The New York Mets don’t need any starting pitcher help as long as everyone returns healthy.
That’s the joke. We know healthiness for starting pitchers is rare for any team. You need more than five starters these days to get through a 162-game schedule.
The starting pitching depth for the Mets has already been put to the test with Trevor Williams and David Peterson getting regular starts. We can even include Tylor Megill in the “depth” category as he was merely a replacement for Jacob deGrom to begin the year.
In the weeks before the trade deadline, the Mets will turn their focus toward having as much pitching depth as they can get their hands on. Rather than bolster the bullpen with relievers, they strategy might simply be to work from the top and move backward.
The Mets can add starting pitcher depth while moving others into the bullpen to help there
There are some good relief pitchers expected to be available this summer. On the Detroit Tigers, Andrew Chafin and Michael Fulmer would be nice. There are also realistic rentals like Daniel Bard the Mets could even consider.
The Mets definitely need to add one guy who is a proven reliever. They could also afford to upgrade the starting rotation and maybe move one of the struggling starters into a relief role.
Carlos Carrasco hasn’t been quite the same in his recent starts. He’d make sense to demote to the bullpen and possibly get a lot more from if the Mets did upgrade the starting staff. Even Walker’s success might be short-lived. We were fooled last year in the first half. He has more than half a season left to go to prove himself.
Loading up on starting pitchers is the “prevent defense” of trade deadline strategies. When a relief pitcher struggles, the only place he has to go is to the minor leagues or the manager’s office to learn he has been designated for assignment. Starting pitchers can get cut down and find a spot in the bullpen. Because rosters do still expand to 28 in September, there would be room to carry a player like this.
There are a lot of unknowns looming for the Mets pitching staff. If we could be guaranteed health for the remainder of the year, this might not be such a major need. That, among other things, cannot be promised. So, as the Mets prepare to spend prospects to better their team, maybe they stick with the starting pitcher market first.
Just as each game begins with a starter, this strategy can ensure depth in a place where the best teams need it.