coaster of a week. With the Winter Meetings being in person for the first time since 2019, there have been a plethora of big moves over the last few days, and there are still big moves to be made over the rest of the offseason. Here are a few big headlines from the last week:

The Mets didn’t dwell on deGrom

Let’s be blunt: Friday night sucked. deGrom leaving was disappointing, and it was shocking that the Rangers offered five guaranteed years for a player with the injury history of deGrom. 

Thankfully, Billy Eppler and the Mets’ front office swiftly filled that spot in the rotation with Justin Verlander. Yes, he is even older than Max Scherzer, but he’s also coming off a year when he won the AL Cy Young and World Series. 

Eppler displayed two traits that are very important in a GM throughout this situation. The first is restraint. It would have been easy to throw around Steve Cohen’s money to keep a franchise icon around for the rest of his career, but Eppler and the Mets know the tremendous risk that would’ve come with that. The second is that he pivoted quickly. He didn’t sit around and wait for the market to develop around starting pitching, which is good because these contracts have been insane. He got his replacement and can move on to other areas of need now…

Speaking of areas of need, the Mets still need another starter, even after adding Jose Quintana

Jose Quintana is a decent 4th or 5th starter. He’s an innings eater, pitching 165+ innings and making 31+ starts eight times out of his 11 seasons in the Big Leagues. He was really good in 2022, posting a 2.93 ERA and 137 ERA+ and leading the league in HR/9 at 0.4, but the previous five seasons have been rough for him. From 2017 through 2021, he averaged a 4.51 ERA and 96 ERA+. Hopefully the Mets get the 2022 version for the next two years, but I’m not confident.

The Mets still need a #3 to bridge the gap between Scherzer and Verlander at the top and Quintana and Carrasco at the bottom. There has been a lot of movement in the pitching market over the last week, so there aren’t that many options available. Kodai Senga is the name most-linked to the Mets so far, but Chris Bassitt and Ross Stripling are still available (at the time of writing on Wednesday afternoon). I didn’t include Carlos Rodon, who is still available, because I don’t think the Mets are going to spend $30+ million per year on another starter.

Ronny Mauricio is finally, mercifully playing a position besides shortstop

Many - including myself - have questioned why the Mets haven’t gotten Ronny Mauricio experience playing other positions after signing Francisco Lindor to his massive contract. He’s finally getting some experience at third base in Dominican Winter League, and he’s looked pretty good there.

Mauricio has also been tearing it up with the bat. He’s slashing .317/.356/.492/.848 with three homers, 11 doubles, and 25 RBI’s. He’s still striking out a lot (26 in 126 at-bats) and he’s not walking either (only six walks) but the bat-to-ball skills are loud. 

3 buy-low trade candidates the Mets should pursue. dark. Next